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  • Writer's pictureDr. Susanna La

Caring for Ourselves as We Care for Others

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Today, we honor World Mental Health Day by acknowledging our health matters everyday. There is so much going on in the world right now, beautiful and painful; at the same time, we are doing the best we can.



This blog is dedicated to the sensitive helpers, who are great at caring for others but put yourself last. You may be a highly sensitive person, empath, caregiver, teacher, health care worker, veterinarian, activist, etc. in a capacity to care for all things, including people and animals; you are likely suffering in that environment. You want to make the world a better place by doing meaningful work. You also feel deeply and are understandably impacted by the pain of others.


Our Mental and Physical Health

Being highly intuitive to the needs of others allows us to quickly recognize what someone may need sometimes before they do. Being constantly attuned to the facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, energy, and/or emotions of others can be draining, especially when we are constantly giving.


We may feel fatigued, burnt out, depressed, anxious, and physically sick. Many sensitive helpers also deal with their own chronic health issues and may not even be aware of their own suffering. We may only start to realize it when we are not doing well (e.g., when we have panic attacks or start acting in ways that do not seem like ourselves).


RAIN Exercise

This is a simple mindfulness and self-compassion exercise to help you better understand yourself, especially during moments of overwhelm:


Recognize

  • The first step is to notice what is going on for you in this moment

  • It can be helpful to name a behavior pattern, thought, and/or feeling you are noticing

Allow

  • Your first reaction might be to push an uncomfortable thought, feeling, or sensation away

  • Try to see if you can open up to and make room for the experiences you are having

Investigate

  • Asking yourself questions from a place of curiosity may help you to better understand your needs

  • You might ask, “How am I affected by what is happening right now?” or “What do I need to feel safe or grounded right now?"

Nurture

This exercise may not create any immediate changes, but it can be a catalyst to develop a different and kinder relationship with yourself. It is a necessity to learn how to care for ourselves in a way that allows us to live a sustainable life. Our health and life depends on it. In connecting with our inner wisdom, we learn to care for ourselves, in turn it allows us to be the person we want to be as well as continue the work that is important to us.


If you are interested in working with us to learn how to live a more sustainable life, you can reach out to us here.


Stay tuned. The next topic is "Common Misconceptions of Asexuality."


Written by Susanna La, Ph.D.

Edited by Elena Duong, Psy.D.




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