How to care for yourself in order to care for others
Director of outreach and partnership development at United Way of St. Joseph County
In this report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the authors discuss the Self-Healing Communities model—and how it fosters community growth and success. This model focuses on how communities can heal and grow by honoring the life of every person and caring about each other's total well-being regardless of personal connection. This approach showed me that an important part of creating a healthy community is caring for oneself first. After reading this article, I encourage you to ask yourself where you see yourself within this story and how you can be an agent of change in our community.
“How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain”
After losing my parents in 2012 and 2013, to say I was a hot mess would be an understatement. My grief counselor encouraged me to start a “gratitude journal” to get me to practice gratitude everyday, writing down three things I was grateful for. Some days all I could write was, “I can breathe,” “I can stand” and “I cried only four times today.” This article from Greater Good Magazine, a publication of the University of California at Berkeley, discusses how practicing gratitude has been proven to improve the mental health and well-being of all people—both healthy and those with mental-health concerns. I now write a gratitude journal entry almost every morning, and I encourage you to try it, too.
“Brené Brown on the Relationship Between Joy and Gratitude”
Practicing gratitude has changed my life. Among all of the challenges of 2020, facing a pandemic and the renewed fight against racism were hard on my emotions. I’m thankful I had already built a strong gratitude practice and was able to lean on that throughout the pain. Gratitude has helped me focus on all the wonderful things I get to do in our community and on all the things I’d neglected to give thanks for before. In this short video, Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and bestselling author, talks about how to actively practice gratitude and its importance in bringing joy into our lives.
The Happiness Lab
While social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, I signed up for a Yale course called “The Science of Well-Being,” taught by cognitive scientist Laurie Santos. At the end of the course, we were invited to listen to Santos’ podcast, The Happiness Lab, which talks through scientific research and shares some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness. It is now my favorite podcast.
Tiny Survival Guide
At a conference hosted by a local provider of mental-health and addiction services, I became familiar with Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, the founder of the Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. During her talk, she gave insight into all the ways we can help ourselves be resilient during times of difficulty. She shared this handout, which provides simple and easy ways to care for yourself in everyday life. I refer to it often.
Pendulum: Road Map
After years of working with 18- to 30-year-olds, I taught a course through the firm I founded, Pendulum Consulting, to help young people identify their needs and live healthy lives. As part of the course, I created this tool to help build habits that develop a healthy mind, body, soul and spirit.
Our Collection. Your Inbox
A few years back while working for the Robinson Community Learning Center, I partnered with the Snite Museum to bring art to the children I worked with. Since then, I’ve realized how much my adult brain also benefits from art, helping to provide a place of peace. The Snite Museum has created this resource to email you twice a week with artwork from its collection, along with a profile of the artist who created it and a prompt to engage in deeper thinking.