A guided reflection to your deeper relationship with
CONNECTION | PRESENCE | SELF-COMPASSION | BOUNDARIES
Radical Self Care builds on The Basics of Self Care (thirst, emotions, etc) to create a holistically in-tuned connection with yourself where unmet needs and the autopilot of daily life can be attended to in order to expand your life.
Follow the below reflection multiple times a week: scan the themes and their questions for ideas of where and how your depths would benefit from more support, time, and care. If a theme has you pause, then pause, and consider how it or something similar is impacting your day, week, or even greater life. True, radical self care requires checking in with the themes of:
CONNECTION | PRESENCE | SELF-COMPASSION | BOUNDARIES
This guide will help you notice which themes need more of your attention. Taking action to care for these needs might be new and challenging. Journal about it, process with a trusted friend or a licensed professional.
Ready to gain more insight and put this Radical Self Care into practice? Be sure to sign up for my once-monthly email offering for more insights and healing ideas. Visit www.BrittanyBouffard.com for more.
Brittany Bouffard, LCSW, CYT
Moving Toward Connection
How much true, genuine connection have you had this week? This month?
- Have conversations with others felt surface level recently? Or have you lacked time with friends?
Ask yourself who would most fill you up right now (certain friends, your partner, a family member) and reach out to make plans. Take stock if work or other responsibilities sap your free time or energy in having time for connection, and consider making it a higher priority.
- When have you carved out quiet time to sit with yourself?
This allows us to make space for underlying emotions and reflect on needs and wants that have been ignored by a busy schedule- or plain avoidance. If either life has been too frenzied lately, or ample free time just hasn’t been intentional, set a timer for 10 minutes and try one of these (no screens, no chores, no to-do list) :
- stream-of-consciousness journal
- listen to a guided meditation
- do a creative project
- take a walk outside without distractions
- Have anxiety or trauma triggers, grief emotions, oppression triggers, or self-consciousness kept you from plans or sharing how you are lately?
Being in difficult emotional spaces can yield isolation. While we associate isolation with depression, knowing it is a primary symptom, other feelings or conditions can cause this as well. Anxiety can make social settings sound engulfing. Active trauma triggers suppress the ability for social engagement. Experiencing marginalization daily can lead to emotional and social burnout or fears, especially in certain spaces.
If you are working through these experiences, know you are not alone and with the best fitting supports the desire to have more connection can naturally re-regulate. Reach out to trusted others as you can, even when it’s hard, and let them know some of how you really are.
Living More in Mindful Presence
How often are you stuck on autopilot, cruising through the day unaware of the present moment?
- Do hours go by without you registering exhaustion, thirst, hunger, a breath, or your feelings?
That characteristically unpresent autopilot can take hold and have you feel the hours have flown by– and you haven’t taken a second to check in with yourself. This helps neither productivity nor your wellbeing. It’s prime territory for feelings to get pushed down and stress to accumulate, even to the point of burnout.
- Put sticky notes on your computer: Breathe. Slow Down. Check In. How Am I?
- Walk in slow motion to meetings or better yet to the water cooler, breathing with each step, inviting yourself to go super-slowly.
- Try meditating 5-10 minutes in the morning or during an unscheduled hour.
- Often do you show up to meetings, social conversations or family time without slowing down to really take in yourself and others?
We can even lack presence when talking to others, even though we’re chatting and seeming to listen. Did you really slow down? Did you feel your chair and your feet on the floor? Did you hear what was unsaid, or recognize what a deeper part of you needed from the conversation?
- Before entering the room, stop in your tracks and take three full rounds of breath. You can put a hand on your heart or feel your feet rooted. Set an intention for seeing and being with those around you.
Do your own thoughts and beliefs tell you the lie that you’re not enough?
- Is your toughest critic in your own mind?
Whether negative thoughts say you messed up on a project or you aren’t good enough, thoughts carry immense power in how you view yourself. Here’s a secret: don’t believe your thoughts; they aren’t necessarily true. Negative thoughts and core beliefs develop usually after years of experiences or messaging that say you aren’t good enough in some way– and eventually they sound like your true voice. They’re not. They’re spinning automatically on repeat and need your intervention of mindfulness and self-compassion to create new thoughts (which lead to new beliefs) that are more fair, more helpful, and true. When, “I’m not skilled enough to do this,”etc, plays in your mind, kindly notice it and reword it (you can even rewrite it on paper) to tell yourself, “I do have the skills and have done tough things before.” Even if only an ounce of you believes it right now.
- Could you use self-compassion while going through a difficult time?
You might be faced with a hard transition or loss, have struggles with family or a relationship, or be in the storm of big emotions. Maybe you could use extra love and compassion toward yourself as you do the best you can during a difficult few weeks. Forgive yourself, go slowly, take off any masks, cut yourself a break from doing or being at your normal level. Offer yourself compassionate, caring words like you would tell a friend going through the same.
Setting Boundaries to Meet Needs
Could a well-placed boundary help you get what you need?
- Does your deep self show signs of boundary breaches or lack of boundaries? Signs like: tired of doing for others; over-committed; emotionally spent from someone else’s lack of boundaries; feeling walked on; etc?
Look for where you’re reacting Yes instead of pausing to say Let Me Consider It, or No. Ask yourself what is steering your replies: people-pleasing, guilt, trying to prove something, perfectionism? There are many reasons why you might meet others’ needs over your own. Consider yourself first in any equation of doing or promising; only you know how a task or an ask fits for you. Be honest.
- Are your boundary breaches from experiencing racism, oppression, or marginalization?
Consider recent situations and triggers to help determine where in particular could use boundarying this week if possible: It’s OK to take breaks from the news or politics– during some periods, it’s crucial for survival. If people or systems at your work are confounding the inundation or microaggressions, maybe it’s time to seek understanding support from friends or community? Consider if it’s possible to make or break plans depending on whom you have the energy for the next couple days.
- Do you need to make a bigger, louder, or reinforced boundary with an unhealthy family member or other close person?
If there is a clear unhealthy relationship that could use a boundary refresher, hone in about what your true needs are around communication, behaviors, requests, or breaches from that person. Remember that sometimes boundary-breachers need to hear the boundary louder or more directly than how you’d talk to someone else. Get support from healthy others if useful to craft wording or your approach. And of course professional help in therapy is always a good option here. Safely stand by your needs and keep in mind those healthy chosen people in your life who can support you before or after reinforcing your boundaries.
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