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34. Regarding Self-care pt 1

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Good Morning Families, today is Monday May 11th 2020 and it is now time for a moment of SEL.

First, a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there. Did you do something with or for your mom yesterday?

Also, happy birthday to my sister today, May 11th. I hope all is well for in North Carolina.

This week we are going to be focusing on self-care. Why, because some things are changing, and some things are staying the same. What’s changing is that some parts of our country are coming out of physical distancing, and some parts are not. We, in Seattle are in a part that is not coming out right now, but will be in a few weeks.

Did you know that the last thing we did physically, socially was on Saturday morning March 14th? That was 59 days ago. That is a long time, particularly when part of self-care for our family involves being with other people, in shared space, interacting.

So, one of the biggest outlets for unpleasant feelings and uplifts for pleasant ones has been gone for 59 days.

Using our own family and social network as an indication, hopefully this will be something that is supportive to you all as well. Because, to be honest, this week was really hard for us. Lots of big-time feelings, lots of tantrums, mostly from Mr. Manzo. In large part, because there have been 59 days where the familiar self-care strategies have not been able to be had.

In those 59 days, there has been tremendous social change across so many communities. Many folks have had to learn new technologies. There has been loss, grief, fear, worry, instability. There have been massive changes in employment, changes in income. A lot of the familiar fun activities of sports, gathering with friends, seeing music, going to a gallery, going to dance, going to a club, have not been able to be had. More time spent with the same people than ever before, and less time spent with others. Under normal circumstances all of those things could produce high levels of stress for people. Add to that the limiting of familiar personal and social supports and being limited to certain spaces and baby, you got a stew going.

A stew of potential suffering.

So, good time to revisit some strategies for self-care.

Self-care is a very broad and somewhat generic term that has many, many underlying social emotional learning sub-categories, strategies, and supports.

When you are in pre-school or kindergarten or first grade or second grade, or pretty much your entire life, you will rely on the care of others. The degree of that care will change throughout your life, but it will never be fully absent because our society depends on others. However, when you are very young, you rely on others entirely. A baby cannot do anything over than cry sleep, go to the bathroom mostly on themselves or others . That’s pretty much it. And, in all of that someone else has to be there to help, with a quickness.

You are not a baby and as you grow, with each new developmental step, you become more capable of caring for yourself. That’s how it works. People care for you and you learn to do it for yourself. Along the way, you also learn to do it for others, but that’s something we’ll focus on next week.

And here’s the great news. This is all going to be directed and relevant by and to the cultural spaces you inhabit. There is no standard “self-care” right or wrong because different folks can do things in different ways and still make the same outcomes. That’s one of the great things about Social Emotional Learning, the whole concept of “right” or “wrong” is always related to context and culture.

For, you and the people you stay with, self-care may look different then the self-care for a friend or neighbor or even other parts of your own family.

For today, try to recognize the ways in which you care for yourself? Do you brush your teeth? Do you exercise? What foods do you eat? What do you do for your mind? What do you do for your spirit? What do you do for those you care about? What’s your role with the people you stay with?

All of those things will help you start to recognize the ways you care for yourself. Because, big secret, the way we care for others can also teach us about how we care for ourselves, but let’s not get ahead today.

After you recognize the ways in which you care for yourself see if you can recognize one or two things that you are able to do for yourself that help your mind, your body, or your spirit to feel pleasant. Maybe, it’s a bike ride or a walk for your body. Maybe it’s playing music or drawing or writing or connecting with a friend online for your spirit. Maybe it’s reading a book, having a deep conversation with someone, or thinking deep thoughts for your mind.

Tomorrow we will continue this work by thinking about self-identity. You’ll want to be able to recognize that, particularly when you start thinking about ideas like “best self”.

Wednesday we will continue by looking at self-talk. That’s a really big thing too.

Thursday we will focus on the idea of best-self and Friday will be all about self-compassion. You’re going to want to have that for sure, especially when all the other self-stuff isn’t going well.

We’re very excited to start our week of self-care and we look forward to connecting with you in whatever way we can tomorrow. Until tomorrow, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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