How Being at the Beach Surprisingly Encouraged My Health

I found myself at a familiar place this morning, one of our local beaches. Remembering all the times a beach, pond, river or lake has supported me emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally, I felt at ease. Growing up in Massachusetts, we often went to Wollaston beach in Quincy or Nantasket beach in Hull. I loved playing in the sand and the surf. As I grew older, we went to White Horse beach in Plymouth. My preference was to bake in the sun and hang out with the teenagers my age. As an adult, I find the most solace in walking the beach, when it is off season.

The beach saved my life

Once in my twenties, I had suicidal thoughts. Rather than acting on them, I got in my car and drove to the beach. This was a dark time of uncovering past abuse and facing the fact that some people I thought I could trust, denied the reality I lived through. My world was broken and my sense of self was shaken. I remember standing out at the water’s edge, praying to God for help. It was a slow road but I was supported and guided away from these thoughts, to health. I am grateful to not have acted on these thoughts and have a career that has helped many others, in their healing journey.

The beach helped me grieve

The summer after my brother-in- law died, I was fifteen years old. I often went to the beach with my sister, nephew and niece. It was nice to have a sense of normalcy and be around people without having to talk to them. Despite my sadness and loss, I could reconnect to the present moment through my five senses. I felt the warmth of the sun, sand and water on my body. I heard the seagulls and surf. I saw the beautiful blue sky, waves and brown sand. I smelled the salty air, coconut oil and suntan lotions. I tasted the salty air and sandwiches we brought for lunch. I found myself again at the beach every month for a year, after my Mom’s death.

The beach is my church and home

I found a special connection to God and my soul at the beach. This place calms and grounds me. As soon as I walk out on the sand, I am received, held and supported. Slowing down, I receive guidance and marvel in the beauty of this life.

I find myself being drawn back to the beach because of the ongoing pandemic, political divides, worldly issues and even my own uprising within, known as perimenopause. All of these instances, hold a grief but on a different level. l know without a doubt, the beach supports all of this and me too. I am truly grateful to live so close to a variety of water bodies.

For Empaths: A Special Section

Water in any form is highly healing for empaths. I know many of you may not live near natural bodies of water, but you can incorporate water into your daily energy routine. These practices help you clear others’ energies, hydrate, ground and release what you no longer need.

How has water or a body of water helped you heal?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Be Responsible and Live your Dream-Pisces Full Moon

Empathic helpers often have difficulty bringing their dreams into reality. With great sensitivity comes a tendency to get caught up in other people’s energy. It takes a lot of courage for these people to set boundaries and focus on themselves. Today, I am writing and including a video reading about the Pisces full moon, which occurs September 20th.

Full Moon Energy

Empathic helpers, being sensitive to energy, are often influenced by lunar and planetary changes. The good news is the more you are aware of these shifts, the better you can manage your moods and thoughts.

A full moon is a reminder to surrender to the Divine. You can let go of physical items, emotional baggage or creative blocks. Whatever is getting in the way of what you want in life, release it all. You can focus on letting go during the full moon and up to forty-eight hours afterwards.

The Pisces Full Moon

Pisces full moon asks you to follow your gut instinct and trust the answers you seek, will come. All of your answers come from within.

It is time to get in touch with your feelings, you may find your psychic abilities are heightened and fated relationships come into your life. Release all your fears and insecurities at this time and focus on being in this moment. Meditate around and on the day of the full moon and write down your impressions. Practice grounding to bring the spiritual energy in balance with the practical. You can find a balance between being responsible and living the life of your dreams. 

Write down your dreams. If you could do or be anything, what would be on your list? Find one item on your list and do something about it. Whether you practice that item or set some three month goals towards you, you are now balancing the practical with the spiritual.

With the full moon, be prepared for letting go. You may need to move on, in order to make room for the new. What needs to go? It could be a relationship. Listen deep within. Calm any nervous energy at this time, through meditation, prayer and being by the water.

We are right on the cusp of Virgo and Libra. Virgo/Libra and Pisces people and other empathic souls, this reading may resonate with you if you have a birthday in these signs, moon or rising sign. I always say, all empaths, no matter what your astrological sign, can be affected because you are sensitive to energies.

Video Reading

How can you be responsible yet live out your dreams?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Be kind to you: Boost your self-compassion with these tips

Self- compassion is an easy concept to understand, yet many people struggle with being kind to themselves. As professional helpers, we all know having self-compassion benefits our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, yet we find it difficult to incorporate this kind of thinking into our lives.

Why is this?

As human beings we resist change. It is easier to stick to our routines, even when these behaviors drain or harm us. Many helpers have formed a habit of putting their needs last, in order to help others. In our society, this type of endless giving, becomes positively reinforced, yet it is not a positive when you lack boundaries.

Many health care workers struggle with self- compassion because change takes mental work. You may be finding yourself in a state of chronic stress. Your jobs have been challenging, but add on the pandemic, you may be feeling as if you can’t take on one more task. 

Another factor is, it is easier for your mind to focus on the negative or what is wrong. Rather than focusing on a positive self-care activity, your mind prefers to focus on the struggle of grinding forward. This is a great survival mechanism, however, it does not assist your growth mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

How can we get over this hurdle of not taking care of yourself?

  • Educate yourself about the importance of self-compassion
  • Schedule self-compassion practices into your calendar with reminders
  • When the opportunity presents itself, practice self-compassion. Forgive yourself when you don’t follow through or are giving yourself harsh criticism

“Stop beating yourself up for beating yourself up.”- Eleanor Brownn

Do you ever notice, it is easier to treat others with compassion than ourselves? We all have an inner critic, a judgmental voice which brings our mood down with negative, self- critical thoughts. The best way to decrease the inner critics influence on your life is to first become aware of it.

One technique I teach my counseling and coaching clients is; Notice, Acknowledge, Re-direct

  • Increase your awareness- Mindfulness exercises will help you notice critical thoughts more readily. Sometimes, it is helpful to have another person, such as a coach or therapist, to bring attention to faulty thoughts.
  • Acknowledge this voice and the feeling- Often this voice crops up when we feel vulnerable. You could be feeling scared, anxious, fatigued or tired. Are you experiencing compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma or burnout?  You can say to yourself; I know you are scared, tired etc.
  • Redirect- Now is the time to focus on what you want. Put it together. I hear you. I know you are experiencing compassion fatigue. We are going to make a counseling appointment or fill in the blank (self-care activity) ______________________________.

Cognitive therapy works well to increase self-compassion and decrease the inner critic. Cognitive therapy is developed by Aaron T. Beck.  In therapy, the therapist helps you develop skills for identifying and changing faulty beliefs, distorted thinking, and implementing new behaviors. This can be useful for developing self-compassion.

Practice self-kindness. Sometimes we can’t think of how to be kind to ourselves. Think of a kind person in your life, what advice would she give to you? How would you talk to a friend or your child?

Compassionate letter writing exercise. This information is from Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. (Neff, 2011) on Amazon.com

The first step in this process is to sit quietly and think about something that triggers feelings of inadequacy, or something about you or your situation that makes you feel badly about yourself. It is important not to judge the emotions or to try to fix them. The focus is on awareness and experience of the feelings.

In the next step, think about an imaginary friend who is kind, loving, accepting, and compassionate to you. This friend knows all about you, even the piece of you that makes you feel bad. How would this friend respond about giving yourself such harsh self-criticism and judgment?

Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of this compassionate friend. This involves asking questions such as;

What would they say to you?

How would they remind you that you are only human and humans are not perfect?

Would they suggest you do anything differently?

Once the letter is finished, you can put it away for a while. When you are ready, retrieve the letter and read it again.

Learn to laugh with yourself

Laughter, as a coping mechanism, can decrease stress, improve memory and even make you more productive. Whether you live or work in a stressful environment, find something to laugh about. This eases the psychological and physical tension you carry. Embrace the fact that no one is perfect and laugh off your screw-ups. A mistake can be an experience you learn from or an experience to reinforce negative thoughts and feelings. The choice is yours.

How can you be more kind to yourself?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Say No: An essential guide to setting boundaries for helpers

Since compassionate helpers want to please others and help, it is often foreign for them to set a limit or say no. When empathic givers say no, they are often plagued with guilt. Sometimes this is solely within themselves, other times it is from absorbing other’s manipulations. When empathic people teach others they are limitless in their giving, this leads other people to expect constant help and in some cases, even demand it.

The importance of boundaries

The risk of not setting boundaries for the helper can range from anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and even burnout. If you would like to learn more about compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout, I have included this video for you to watch. Remember, boundaries are a part of self-care.

Boundaries teach others how to treat you. Limits show without a doubt what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. These invisible lines protect you from abuse. Boundaries allow you to have your own separate feelings, thoughts and actions. Now, you know why it is important to have boundaries, let’s get to how to actually do it.

Identify what is your boundary

This part of the process, increases your self-awareness and is not to be shared with anyone else. Take a moment and write down what you want and why. Others do not need to know your reasons for limit setting, but you do. If you have a close relationship you may want to share when you set a boundary or at a later date, why this is important to you. Sharing your why is not required or even necessary. Sometimes your explanation waters down your message. The next time you say, yes, think about why you say, yes. Is this something you want to do or are you trying to avoid fear or confrontation?

Communicate

It is important to be direct about what you want and need. You do not need to explain or justify your reason for a limit. Say what you want in simple terms, without apologizing.

For example:

It is inappropriate when you____________________________ (speak that way or touch me)

Then you may need to redirect the person’s behavior. I would appreciate if you ask me rather than assuming I will do it for you, etc. If you are dealing with a patient who is touching you, Re-direct them and say place your hands here instead.

When someone asks or requests your help and you are unsure of your answer, feel free to ask additional questions. How long do you expect this task will last? Perhaps you can help in a different way then requested and offer that. If you don’t know your answer, give yourself the space to figure it out. Tell the other person, I will have to get back to you tomorrow or I have to check my schedule first.

If you are impulsive with your answers, you may want to read How to slow down impulsive decisions and improve relationships

Practice saying no

First start saying no to little things, then work your way up to the big things you do not want to do. Sometimes saying no is not as big of a deal as you think it will be. Often your anticipatory anxiety, the anxiety you feel before you say no, makes it worse than the reality of saying it.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you set a limit, expect some people to be upset with you. People pleasers who feel other’s disappointment or anger, can feel threatened. When a person feels threatened, we want to avoid the threat at all costs. You can survive other’s negative feelings towards you. You will do this by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remind yourself, you are setting a limit to help others. Sometimes people don’t need help but rather need to learn for themselves or even hit rock bottom.

Instill consequences

Boundaries are not meant to be a punishment but rather a natural consequence of behavior. A consequence needs to be firm. For example. If you continue to talk to me this way, I will end our phone call until you can talk to me calmly. If you continue to yell at me, I will be in the other room. Feel free to join me when you want to talk calmly. If you break plans with me at the last minute or do not show up or call me, I will call you out on your behaviors and let you know how I feel.

Practice, practice, practice

The well-known proverb says, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Practice setting limits with yourself and others. The more you do it, the less anxious you will feel.

What is your experience with setting boundaries and saying no?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Be your quirky, unique self- Aquarius Full Moon

Empathic helpers often have difficulty stepping outside of their shell. With great sensitivity comes a tendency to go deep within. Couple this with others insensitivity, it takes a lot of courage for these people to shine their inner light. Today, I am writing and including a video reading about the Aquarius full moon, which occurs July 23rd.

Full Moon Energy

Empathic helpers, being sensitive to energy, are often influenced by lunar and planetary changes. The good news is the more you are aware of these shifts, the better you can manage your moods and thoughts.

A full moon is a reminder to surrender to the Divine. You can let go of physical items, emotional baggage or creative blocks. Whatever is getting in the way of what you want in life, release it all. You can focus on letting go during the full moon and up to forty-eight hours afterwards.

The Aquarius Full Moon

The full moon in Aquarius supports the energy of showing the world the real you! If you have been following my previous months videos, we had the message from the Cancer moon of speaking your truth and coming out of your shell. The previous Gemini moon’s energy, encouraged you to assert yourself, be courageous and follow your gut instincts.

Now is the time, to express your feelings from your heart, without blame and take responsibility. Your thoughts may be more towards humanity. You may be thinking, what is my life’s purpose and what is getting in the way of my helping humanity?

Allow life to unfold, without becoming too detached. Aquarius energy can get stuck in thoughts. Don’t detach from you, be yourself! This means your unique, quirky self. We need everyone’s light to shine bright on this planet.

With the full moon, be prepared for letting go. You may need to move on, in order to make room for the new. What needs to go? Listen deep within. Remember, your answers may not be conventional. When it comes to the emotions, expect the unexpected and unusual. Calm any nervous energy at this time, through meditation, prayer and being by the water.

Video Reading

We are right on the cusp of cancer and Leo. Leo/Cancer and Aquarius people and other empathic souls, this reading may resonate with you if you have a birthday in Cancer sun, moon or rising sign. I always say, all empaths, no matter what your astrological sign, can be affected because you are sensitive to energies.

Listen to the video for the full reading and to see what cards I pick. These are what you most need to focus on during this full moon in Aquarius.

What is something about you that makes you quirky or unique? Let’s celebrate our differences!

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Get out of a Creative Rut

There are many reasons or theories why we find ourselves blocked creatively. Sometimes you will need to take action, while other times, you will need to heal the underlying root cause first. In this blog, I will discuss a few reasons why the inspirational flow seems to dry up and then you will learn how to get back into the flow again.

Why are you experiencing a creative block?

Fearful thoughts

Many creative blocks are born within your own mind. Faulty or distorted thinking can throw a wrench into any kind of artistic work.

Your thoughts are powerful. If you believe, you aren’t good enough, have a fear of success or even a fear of visibility, you will struggle with these areas. Cognitive therapy works well to restructure insecure thoughts and create a new reality.

Is trauma at play?

For some, the block may not be in their thoughts but rather a trauma reaction. Trauma re-wires your brain away from the creative process into a protective process of fight, flight or freeze syndrome. In this instance; heal the trauma, heal the creative block.

Are you absorbing other’s energy?

When you spent time with a person who is jealous or insecure of your success, you will be on the receiving end of unsupportive comments or actions. If you are dealing with a person who has a personality disorder, these behaviors can be downright abusive.

The problem occurs when you accept their negative thoughts as true or take their behavior personally. In these instances, your creative energy is vulnerable to becoming blocked. Proper energetic boundaries are needed to deflect other’s negativity and lower energies. As an empath or empathic person, you need to ask; Is this me or someone else’s energy I am absorbing and living out?

What can a creative do?

Don’t think, just do.

For some people, it isn’t important to know why their creativity is blocked but rather to take some form of action. If you are amongst this group, exploring thoughts and feelings aren’t as important as moving forward. You know and trust, you are creative. It will return again through taking the proper steps.

Schedule dates in your calendar to be creative. Creativity just doesn’t happen for some of us, it comes through commitment and work. Make a plan each day to write, sing or paint.

Let it all go!

The more you try to make the writing or art happen, the worse it gets. Do anything else but the creative work. Release any resistance and fear.

Try something brand new or something you haven’t done in a really long time.

When you feel bored or stagnant, creativity suffers. Many people have been feeling as if they have been living in a Groundhog Day movie because of the pandemic. You know, the same routine day in and day out. Even though the restrictions are lifted, it does not mean the energy magically shifts. Try a new creative activity or pull out something you haven’t done in a long time.

Go within.

Listen to the wisdom of your soul. What would make you happy right now? Go and do that. Sit and breathe, allow any and all feelings to surface. Feel them and release them.

Don’t give up.

National bestselling author, Julia Cameron, who wrote, The Artist Way said, “It is through quantity that you find quality.” Write down all your ideas and suspend judgment. You need one really good idea for a concept or for your creativity to take off. Believe, hold hope close to your heart and have faith.

Practice being open.

We have all been through a lot this past year. It is challenging to be open and feel when you have experienced heartache. It is through the state of “being”, ideas flow into your mind and heart. Remember, the best creative works come from our darkest hours. You can help others through the struggles you face.

Get support.

Every successful, happy, and healthy creative seeks out support from others. Psychotherapy sessions, with a licensed professional, work with you to help you heal and uncover hidden motivations, faulty thoughts and trauma. Together, we release patterns that block your growth and creativity.

What causes your creative ruts and how do you get out of them?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Why You Absolutely Deserve More Alone Time

We have been through a lot this past year, personally and collectively. None of us have had the opportunity to fully process and integrate what has happened. This is because it is difficult to process trauma when you are living in it or in the middle of it. Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to reach out for support, talk to others and strengthen those coping skills. As we move towards “normalcy”, I professionally believe, the compassionate amongst ourselves are going to need more alone time. We want to understand and comprehend all we have lived through.

As a compassionate helper, you may require sudden alone time, in which you feel drained in a social situation. It is also important to have planned downtime. No matter what kind of solitude you crave, it is normal and okay. The irony is empaths or those who are highly sensitive, are often shunned and invalidated for being different, yet you are the ones sought out for your wisdom. You can only access this inner knowing by having time apart from society at large.

Take as much time as you need and remind yourself of these various reasons.

You need a boundary between your inner world and the outer world.

As a sensitive person, you naturally absorb or take in too much input from the people and places around you. By breaking away from the world, you can re-connect within and listen to the wisdom of your soul.

To recharge and rejuvenate your energy.

You need to unplug, recharge and rejuvenate. Find the activities you enjoy doing. This could be reading, writing, spending time in nature or meditating. Whatever helps you refill your cup, go and do that.

To get personal physical space.

Many empathic people are not looking forward to the end of social distancing. The six feet between people gave us more distance between our energy and others. Now, the limits are relaxed, it is important to take time away and give your body a rest, as you re-acclimate into society. Do not be surprised if you are experiencing more anxiety and fatigue. You are feeling a lot more energy from others, than you have in a long time.

Even though you have a deep connection to certain people, it is important to maintain a deep connection within.

Living with and working with others can be challenging for empaths. For many, our families have been home with us all day. The boundaries between work and rest are blurred.  It is difficult to maintain perfect boundaries, all day long. The increased hours of talking on the phone and holding video chats also stress your energy. There are times you need to get away, take a vacation or even schedule a retreat to connect within.

Now you know why it is important to have time apart from others, you need to work on releasing the guilt. Remember you require time away to take care of you. The more time you devote to yourself, the better able you are to take care of others.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

5 Powerful Actions to Love the Hard to Love

Right now, you can name at least one person who is hard to love. He or she could be someone who is self- absorbed, emotionally unstable or living with an addiction. Think of how you treat these types of people. Do you ignore, be little or think less of them? Are you harboring anger, resentment and guilt towards them?

When you consider this hard to love person, do you think of yourself? Often the most difficult person to love is the one staring back at us in the mirror. Empathic helpers freely offer love, compassion and kindness to others, even strangers. When it comes to giving to ourselves, we can become stingy.

If you are ready to take action. Read on.

Pray for these people and ourselves. Those who are on the spiritual path believe everyone is in our life for a reason. What do you imagine this person’s behavior is here to teach you? Imagine handing them over to a higher power or the light. Pray for their health and wellness. Pray for your own strength and patience. Remember you are not alone.

Offer them a personal healing intention. You can create a simple sentence or even a one word mantra to repeat internally. When you think of them, repeat to yourself the following words, “love” or “peace.” One of my favorite personal intentions is the Buddhist Loving Kindness Prayer. If you enjoy meditation, you may want to check out my mp3 meditation; Spreading Kindness.

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.

ancient – tibetan buddhist – meditation

Forgive yourself and others. Forgive yourself for not knowing, being judgmental, for all the times you were stuck in your own pain, fear and bitterness. Forgive yourself for not seeing the truth or reality of a situation. Forgive others for their abusive behaviors, all of the times you felt disappointed and hurt.

Repeat the forgiveness process as neededForgiveness is like doing the laundry or washing the dishes, it is rarely completed after one time.

Stop spreading negativity through gossip or tarnishing their name or reputation. I get it, you are hurt. Spreading more hurt, keeps you stuck, victimized and in pain.

Increase you awareness and catch yourself when you think negative thoughts. Before you speak or act on these, just notice the thoughts. Next re-direct your thoughts and actions to something positive for yourself. If you are having difficulty shifting gears, cognitive and cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you with this.

Have empathy- Put yourself in other people’s shoes. You may not agree with their actions but you can come to a new understanding. Maybe this person is insecure, stressed or lonely? Remember there at times in life, you have been hard to love as well.

We can have a kind world, it all depends on how we treat ourselves and others. Choose love, kindness and compassion. It won’t always be easy, but it is worth it.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

5 Unacknowledged but Useful Truths to Know about Self-Care

Self-care sounds cozy and pretty but often is not. It is made up of those routine moments you need to dig in deep and motivate yourself, when you would rather be doing anything but self-care. Sometimes, it would be a heck of a lot easier to mindlessly zone out on social media, watch marathon hours of TV, or eat a half gallon of ice cream out of the tub. If you find yourself here, no judgment. We all do what’s easiest when we experience extreme stress. If you are ready to incorporate self-care into your routine, here is what you need to know.

Self-care is not easy to do- Doing what is good for you emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, often does not come easy. Setting boundaries, eating healthier, and managing your finances are not always fun or relaxing. These types of activities often don’t feel good initially but have long-term benefits.

Self-care takes practice and persistence. When you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and get up again. Self-compassion will become your best friend in moments like these. There is no shame in reaching out for counseling support to keep you on track.

In order to be successful with self-care, you need to become aware of the blocks and obstacles within yourself and in your external world. Once you are aware, acknowledge these and put your self-care plan into action. Self-care means taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions. It is about embracing your vulnerability and being kind to yourself. If I sound like a broken record, this is not always easy.

You may lose some relationships- People who do not take care of themselves cannot support you in your self-care efforts. You may not notice this kind of relationship discrepancy until you set a self-care boundary. Do not allow other’s guilt or manipulation get in the way of your health and wellness.

Self-care is not selfish, it is self- FULL– It may feel unnatural to put yourself first or even include yourself on your list of priorities, when you are a caregiver or empathic helper. The more you take care of you, the more you can take care of others. We all need times of silence to process and integrate. Time away from others means more quality time together. Remember self-care is for everyone, whether you are a man or woman. We all need a little TLC.

Self-care does not require a lot of time– The more you devote time to self-care, it increases your productivity. When you feel better, you become more engaged and mindful with all you do. Take five to ten minutes each day in the morning or right before bed to engage in a relaxing activity, such as deep breathing, writing in a journal or mindfulness techniques.

The person who says, I don’t have time to do self-care, needs it the most. Do not wait until your body or mind breaks down before you start making your health a priority. Sometimes people say they don’t have the time, when they really don’t want to become quiet and sit with their feelings. Your emotional pain will not heal until it is acknowledged, felt and released. If you don’t make time now, when will you?

Self-care does not make your problems disappear- Self-care does not magically erase your problems or pain but it will help you cope better. It helps your body release stress and tension, which left unchecked can make you feel much worse. When the crisis has resolved, you will be able to bounce back quicker.

Activities involving self-care fill your cup. Self-care can help you gain a clearer perspective and detach from other people’s energies. This way you can focus more on what needs to be done in your life. Self-care can help you feel supported by yourself and others, which helps you feel less alone.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Slow Down Impulsive Decisions & Improve Your Relationships

Impulsive decisions can wreak havoc on your boundary setting and relationships. When you act without thinking, you can contradict the very limit you were attempting to set with someone. This leaves you appearing to negate what you previously said or did for others. Understandably, people will question whether you have integrity or if you can be trusted.

People in today’s world are more impulsive. Many of us react to whatever is seen or said, without pausing to think first. We expect and some of us demand, instant gratification. I see impulsive behaviors on social media, whether it is reactions to posts, posting without thinking and even expecting an instant answer or response through messages. Sometimes people get blocked, ghosted or impulsively cut out of others’ lives.

Impulsivity as a Symptom

Addictive behaviors thrive on impulsivity. This can include people pleasing, social media, along with any type of substance or alcohol abuse. Many mental health issues feature impulsivity as a symptom. Some are bipolar/mania, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Cluster B personality disorders (borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.) and impulse control disorders. You can also find people act impulsively when they are anxious or experiencing trauma. If you are suffering from a mental health issue, treatment is available to help decrease these kinds of impulsive behaviors.  

It’s Not All Bad

As with everything, there is a healing and a destructive side. The healing side of impulsivity is taking action whereas you wouldn’t have before. This push can help you step outside of the box and explore new ways of being. Much of our intuition and gut feelings lead us to take immediate action without thought. It is important to trust these drives, which protect and guide us.

What Fuels your Impulsive Behavior?

Often people act impulsively to get rid of anxiety or anger. By acting to remove your discomfort, you end up creating more discomfort.

Ask yourself;

Is my impulsivity from a learned behavior through society, a mental health condition, people pleasing or a combination of these?

Ways to Decrease Impulsive People Pleasing

Growing up and sometimes as an adult, I felt compelled to jump in and help, whenever a need arose. I automatically said yes to all requests, as if I didn’t have a choice. I did not take the time to consider if this was something I wanted to do. This is how impulsive people pleasing cuts you off from your own feelings and thoughts. 

Whether you identify as empath, empathic or a people pleaser, here are some ways to decrease impulsivity and connect within. The next time someone asks you for a favor or help, try these phrases to give yourself the space to process;

1. Let me sleep on it.
2. I will consider it.
3. Give me some time to check my schedule.
4. Let me get back to you. 

These phrases give you the option to make a choice based on what you want. In this space, check in with your body and mind. Observe your thoughts and feelings. 

Ask yourself;

Does this feel right for me? 
What does my gut tell me?

Ways to Decrease Reactivity in all Situations

When you feel triggered by another person or situation, this is the time to not respond. It may go against everything you feel within and seem wrong, but do not do it. Create a space of calmness and try these activities instead;

Write out all your thoughts and feelings uncensored. Shred the page.

Talk to a trusted friend and ask their opinion.

Go for a walk.

Practice deep breathing and stay in the present moment.

Pray.

Final Thoughts

The more you can build awareness, take responsibility and be specific, the better you can manage impulsivity. When you react out of fear or anger, take responsibility for your part. In unhealthy relationships, we contribute something to keep them going. Look at your own patterns and heal these.

You do not have to say yes to every request on your time and energy. If you are repeating your boundaries multiple times to the same person, it is time to detach and possibly disconnect from this person. You do not need or require another’s permission or approval to heal yourself. Remember, we are all on our own journey of healing. Some people will not be traveling with us.

You do not have to share every thought that comes into your mind. In fact, it is often best when you don’t.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC