If you are anywhere over the age of say 13, you’ve quickly figured something out about life…it can be really hard sometimes! Living your best and happiest life can take some work, and we may need some tools to get to that blissful place I tend to call “Our Best Self”.
Developing coping skills and helping people re-discover some of the simple joys of life is by far one of my favorite aspects of my job! And though self-disclosure may not always be a big part of a therapist’s style, I want to give you an insider’s look into my therapeutic toolbox. My toolbox includes some of my go-to tools that I make sure to utilize whenever I may be in need of a little pick-me-up.
Jamie’s Therapeutic Toolbox
1 – SUNSHINE: As much as I love my little hometown in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the weather tended to stay on the gloomy side. It didn’t take me long to realize this had a direct correlation on my mood. Gloomy Weather = Gloomy Attitude. Research even shows that there are some findings linking a lack of Vitamin D to depression.
Moving to the Sunshine State made a vast improvement on my mood, attitude, and overall feeling of happiness. Whether its enjoying coffee on my patio, lying by the pool, going to the beach, or taking a sunny walk…when the sunshine is out so is my smile!
How to use this tool? This tool cannot be any simpler and anyone can use it. Take a little more time to let the sunshine soothe your soul! And don’t forget your SPF!
2 – POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS: I am IN LOVE with positive affirmations. I love to use them and I love to teach others to use them. I Google them, I Pintrest them, I save them to my phone, and reference them in times of need. If you invest into using positive affirmations right, you can find yourself being more motivated to set goals, more motivated to achieve your goals, and have self-confidence in your ability to accomplish goals. Not to mention using positive affirmations improves our attitude. I have yet to be stumped to find a positive affirmation that can be applied to some aspect of my life, making them extremely resourceful at all times. The power of positive thinking is just that.. POWERFUL.
How to use this tool? Start by identifying what you need some uplifting motivation on. Next, do a quick internet search on this including the phrase “positive affirmations”. How you want to use it from here (cut it out, put it on your mirror, repeat the affirmation 10x/day) is up to you!
“Change your thoughts and you change your world”- Norman Vincent Peale
3 –SMART GOALS: Speaking of goals, there is a really SMART way to go about setting goals and setting yourself up for success. Sometimes I set goals for myself that are unrealistic and out of my reach. “ I am going to go to the gym 7x a week, for 2 hours at a time, and work 40 hours a week, still have a social life, and do it all while being energetic and happy!”….Yeah Right. In need of a new way to eliminate these unrealistic goals, I recently started using a system called SMART goals. SMART stands for the following:
- S – SPECIFIC
- M – MEASURABLE
- A – ATTAINABLE
- R – RELEVANT
- T – TIMELY
By making sure that my goal I am setting fits into each of these categories, I am making sure my goals are realistic rather than out of my grasp. I am setting myself up for success! This has helped me to eliminate that feeling of shame or guilt when I fall short of my goal, and put my goals back in arm’s reach.
How to use this tool? This template will help you get started setting your own SMART goals and setting yourself up for SUCCESS!
4- GOOD COMPANY: This is my #1 tool. We are human beings..and human beings THRIVE off of human connection. Feeling down? Call a friend. Feeling stressed? Meet a sibling for a lunch date. Feeling sick? Watch a movie with a loved one. Bored? Go for dinner with a colleague. You get the point. The activity you do is not what matters, but it’s who you are doing it with. Family, friends, co-workers, etc. We need a support system. Of course I am all about self-empowerment and independence, but we can’t downplay the importance of being able to connect with someone you care about and trust for good communication, advice, laughs, and more. As individuals, we need to establish healthy relationships in our life. These relationships give us a sense of belonging and eliminate those dreaded feelings of loneliness.
How to use this tool? Call your friends. Go see your family. Can’t think of anyone to call? Time to MEETUP with new people!
5- EXERCISE: Of course, I had to include exercise. Its positive impacts are undeniable. I am not a fitness guru, but I can tell you that I never feel better than I do (mentally and physically) than when I get done kicking my own butt in an hour long spin class. It reduces my stress, it boosts my self-esteem, helps me sleep better, and gets my endorphins pumping. This is a necessary tool to have in your toolbox for physical, emotional, and mental well-being. You don’t have to spin, you don’t have to run..you just have to do enough physical exercise to get yourself moving.
How to use this tool? You need to determine what the best type of exercise is for you, but experts suggest trying to fit in at least 120 minutes of exercise a week to get all the health benefits!
NEWEST ADDITIONS!!! – These next two tricks and tools have made such a positive impact on my life I had to update and share!
6 – ESSENTIAL OILS: What a game changer! I was recently introduced to essential oils and their impacts, and I soon after signed up & fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils. They have improved my allergies, health, mood, sleep, and more! Any issue you may be dealing with, I can guarantee there is an oil to help support it. There are multiple ways you can use your oils to benefit you, whether its aromatically (aromatherapy), topically (apply to your skin), or internally (ingesting). Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from various parts of plants to enhance our overall well-being. It had long been known for it’s noteworthy impacts, but I had to try it to believe it!
Such a fun and beneficial habit to get into to improve your overall mental, emotional, and physical health. I am officially an avid oiler!!
How to use this tool? There are so many resources out there from websites, books, apps, and more to learn about how to use your essential oils and aromatherapy to benefit you. The products may be a little pricey, but its because they work! Best investment I ever made.
7 – MY WEIGHTED BLANKET: This one might seem a little odd. When I first told some people I bought a weighted blanket they responded with “like the vest I put on my dog during thunder storms!??” Well, they aren’t wrong…it really is similar to that. The weighted blanket serves as a tool to manage some sensory struggles in addition to sleep issues like insomnia, restless legs, anxiety, stress, PTSD, ADHD, and even autism. I personally purchased this miracle blanket to manage anxiety and sleep issues. Sometimes at night I just can not shut my brain off!! I know some of you can relate. Well, no more. This blanket adds a little pressure and calms my body down, and my brain immediately follows suit. If I use it while I am in bed, I don’t roll around as much at night, giving me a more restful nights sleep. It really is fantastic!! I purchased mine from Sensory Goods, but I know there are many quality sites and stores to purchase from.
How to use this tool? This might be the easiest one yet…simply lay the blanket over your body and RELAX!
If you or someone you know may need help finding your own coping skills and adding some tools to your own therapeutic tool box, don’t hesitate to give me a call and set up an appointment! 954-391-5305 ext. 9 or request an appointment.
Jamie Ratowski, MS