How are you recommitting to self-care in 2020?

Written by: Leslie Scott, MSSA, LSW, CTP-C, Professional Development Coordinator

It’s a new year and with each new year comes new year resolutions. I am not one for making new year resolutions, but I recently watched a TedX video on the teen brain and was struck by the presenter’s advice: “choose your stress”. It struck me, because it’s so simple, yet so easy to forget. As I continued to mull over this phrase, my ‘internal social worker voice’ reminded me of what I tell my clients, “you are in control of your responses”. I usually say this to teens when we are talking about them yelling at their parents or how they reacted to getting a bad grade. What I hadn’t considered was the impact of how we determine what to stress over, influencing our feeling of control on our responses. In other words, when we ask ourselves, “how stressful is this issue on a scale of 1 to 10” or “is this problem as big as my response”, we are giving our brains 30 seconds to process our emotions with a logical lens. The more we are able to connect our logical and emotional brains, the more control we have over our responses. For teens, this boils down to better emotional regulation. For me, as an adult and a professional, choosing my stress and response to stressors is better self-care.

Part of self-care is letting go of negativity and embracing the positive. This year, I’m making a commitment to myself to choose my stress and how much stress I allow myself to feel. My newest affirmation: I have the power to choose my own stress. I’m listening to my social worker voice and taking control over my responses. Externally and internally, with big and small stressors. I am also seeking moments of opportunity for self-care. By asking myself to rate my stress or reminding myself of the power I hold, I am also creating moments of self-reflection on what I need,  what I can control, and what I want to feel.