Stefanie is a mental health therapist and Latina self-care blogger at The Focus On You. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she now resides in Las Vegas with her family mostly working with survivors of domestic violence. She started her blog from her long time desire to be a writer and her practice of journaling. Stefanie talks about the power of journaling and how it's a non-judgmental, safe way to take care of yourself. Stefanie defines selfcare as "tapping into your own needs and values, then putting them into action."
We talk a lot about boundary setting, which is very important during the holidays, especially if you're around family that is difficult for you to be around. Stefanie's suggestion is to find your allies, find what's safe, and have an exit plan. Finding a safe space can be challenging, and we talk about stepping into a "brave space" instead. For Stefanie, music is a safe space and I ask her about her love of rapping in the car!
For other grinches, like me, who don't like the holidays as much, we talk about how important it is to schedule in things that we enjoy whether it be traveling somewhere exciting, going to a movie after a family gathering, attending a concert, taking a beautiful nature hike, or spending quality time with a friend. Stefanie stresses, "Choose something that you want to do whether it's related to the holidays or not. What do you want to do?"
In addition, we talk about one of Stefanie's blog posts on self-talk, and how important self-talk and affirmations are for our self-worth. The connection between oppression and self-worth pops up when we think about how our self-worth is tied to how we've been and are oppressed. For example, a woman's self-worth can be tied to the patriarchal, sexist culture that tells women they are "less than."
"With every injustice that we face, it can feel like our worthiness is stripped from us."
Following this post-election nightmare, many of us have been and are experiencing the stages of grief. Stefanie points out that grief doesn't only mean a death, but a loss as well. It can be a loss of our sense of safety, security, and health, for example. The stages of grief flow in waves where we can feel angry in one moment, depressed in the next, and in denial thereafter. Or we can stay in one stage for a long, long time.
Finally, I ask Stefanie how her self-care has grown and what she has learned from it over the years. She makes an excellent point that self-care is not always more about adding stuff, but subtracting stuff instead. It's not about doing more, but about doing less. In doing less, we find true rest.
"We each need to ask ourselves, 'do I know how to really rest?"