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Self-care

The Importance of a Positive Self-Esteem

What is self-esteem?

According to the American Psychological Association it is “the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive. It reflects a person’s physical self-image, view of his or her accomplishments and capabilities, and values and perceived success in living up to them, as well as the ways in which others view and respond to that person.” Not only does having a positive self-esteem mean valuing yourself but also that you value your capability to achieve. Your self-esteem is how you define yourself as a person including your personality, physical body, talents, and how other view you. Each individual focuses on different aspects for their self-esteem. 

 

Having a high self-esteem doesn’t mean that you think you are perfect. Your self-esteem can fluctuate. Having a positive self-esteem is important for your mental health. Having a positive self-esteem allows you to have coping skills that help you handle negative aspects. It also allows you to deal with stress in healthier ways. There are multiple ways to improve your self-esteem. A few examples are building positive relationships, seek support, and journal positive things in your life. Building positive relationships can help by staying positive. Seeking support such as finding a therapist to discuss strategies to help. Journaling positive things in your life can also help you focus on aspects you are happy about. These are small steps remember that we are building habits that contribute to a positive self-esteem. 

 

For continued learning, please reference the below sites:

 https://dictionary.apa.org/self-esteem

https://youtu.be/OLIFu9Xfnh4

https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/self-esteem.html

 

Written by Denisse Ochoa, BA Sociology Candidate at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, ZCenter Outreach Intern 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

Stress and Anxiety

Identifying stress and anxiety can help you find the necessary tools needed to stay healthy. Stress is caused by an external trigger while anxiety is the persistence of worries. Stress and anxiety are normal responses from the body to danger. The cause of stress is in response to a recognized threat. Anxiety may not always have an identifiable trigger. While stress is short-term, anxiety is a long-term experience. Sometimes stress can turn into anxiety. Stress is the body’s reaction to a threat. Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. I have attached a great chart created by Georgia Hope that provides the similarities and difference between anxiety and stress. 

Ways to help cope with stress and anxiety are: journaling, downloading relaxation apps, sticking to a regular sleep schedule, avoiding drinking caffeine, and reaching out to family or friends. Journaling can help you not only express your feelings but can help you identify when you are feeling stress or anxiety. There are great applications to help guide you to relaxation. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule can help you tackle stress. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep you are more irritable and less patient. That being said, most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Avoiding caffeine is important because when you drink caffeine you elevate your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone in the body. Lastly, reach out to your family and friends. A strong support system is important as they can reduce our stress and uplift our moods. You should seek out help if you are having difficulty doing normal daily activities. 

 

For more information on stress and anxiety, please see the following resources:


 

Written by Denisse Ochoa, BA Sociology Candidate at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, ZCenter Outreach Intern 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

Write Poems/Heal from Trauma

What do Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Fiona Apple, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Carly Simon, Missy Elliott and Rupi Kaur all have in common? Besides being some of our most beloved poets and lyricists, each one is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Writing poems and songs can tap into a part of our brains that may be closed off by the symptoms of sexual trauma: dissociation, intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, that feeling that something bad is about to happen. Especially if the trauma occurred in childhood, when our brains were still developing, we might find it helpful to soothe ourselves through the rhythm, repetition and routine of being creative.

In poetry, we can express ourselves — our grief, our anger, our hope, our defiance — through words in an intentional, healing way. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Poems Don’t Have to Be Happy

Some survivors find relief in doing creative work that is honest and raw, not being pressured to tie the ends up nicely. Poems can help us explore all our feelings, even the ones we usually think of as negative. We can use words to capture the pain of a broken heart, the rage at a choice we didn’t get to make, the vulnerability of our worst moment. Poems don’t have to be happy to be beautiful.

Create a Sanctuary

Where to begin? Light a candle. Turn on a sound machine or some lo-fi hip hop beats. Make tea, wrap a warm blanket around your shoulders, and find a spot of sunlight on the kitchen floor. Make your creative writing time soothing for body, brain and soul.

Get Inspired

Invest in a copy of Mary Oliver’s Devotions, Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, or do a search for any of Maya Angelou’s many written creations, including this ground-shaking one. Look for performance poetry on youtube, like this, and let anything Amanda Gorman has made inspire you. Check out Wild Writing, one of many online creative writing courses that are open to anyone. There are countless ways to express ourselves through words, and through playful experimentation and a commitment to the journey, we can find our own way through.

Seeing Our Words on a Page

It can be such a confidence booster to hold something in our hands and say, “I made this.” Writing poetry isn’t about getting published. It isn’t about creating a masterpiece or getting all the words just right. The words are ours — we control them. We own them. No one can take them from us. Making our healing work into something tangible, something we can feel, touch and see, is a way to regain strength and restore agency.

Always, Always Celebrate

When you write something you realize has captured your truest heart, your deepest feelings, capture that moment! Our brains release happy chemicals, most notably dopamine, when we take note of an accomplishment. Treat yourself to a set of colored pens. Ask a loved one if you can read your poem to them. Or print your written piece on pretty paper, stick it in a frame, and put it on your bedside table. Memorialize, in some big or small way, how far you’ve come.

Work with a Trusted Professional

Trauma work is always hard work, and you won’t want to do it alone. Zacharias Center has trained counselors that work with groups and individuals, serving children, youth and adults. Or, you may already have a relationship with a therapist, spiritual director, or social worker. Ask if you can share what you’re working on. Ask if creative, expressive work can be incorporated into your sessions.

We’d also love to see you at our upcoming poem-writing workshop (3/23/22 at 12 noon), which you can register for here: Free Webinar: Writing Poems to Process Trauma — ZCenter

 


 

Written by Courtney Coates, MSW Candidate at Loyola University, ZCenter Counseling Intern.

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

 

Meditation and Breathing Interactive Webinar

In these challenging times, we invite you to take time for yourself and your self care. Join two of our counselors as we work on meditation and breathing techniques.

Please note the date and time change:

Tuesday, February 22nd, 4:15pm – 5:15pm Central Time

Please join us for this free interactive webinar by registering here.

For questions about this webinar, please contact us at info@zcenter.org.

Self-Care during the Holidays

As the holidays are upon us, I’m sure we can all feel the stress and chaos that come with celebrating the final days of the year. This time of year is such a wonderful time to spend with family watching movies by the fireplace, playing outside in the snow, baking, engaging in craft activities, etc. The holidays can create an immense stress load on individuals, and therefore it is important that we care for ourselves. Self-care is not an activity that requires much energy, time or focus. Taking five minutes a day to focus on ourselves can prevent future burnout. Today, I will discuss possible self-care tips that we can all take part in during this stressful time. 

Meditating comes in many different forms such as guided meditation, yoga meditation, mindfulness meditation, etc. I am personally a big fan of guided meditation, specifically sleep guided meditation. According to the health coach institute, guided meditations on a range of subjects help you center yourself and keep calm through the holiday hustle and bustle”(healthcoachinstitute). There are countless apps that help provide quick, simple, and easy access to meditation sessions. One of my favorite apps to use is called Meditopia, which has different types of meditations for sleeping, relaxing, focus, self-love, releasing stress, and motivation. 

Another self-care tip is staying active through walks, runs, sport activities, etc. There are countless studies that prove staying physically active helps with cardiovascular health and improves bone health, flexibility & mobility, muscle strength, etc. On top of these benefits, during physical activities the body releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that increase pleasure and well-being all while reducing pain and discomfort. Through the pandemic, I have become a big fan of going on walks with my not-so puppy. I’ve realized that going on walks, even if it is for 15-20 minutes a day, helps reduce my stress level; as well, it allows me to take a breather. 

Sleeping! This is my all time favorite self-care activity as it does not require much from us, and is very easy to do! You might be thinking, “How does sleeping count as self-care if it is something we do on a daily basis?” The reality is that sleeping an adequate amount each night helps our bodies immensely. There are countless studies that prove the benefits of receiving the appropriate amount of sleep helps us prevent getting ill, lowers our risk of developing serious health problems, reduces stress, improves mood, allows us to think more clearly, etc. Most adults require 7-8 hours of sleep a day, while teens and children vary depending on their age ranging from 9-13 hours a day. Making a bedtime routine can aid us in getting the appropriate hours of sleep, allowing us to wake up the next day restful and ready to face challenges. 

Making time for self-care should not be an activity that requires a lot of time from us or should be something that we dread doing. During the holidays, the days seem to blend with one another, not allowing us to take a breath of fresh air. Between shopping for the perfect gifts to cooking for the family, it can become very hard to make time to schedule self-care. Making time to schedule self-care during the holidays is important as this can prevent future burnout, lower the risk of health problems, etc. I hope my tips have helped you all think about quick ideas for self-care that do not require much time, energy, or focus!

 

Happy Holidays!

 


Written by Evelyn Perez, Northeastern Illinois University BSW Student and ZCenter Intern

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

https://www.healthcoachinstitute.com/articles/20-tips-for-holiday-self-care/ 

https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep

Support and Resources during the Holidays

This can be a joyous and festive time of year for many. It can also be a time when sexual assault survivors feel triggered, a time when abuse within families becomes more prevalent, or a time when basic needs are unmet. We at ZCenter hope to support you in whatever way we can. Please look through our list of resources and self-care ideas if you are experiencing this time of year as challenging. May we all have the support we need.

 

General Assistance

For general information about Lake County resources, including shelter, food, counseling, hotlines, etc., please reach out to United Way of Lake County by calling 211.

For United Way of Metro Chicago, call 311.

Sexual Abuse, Assault, or Harassment

  1. ZCenter’s Crisis Hotline: 847-872-7700
  2. ZCenter general information: 847-244-1187 or info@zcenter.org
  3. RAINN national hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  4. Polaris Project (for human trafficking) hotline: 800-373-7888

Domestic Violence

  1. A Safe Place for Help Crisis Line: (847) 249-4450 or 1-800-600-SAFE
  2. A Safe Place for Help general information: (847) 360-6471 or info@asafeplaceforhelp.org
  3. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  4. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline: 800-799-7233

LGBTQ+ Resources

  1. LGBTQ+ Center Lake County has compiled a list of resources for the LGBTQ+ community in Lake County, found here.
  2. National Suicide Prevention 24-hour Lifeline: 800-273-TALK
  3. The Trevor Project 24-hour Hotline: 866-488-7386

Servicios en español

  1. Mano a Mano – Round Lake (Bilingual family resources, advocacy): (847) 201-1521
  2. La Paloma (housing, counseling, abuse/trafficking survivors): 847-731-7165 x190. For immediate crisis: 800-600-SAFE (800-600-7233)
  3. HACES: Hispanice American Community Education and Services – Waukegan (Immigration, family resources,DACA, Bilingual GED): (847) 244-0300

Mental Health/Suicide

  1. Text-A-Tip is a 24/7 anonymous text crisis hotline offering emotional support for middle school and high school youth. Simply text LAKECO (and your message) to the number 1-844-823-5323.  Within seconds, you will receive an automated response, and within minutes a live mental health counselor will respond to your text.  All messages are sent through a cloaking server located offsite that keeps the communication completely anonymous.
  2. The Lake County Health Department’s Crisis Care Hotline: 847- 377-8088
  3. SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  4. NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  5. Nicasa Behavioral Health Services (Behavioral/Emotional Support, SubstanceAbuse): (847) 546-6450 or info@nicasa.org
  6. National Suicide Prevention 24/7 LifeLine: Dial 988, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) en español: 1-888-628-9454
  7. National 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741

 

Self-Care During the Holidays

The National Suicide Prevention LifeLine recommends the following for self-care ideas for December and beyond. 

  • Take a walk outside
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Write about something you are grateful for in your life (it can be a person, place, or thing)
  • Create a happy playlist and a coping playlist
  • Treat yourself to a favorite snack
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Forgive someone
  • Forgive yourself
  • Say thank you to someone who has helped you recently
  • Create a DIY self-care kit of things that make you feel better
  • Take your medication on time
  • Take a new fitness class at the gym (yoga, Zumba, etc.)
  • Plan a lunch date with someone you haven’t seen in a while
  • Pamper yourself with an at-home spa day
  • Take a day off from social media and the Internet
  • Reach out to your support system
  • Cuddle with your pets or a friend’s pet
  • Take the time to stop, stand and stretch for 2 minutes
  • Wake up a little earlier and enjoy your a morning cup of tea or coffee before the morning rush
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Take yourself out to dinner
  • Volunteer
  • Start that one project you’ve been contemplating for a while
  • Sit with your emotions, and allow yourself to feel and accept them. It’s okay to laugh, cry, just feel whatever you’re feeling with no apologies!
  • Cook a favorite meal from scratch
  • Take a 5-minute break in your day
  • Compliment someone (and yourself, too!)
  • Give yourself permission to say no
  • De-clutter your mind: write down 5 things that are bothering you, and then literally throw them away
  • Donate 3 pieces of clothing that you no longer wear
  • Take the time to find 5 beautiful things during your daily routine
  • Take a mental health day from school, work, etc.
  • Take a nap
  • Reach out to the Lifeline

 

Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor. 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

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