Copy of Self-Care Guilt- How Does it Impact You?

I’m storytelling in this one, in hopes that some of you may be able to identify some harmful patterns in your own lives that you’re absolutely able to take control of now!

So, in last week’s blog post we discussed the difference between self-love and self-care. Today I want to piggyback on those ideas and discuss the unspoken guilt about self-care in our society.

            I don’t know about you, but I know that in the past when I’ve needed a day off from work or school for the purpose of preserving my own mental health, I’ve had to lie. Is it not just as important to ensure that my mind and spirit are healthy, the way I would need to ensure my body was healthy before returning to life as usual after the flu or a cold? I recall never being able to understand this even as a teenager, and was disappointed to see that it carried through my years in college, graduate school, and every job I’ve ever had (even while working in the mental health field!). While I certainly had some bosses who would have been more than understanding if I had just said I needed a mental health day (and some were- one would even set an example and take a mental health day now and again), I still had coworkers, clients, or upper-level administration whom would not have been so gracious. This often made me feel as though I needed validation from others that I was “ill enough” to justify missing a shift at work. This got me thinking- why should I be putting work ahead of my own well-being, especially when I’m preaching self-care to my clients?

            This is the depth of disregard for mental health and self-care our work has. I know everyone’s experience is their own, but I’ll go ahead and use myself as an example hoping that others can relate. The day-to-day reality of internalized shame patterns around my own self-care looked something like this: 

·     Ignore and repress my own feelings until they reached a boiling point, at which time I would have a meltdown. This would often result in me not taking good care of myself until I got sick or injured, which was essentially my body trying to get my attention and tell me I needed to slow down.

·     Completely shut down for a day or two, because I couldn’t focus on anything else, but I wasn’t doing anything to recharge either.

·     While I was in that shut down state, I wasn’t even able to fully recharge my battery because I was vacillating between checking out and being anxious about the things I wasn’t doing because I just didn’t have the energy or mental capacity. My body, mind, and soul felt completely separate from each other and I had no clue how to begin bringing them back together and restoring a sense of normalcy. I thus would sink further into helplessness, which just made me want to shut down more. It would also take significantly more energy to repress whatever emotions were coming up, which they were more often because I was so burnt out.

·      I thus became irritable, and got to a point where I didn’t know what to do with myself outside of work. I allowed people to treat me in ways I didn’t deserve to be treated, because I was too exhausted and shut off from myself to demand or seek something better. The actions of those people just reinforced my belief that something was wrong with me. And guess what? Something WAS wrong with me. Guilt and negative self-beliefs were getting in the way of engaging in useful, productive self-care.

 

With a significant amount of my own work in therapy and dharma school, meeting with life and business coaches, biting the bullet and getting out of toxic work environments and into self-employment, a daily yoga practice, breaks from social media, reading, audiobooks/podcasts, and regular journaling and meditation, I’ve been able to engage in much better self-care. But it was not overnight, and it was in spite of the cultural messages I was receiving about self-care both at work and outside of work. To most of my friends throughout my twenties, “self-care” looked like thinly veiled binge drinking or just checking out on Netflix for hours and taking naps. While these things can sometimes help us shut our brains off to recharge, I couldn’t do it all the time. I knew I needed more.

            This is an invitation to you to pay attention to your own self-care: is it actually recharging you? What messages are your receiving in your daily life about self-care? Are they congruent with your values around self-care? While it’s certainly noble to work hard and make ends meet, there’s no glory in completely draining yourself and becoming irritable and reactive towards the people around you, or withdrawing into victimhood. This means you’re hurting people by lashing out at them, and hurting the community by not sharing your gifts.

            If you’re a woman who is local to Central CT and want to change your self-care, January 2019 is the time for you! I will be running a six-week Goddess group designed around the Goddess archetypes, how they apply to the modern woman, and how women can come together in community. We will specifically be addressing how self-care guilt is culturally passed on to women in the USA, and how to make small mindset/realistic lifestyle changes to live a life connected to purpose. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact me directly at rebecca@mhccholistichealth.hush.com.

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

June Essential Oil: Lavender, week 2!

Last week I touched on lavender and the benefits it can offer to someone on a trauma recovery journey. Lavender is wonderful to use on its own- it can be added to any skincare regimen, diffused, and even added to teas or water. But there are also many benefits to mixing it with certain other oils to really amplify healing, concentration, and wellness.

DoTERRA has spent years researching and curating several such blends for specific purposes. I’ll be going through some of the ones which contain lavender and are likely to help anyone who is taking on a wellness and self-care initiative.

Aromatouch

This oil is a wonderful blend for coming back into the body after a long period of dissociation, checking out, or generally feeling disconnected from the body. It’s also great if you’re working on forming a better relationship with your body after years of self-injury, negative self-talk, or other forms of self-abuse. It’s doTERRA’s proprietary blend of cypress, peppermint, lavender, marjoram, grapefruit, and lavender. DoTERRA recommends using it for massage as it can help relieve physical tension and increase physical and emotional flexibility.

Massage, especially when trauma-informed, can also be an excellent way to attend to and form a relationship with your body. The release of physical tension allows for relaxation and sends messages to the brain that you are safe and it’s time to “rest and digest.” This is the opposite of “fight or flight mode.” If you’re experiencing tension in the same consistent areas of your body, this is a great blend to apply topically. You can even diffuse it to release tension in your environment.

Clarycalm

This blend is wonderful for so many reasons and is one of my absolute favorites. I’ll probably write a full blog post about it someday, but for now I’ll try to keep it brief. First of all, this blend is wonderful for hormonal support and easing painful cramping which can occur at certain points of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

I also love it because it can support pregnancy and child delivery- while it won’t be a total painkiller, it can help tap into maternal instincts. It permits emotional vulnerability and brings out inner feminine strength, energy, and intuition. If you’re trying to feel safe and strong in your vulnerability and feminine energy, this blend can be great for you- no matter your gender. This can lead to greater empathy and deeper connections to others. It creates a sense of strong vulnerability which can lead to deep emotional intimacy between partners, friends, family members, and even mothers and their newborn babies. It contains lavender, clary sage, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile, cedarwood, geranium, fennel, carrot seed, palmarosa, and vitex.

 

Past Tense

This blend is excellent for headache relief, because of its ability to help release stress and emotional tension. It helps the body remember how to relax, so that deeper emotional work can be done and fears can be released. According to Essential Emotions, LLC, “past tense can calm severe stress, soothe trauma, and bring balance to the body and energy system.”

I love this blend because it’s one of the few that’s directly intended to balance out the inner masculine energy in anyone of any gender. It allows the user to return to “neutral” after periods of overwork (which is an over-indulgence in masculine energy). This balance can only be achieved with daily practice, however. Using this blend alone will not bring this sense of balance. You must be making conscious effort to relax and balance your energy through journaling, meditating, exercise, yoga, skincare, stretching, being in nature, etc. It’s a cooling blend of wintergreen, peppermint, lavender, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, Roman Chamomile, basil, and rosemary.

Peace

Like its name suggests, this blend is a wonderful tool for helping people feel connected to their Highest Selves and their sense of spirituality. “Without true peace, there is a human tendency to try to manufacture peace by controlling one’s environment and relationships. Especially when one feels afraid, it is tempting to try to control others because it gives an artificial sense of order and safety.”

This blend, combined with a regular self-care practice, can help achieve acceptance and release from the lack of balance and peace that comes with trying to control situations which are frightening, triggering, or beyond our control. This can help trauma survivors accept that the past is over, they are currently safe, and that they can achieve peace and symptom relief by leaning into emotions and patterns as part of their self-care routines. This blend contains vetiver, lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage, marjoram, labdanum, and spearmint.

There are countless blends that you can also create to suit your individual needs. As you can see, I love talking about essential oils and emotional wellness. I’d be thrilled to discuss your essential oil needs with you, and I’d love to hear feedback about how you’re incorporating them into your self-care.

To contact me directly, email me at Rebecca@nestcoaching.org

To purchase oils, click here.

To join my team of badass business owners on a mission of emotional healing, click here.

Be Well!

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC   Freer of Souls. Connector to Purpose. Healer of Lives.    Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC

Freer of Souls. Connector to Purpose. Healer of Lives.

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

June Oil of the Month: Lavender!

I’m so excited to be able to talk to you all each week about essential oils and how they can have a profound impact on trauma recovery and emotional wellness. This month, I want to focus on the “king” of all essential oils- lavender! It’s so versatile- it can help with cuts and burns, cleaning, and tons of household uses.

For the sake of staying aligned with my purpose, I want to focus mostly on using essential oils for emotional healing and trauma recovery. I’ll likely touch on the other uses of essential oils at some point in my blogging journey, but that’s because I’m a holistic health practitioner who also recognizes the need for general self-care.

Lavender is known for its calming benefits. According to Sayorwan W., et al, lavender can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature. This can greatly decrease nervous system arousal by using the olfactory glands to stimulate the amygdala. Amygdala stimulation sends a message to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the mechanism in the brain which allows you to calm down after your brain has detected a threat and responded with the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response is ultimately activated by the amygdala as well, so it’s easy to see why aromatherapy, especially lavender essential oil, is so beneficial for grounding when a trauma survivor is triggered.

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

According to Essential Emotions, LLC, people become disconnected from themselves due to trauma and trying to manage the brain’s response to trauma. If you are working to improve communication and connect to yourself in a deeper way, lavender can be a wonderful supplement to support your practice. I can’t stress enough that these oils are not magic cure-alls; they’re also not “snake oil.” The onus is still on the user to be doing other things, such as meditating, journaling, therapy/coaching, and exercise/yoga which will allow for this healing to take place. Essential oils in general, but especially lavender, can be grounding and calming while going into this deep healing work.

If you are someone with a lengthy history of not expressing yourself for fear of rejection or shame, there’s a strong chance (sometimes, but not always) that you may have some attachment trauma and learned this from interactional patterns in your childhood. Lavender is wonderful for calming the internal chatter you’re experiencing enough so that you can heal these wounds, feel confident, and love yourself in the way you’ve been longing to.

If you want to learn more about doing this healing work, contact me for a coaching consultation at Rebecca@nestcoaching.org!

If you’re interested in purchasing lavender or other essential oils to incorporate into your healing journey, click here.

Next week, I’ll be discussing some of doTERRA’s blends which contain lavender and why they are beneficial to emotional healing and trauma recovery. If you’re on a wellness journey, you can’t miss it!

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC   Freer of Souls. Connector to Purpose. Healer of Lives.    Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC

Freer of Souls. Connector to Purpose. Healer of Lives.

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

Self-Care Guilt- How Does it Impact You?

I’m storytelling in this one, in hopes that some of you may be able to identify some harmful patterns in your own lives that you’re absolutely able to take control of now!

So, in last week’s blog post we discussed the difference between self-love and self-care. Today I want to piggyback on those ideas and discuss the unspoken guilt about self-care in our society.

            I don’t know about you, but I know that in the past when I’ve needed a day off from work or school for the purpose of preserving my own mental health, I’ve had to lie. Is it not just as important to ensure that my mind and spirit are healthy, the way I would need to ensure my body was healthy before returning to life as usual after the flu or a cold? I recall never being able to understand this even as a teenager, and was disappointed to see that it carried through my years in college, graduate school, and every job I’ve ever had (even while working in the mental health field!). While I certainly had some bosses who would have been more than understanding if I had just said I needed a mental health day (and some were- one would even set an example and take a mental health day now and again), I still had coworkers, clients, or upper-level administration whom would not have been so gracious. This often made me feel as though I needed validation from others that I was “ill enough” to justify missing a shift at work. This got me thinking- why should I be putting work ahead of my own well-being, especially when I’m preaching self-care to my clients?

            This is the depth of disregard for mental health and self-care our work has. I know everyone’s experience is their own, but I’ll go ahead and use myself as an example hoping that others can relate. The day-to-day reality of internalized shame patterns around my own self-care looked something like this: 

·     Ignore and repress my own feelings until they reached a boiling point, at which time I would have a meltdown. This would often result in me not taking good care of myself until I got sick or injured, which was essentially my body trying to get my attention and tell me I needed to slow down.

·     Completely shut down for a day or two, because I couldn’t focus on anything else, but I wasn’t doing anything to recharge either.

·     While I was in that shut down state, I wasn’t even able to fully recharge my battery because I was vacillating between checking out and being anxious about the things I wasn’t doing because I just didn’t have the energy or mental capacity. My body, mind, and soul felt completely separate from each other and I had no clue how to begin bringing them back together and restoring a sense of normalcy. I thus would sink further into helplessness, which just made me want to shut down more. It would also take significantly more energy to repress whatever emotions were coming up, which they were more often because I was so burnt out.

·      I thus became irritable, and got to a point where I didn’t know what to do with myself outside of work. I allowed people to treat me in ways I didn’t deserve to be treated, because I was too exhausted and shut off from myself to demand or seek something better. The actions of those people just reinforced my belief that something was wrong with me. And guess what? Something WAS wrong with me. Guilt and negative self-beliefs were getting in the way of engaging in useful, productive self-care.

 

With a significant amount of my own work in therapy and dharma school, meeting with life and business coaches, biting the bullet and getting out of toxic work environments and into self-employment, a daily yoga practice, breaks from social media, reading, audiobooks/podcasts, and regular journaling and meditation, I’ve been able to engage in much better self-care. But it was not overnight, and it was in spite of the cultural messages I was receiving about self-care both at work and outside of work. To most of my friends throughout my twenties, “self-care” looked like thinly veiled binge drinking or just checking out on Netflix for hours and taking naps. While these things can sometimes help us shut our brains off to recharge, I couldn’t do it all the time. I knew I needed more.

            This is an invitation to you to pay attention to your own self-care: is it actually recharging you? What messages are your receiving in your daily life about self-care? Are they congruent with your values around self-care? While it’s certainly noble to work hard and make ends meet, there’s no glory in completely draining yourself and becoming irritable and reactive towards the people around you, or withdrawing into victimhood. This means you’re hurting people by lashing out at them, and hurting the community by not sharing your gifts.

            If you’re a woman who is local to Central CT and want to change your self-care, January 2019 is the time for you! I will be running a six-week Goddess group designed around the Goddess archetypes, how they apply to the modern woman, and how women can come together in community. We will specifically be addressing how self-care guilt is culturally passed on to women in the USA, and how to make small mindset/realistic lifestyle changes to live a life connected to purpose. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact me directly at rebecca@mhccholistichealth.hush.com.

Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.

Rebecca Toner, MA, LPC is a group private practice owner, EMDR therapist and consultant-in-training, and a life coach operating out of Plainville, CT. She specializes in treating clients with chronic attachment trauma and dissociation, and has passion in working with coaching clients who are learning how to reclaim their power after processing trauma.