5 Things to Do After a Retreat

Written by guest blogger Laura Disney, a social worker and military spouse who practices these 5 things not only in her professional life, but in her personal life as well to promote her own self and family functioning.

1) Self care! There are enough stressors in your life, so you must take the time to de-stress!

Myth: Practicing self-care means I’m selfish; it means I’m neglecting others and my responsibilities.

Truth: How can you be the best caregiver you can be? Or the best parent you can be? Or the best spouse you can be? Or the best employee you can be? Or the best boss you can be? (You get the picture.) If you are not the best YOU you can be?

Myth: I don’t deserve self care.

Truth: WRONG! Everyone deserves self-care!! Why? See the above truth.

Myth: I don’t have time for self care.

Truth: It can be hard to find time for self care, and you may have to make room in your schedule to ensure you have time for yourself, but this is definitely something you can (and should) do. Self care doesn’t have to take all day, or even just half a day. Maybe it’s really focusing while you’re listening to your favorite music. Maybe it’s taking a bubble bath. Maybe it’s being mindful while you exercise. Maybe it’s reading a book. For additional self-care ideas, click here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/134-activities-to-add-to-your-self-care-plan/  or here: http://calswec.berkeley.edu/files/uploads/activity_6c-f_self-care_activities.doc

2) Family time! You just got home from this awesome retreat where the focus was on spending time together and improving your family functioning. And now you go home, back to whatever schedule you started with, and don’t continue to promote your family functioning… not gonna work. Once a week, twice a month, or even just once a month (but no less than once a month), dedicate a morning, afternoon, evening, or even a whole day to spending family time together. Put this in the calendar and make it TOP priority. If something non-emergent pops up when you scheduled family time, it’s not more important than family time! Also, couples, don’t forget to make time for just the two of you! For family activity ideas, click here: http://familyeguide.com/boredom-busters-110-fun-at-home-activities-for-families-kids-2/ . For date ideas, click here: http://greatist.com/happiness/cheap-and-awesome-date-ideas.

3) Connect with your support system! Who outside of your immediate family can you go to for emotional and practical support? Family members? Friends? Peers? If you answered “no” to all of those, then it’s time to build a support system. “But why is a support system important?” you may ask? Because our support system can help to encourage us, boost our motivation, increase our happiness, and improve our overall well-being. They act as confidants, can make us laugh, can help us identify when we’re stressed, can give us guidance, can help us both through tangible and intangible ways, and so much more! For ideas on building a support system, click here: https://socialwork.buffalo.edu/resources/self-care-starter-kit/additional-self-care-resources/developing-your-support-system.html.

4) Use the tools from your retreat toolbox! Project Sanctuary provided you with so many tools for your toolbox to continue promoting your emotional well-being and family functioning:  communication tips, information about PTSD, information about budgeting, etc.

They are not going to work for you unless you practice them often! It may take some time before you reach your ultimate goal, and that’s to be expected, so make sure you’re identifying, recognizing, and patting yourselves on the back for the progress you make as you make it!

5) Connect with resources! What do you need? Individual counseling? Couples counseling? Family counseling? Peer support? Budgeting or financial management help? Time management help so you can make sure you fit in your self care and family time? Help building a support system? Help implementing the tools from your toolbox? Help with something I didn’t list here? LET ME KNOW! As the Project Sanctuary social worker, it’s my job to help you find local resources so that these needs of yours can be met as best as possible. And don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for that help! You are welcome to email me directly at laura@projectsanctuary.us. Or if there is another Project Sanctuary staff member you feel more comfortable contacting rather than the stranger writing this blog, then do that! We are here for you!

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