Self Care

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How do I Love Me? Let me Count the Ways”  10 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s day      Valentine’s Day makes us think of adoring bonds between happy couples, which is certainly something to celebrate. But this V-day, we’d like to challenge you to make another type of affection a priority: self-love. Self-love is not self-centered or narcissistic; it’s about valuing yourself in a way that supports your health, relationships, and emotional well-being. Most people understand the importance of showing love to the people they care about, yet many of us tend to put our own feelings on the back-burner.      But there’s more to self-love than just treating yourself to the occasional spa day or night out with the guys. So what can people do to start truly loving themselves more?    1. Understand it’s importance    Self-love influences who a person picks for relationships, impacts the image they project at work, affects how they cope with challenges in life, and supports their mental and physical health. Loving yourself also provides a positive example for children and teens to understand the importance of self-care.     2. Know it’s not narcissism     Some worry that self-love is vain or narcissistic, but there’s a difference between caring for your well-being and thinking you’re superior to others. Narcissism is a delusional sense of superiority that is characterized by being blinded to one’s flaws. Self-love is about accepting yourself for both your positive traits and flaws while valuing yourself for exactly who you are.      3. Treat yourself as you would others     It’s ironic that we say, “treat others as you would have them treat you,” when we’re usually less critical of others than ourselves! Next time you’re being hard on yourself, think of whether you would be so harsh in judging your friend, neighbor, parent, or child for the same shortcoming. Treat yourself with the same grace and acceptance you offer to loved ones when they are less than perfect.      4. Accept your humanity     Remember that you are only human and making mistakes is part of the human experience. A self-loving person recognizes that being human includes making the occasional error or lapse in judgment. The important thing is seeing yourself for more than your shortcomings and using your experience to grow moving forward.     5. Quit comparing yourself     Stop measuring yourself up to others who are wealthier, wittier, or better looking. Remember that people only publicly share the highlights of their lives and tend to gloss over their challenges and shortcomings. When you compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel, you’ll focus on your flaws and falsely believe that they are worse than everyone else’s.    Check out our blog on how to stop comparing yourself on social media     6. Make life mindful     People who love themselves tend to be aware of what they think, feel, and desire. They make decisions based on self-awareness rather than relying on what other people want for them. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to become more attuned to your true self. Be mindful by reflecting on your feelings without judgment. Practice deep breathing and stay focused on the present moment; when your mind starts to dwell on the past or get anxious about the future, redirect your focus to the sensations of the present.      7. Ritualize self-care     Caring for your basic needs is a great way to show yourself love every day. Make it a daily ritual to nourish yourself through healthy activities such as exercise, sound nutrition, proper sleep, intimacy, and fun time with friends. Keep your scheduled appointments for physicals, dental screenings, and mental health support.      


   
     
      
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      8. Believe in boundaries     Part of self-love is knowing not to try to be everything for everybody. People who struggle with self-love often fear the repercussions of saying no to requests, but the truth is people respect those who know how to set healthy boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no to tasks or activities that make you feel emotionally depleted.     Click here for our women’s guide to stop people-pleasing     9. Detox your circle     Sometimes your loved ones struggle with their own self-love and may act in ways that make you feel bad about yourself or drag you down. If someone in your life is damaging to your self-image, it’s ok to love them from a distance and limit communication with them. Just as you would want to protect a loved one from harmful influences, remember to protect yourself against toxic or abusive relationships.      10. Surround yourself with support     Positive energy is contagious, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and love you for who you are. Sometimes, however, we need a little extra support outside of our circle of friends. If you are struggling with self-love and making your needs a priority in life, our specialists can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an 'ethical imperative'. (2011, October).   Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/self-care.aspx   Greenberg, M., Ph.D. (2017, June 29). 8 Powerful Steps to Self-Love. Retrieved   From https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201706/8-powerful-steps-self-love?amp  Khoshaba, Psy.D, D. (2012, March 27). A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love.   Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love?amp  Shinn. M.M. (2019). Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s Most #liked of them all?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-whos-the-most-liked-of-them-all     Shinn. M.M. (2019). “Why Can’t I Say No?!” The Women’s Holiday Guide to Stop People-Pleasing.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-womans-holiday-guide-to-stop-people-pleasing      How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). “How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways”. 9 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s Day.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tips-for-self-love-this-valentines-day

“How do I Love Me? Let me Count the Ways”
10 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s day

“How do I love me? Let me count the ways!”

One way to practice self-love is to stop comparing your behind-the-scenes life to someone else’s highlight reel.

Whether or not you’re in a relationship, check out this week’s blog to make sure you are doing what it takes to love yourself this Valentine’s Day!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      When a Friend Dies by Suicide   The death of a loved one is always extremely painful, but having a friend die by suicide is especially devastating. Friendships are an important part of the human experience and impact our happiness, well-being, and sense of belonging. While we don’t get to choose which family we’re born into, we do get to choose who we build friendships with, and having that connection severed by suicide is incredibly traumatic.   Why didn’t they come to me?   When a person dies, the first people we tend to sympathize with are family members, but being a friend of someone who dies by suicide presents its own unique struggles. After all, you’re the one they’re supposed to vent to when their family drives them nuts. You’re the one that’s supposed to take them out to get their mind off their crazy ex. You feel a responsibility for their well-being, and it’s hard to accept that their psychological battle was out of your control.   While there’s no easy road through the grieving process, knowing what to expect can help. If you’ve lost a friend to suicide, here are a few things you should know:    It’s ok to be angry   If your friend had been killed by a drunk driver, you’d know exactly who to be mad at. You’d be enraged with the person who made the choice to drive intoxicated. If your friend died by suicide, however, it’s a bit more confusing. They are both the victim and the person who caused their death. It’s normal to feel abandoned, angry, or resentful as you process what’s happened.   “Why” may never be clear – and that’s ok   Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, died by suicide in 2017. His family posted a video showing Chester smiling and playing games with his loved ones just hours before taking his life. Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint why a person became suicidal - a traumatic event, extreme stress, or mental illness are common instigators. But in cases like Chester’s, suicide was something that no one saw coming. The factors leading to suicide are often unclear, and acceptance can only happen when you realize you may never fully understand “why.”   Grief comes in waves   Some days you’ll feel at peace, accepting that you could not have prevented your friend’s death. Other days, you’ll see an ad for your favorite band coming to town and feel devastated that you can’t call your friend to go with you. Milestones that should be enjoyable, like finding the love of your life, buying a new house, or watching your kids graduate may all have a bitter tinge knowing that your friend isn’t there to share those experiences with you. It’s normal for symptoms of grief to ebb and peak. When you are having an especially bad day, remember that your feelings will subside in time.   Self-care is not betrayal    When your friend dies by suicide, guilt and depression can curb your motivation to take care of yourself. Simple acts like brushing your teeth, eating healthy, and exercising can feel burdensome. Reestablishing your routine will help bring back a sense of normalcy as you work through your grief. Allow yourself to experience both mundane and enjoyable activities, as routine and laughter are both important parts of the healing process.   Therapy isn’t sold in pint glasses    Friends play an important role in the formation of our identities, and after losing a friend it can be tempting to try to numb your void with alcohol. Be cautious about using substances to cope with your grief, as this does not help you work through your pain but only masks it until you sober up again. Alcohol exacerbates depression and anxiety, making you feel even worse once your buzz wears off. This can lead to you becoming dependent on alcohol to cope with your symptoms, worsening your depression and making recovery significantly more challenging.   Pain has a ripple effect   It’s common for loved ones to have suicidal thoughts in the wake of their friend’s death. Our brains want to make sense of things, and when something is insensible, our minds tend to replay the hurtful event repeatedly as we try to make sense of it. This confusion may cause you to fixate on death and despair, resulting in overwhelming feelings of depression and hopelessness. Know that the intensity of these feelings will fade in time. If your suicidal thoughts are unrelenting, seek help from a specialist right away. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can help direct you in getting help, either for yourself or for a loved one in need.  National Suicide Prevention Hotline:   1-800-273-8255     When in doubt, lean   You may feel like isolating yourself, staying in bed, and wallowing in depression for a while. As tough as it may be, push yourself to get out of the house and lean on the support of your friends and family. Isolating yourself may only worsen your depression. Stay connected to supportive people, and limit your time spent with people who tell you how you should think or feel.   Cultures may clash    Different cultures and religions have varying views on suicide, making it something that many people are unwilling to acknowledge or discuss. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding suicide only worsens the problem, discouraging those in need from getting help. Depending on their beliefs, expect that your friend’s family members might have a hard time talking about what happened or speaking up for the needs of those battling mental illness.   You can change perceptions    As their friend, you have the power to make a difference by talking about suicide. Your voice can empower those in need to seek help and acknowledge that sufferers should be recognized and supported without shame. You can share your story through social media, online or in-person support groups, speaking engagements, or by educating your close friends and family. Start by learning how to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors to help prevent future deaths by suicide. A great resource is the   Center for Disease Control’s listing of risks and protective factors.     You made their life better    Know that your relationship was just as important to your friend as it was to you; their choice to end their life was based on a warped perception of reality – a feeling that death was the only viable escape from their struggles - and was not a reflection of the value they placed on your friendship. You improved their quality of life despite their internal battle.   Hope lies ahead    When their loss is still new, it may feel like you’ll never be happy again. Close friends are a defining part of our lives, and their loss is excruciating. This pain reflects the intense bonds we are blessed to experience as human beings. While birthdays and other milestones may be especially tough from year to year, know that the intensity of your grief will lessen over time, and someday you will be able to embrace both the happy and sad memories. Believe that no matter how dire things may feel today, the future holds hope, peace, and acceptance.     Variations can help   While your friends might not have the words to say, a specialist in depression and grief will understand your needs and will listen, validate what you are experiencing and help you discover ways to cope with your loss.  Variations Psychology has experts with a wide range of specializations:      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html  Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide http://www.sptsusa.org/  University of Texas Suicide Prevention Program https://cmhc.utexas.edu/bethatone/studentscopingsuicide.html  The Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900?pg=2   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). When a Friend Dies by Suicide.  Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/when-a-friend-dies-by-suicide

When a Friend Dies by Suicide

The death of a loved one is always extremely painful, but having a friend die by suicide is especially devastating. Friendships are an important part of the human experience and impact our happiness, well-being, and sense of belonging. While we don’t get to choose which family we’re born into, we do get to choose who we build friendships with, and having that connection severed by suicide is incredibly traumatic.