When Family Togetherness is Too Much
Finding Peace Comes from Practice … A Self-Care Practice
by Tanya Cole-Lesnick, LCSW-R, Assistant Director of the Lighthouse Retreat & Wellness Center
Ah family time, so special, right? Except… it’s taken on a whole new shape these days. We have more togetherness with our families, or as we like to refer to it at the Lighthouse - our Nests - more now than ever before. Through the confines of the pandemic we’re all navigating together, for better or for worse. Of course we love our families, our Nests, but really … all of this togetherness can get pretty challenging!
Did you know that November is National Family Caregivers Month? There are over 53 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. So chances are that if you’re reading this, you are a caregiver in some capacity. Caregivers have enough challenges as it is, but layer a pandemic on top of it, plus the upcoming holiday season and it can seem like complete caregiver pandemonium! There is definitely a lot of caregiving going on, but what about self-care?
We’ve all had to face things about ourselves through the pandemic, and current political climate, that perhaps haven’t been the easiest to face. Things we’ve always struggled with have been magnified 10X with nowhere to hide. We can find ourselves feeling disconnected, lonely, overwhelmed, smothered, bored, unmotivated, irritable, anxious, angry, confused, divided … to name just a few. Finding peace can seem impossible. But finding peace comes from practice. A self-care practice that is.
Who’s in your Nest?
Take a moment and list all of the people in your Nest ...
Did you do it? Who’s on your list? A husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, mom, dad, kids, step-kids, nieces, nephews, friends, grandparents. Everybody’s Nest is different, how we define our families is unique, but we all have one thing in common … SELF. Did you include yourself on your list? We have the tendency to rarely include ourselves, let alone put ourselves first, but creating a self-care practice does just that. It helps you put yourself first. Because let’s get brutally honest here, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re no good to anybody else.
Finding What Works for You
I know, many of you are probably thinking, “find what works for me? how do I even find the time to find what works for me?” A self-care practice can start out simple. Everyone can find 10 minutes in their day for themselves. So start by putting aside those 10 minutes. It’s best to kick off your day with those 10 minutes dedicated to yourself to set the tone for your day, but as long as you take the time, anytime of the day will do to get you started.
Now you know you have the time … what to do … what to do? Here are a few ideas:
Breathe. Yes, it’s that simple. Putting time aside for deep cleansing breaths is a great way to center ourselves and feel balanced. Just sit by yourself in a comfortable space and breathe in … and out … Focus on your breath and feel your mind clear and body get grounded. Once you’ve conquered ten minutes, tag on two more minutes, then three more and work your way up to 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised how time you thought you didn’t think you had for yourself will magically appear.
Put Pen to Paper. If breathing is not for you, journaling can be a very powerful self-care tool. Or perhaps you’ll find a combo of the two is what works best for you. Getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper helps you from projecting or taking them out on those around you. Not sure how to get started? Try writing this sentence to get you started every day “I am grateful for____.” When you start your day with gratitude it sets the tone for your entire day and spark your thoughts so you can dive into writing more.
Read. So maybe you tried the breathing, and the journaling and they weren’t for you or you want to add on more to your daily practice. Try spending some time reading. Reading helps you escape, can inspire you (and help you with your journaling), reduce stress and stimulates the brain.
Will your self-care practice be perfect? No way. Will you miss days? Yes, you will, until you get into the habit of it and feel the benefits. And even then… don’t think of it as something you HAVE to do. Think of it as something that you GET to do. Breathing, Journaling, Reading … these are all tools, secret-weapons if you will, that you can take out of your self-care tool box at any time. So when you’re struggling , and that family togetherness is too much, you have something just for YOU. And YOU are what matters most.
Listen to Tanya discuss the Nest Program and the wonderful work happening at the Lighthouse Retreat & Wellness Center on the November 19th Episode of Your Practical Magic.
Tanya Cole-Lesnick, LCSW-R is the Assistant Director of the Lighthouse Retreat & Wellness Center. As a practitioner, Tanya helps people to address issues related to anxiety, depression, relationships, careers, self-esteem, life transitions, day-to-day habits, and life satisfaction.
Her specialty is in creating a safe, shame-free environment for her clients to share the sacred, very personal, stories of their lives as they explore their own growth and healing. Her primary focus is in helping people to identify and move towards their best lives by getting clear about what does and does not serve them, where they’re stuck, what the lives they dream of look like, and making changes accordingly. Click here to inquire about scheduling an appointment with Tanya.
The Lighthouse Retreat & Wellness Center is dedicated to bringing health and wellbeing to communities, one person, one family at a time. The Nest Program is a unique and powerful approach that has been very successful with families. It offers a combination of individual therapy and family therapy and provides a level of support and shared experiences with all the therapists and clients involved to move the work forward more quickly and solidly than one individual or family therapist can do alone.
The success of the Nest Program is due to the Lighthouse’s team of practitioners that do their own personal work, collaborate closely, and each show up with their individual styles. They themselves are like a family—one that has carefully developed healthy communication, has embraced the individuality of each of the members, and so can make healthy decisions that support the wellness of the team and the families they work with.