My name is Leslie Marchand. I am a clinical social worker, yoga instructor, and life coach. As a helping professional it’s easy to give so much that you feel like you have nothing left – for yourself, for your loved ones or for the next person that walks into your office needing some guidance. I have learned through trial and error how to take care of myself while caring deeply for other people. Now I spend my time helping others to find this same balance.
As the saying from Robert Fulghum goes “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” We all start learning self-care tools at an early age, we just have to remember them, implement them and build on them as we get older. So today, I go back to the beginning – to share my journey of developing self-care tools that work for me.
* When I was young, I loved to play outside in nature. I still cherish any opportunity to sit in nature, to listen to the sound of the birds, to see the sun rise or set, and to feel a breeze on my skin.
* When I was in middle school, I learned the benefits of having a daily quiet time to sit in silence and to write down my thoughts in a journal.
* In high school I learned about reading a daily devotion and inspirational stories. When I got anxious about a test at school, my mom taught me a progressive muscle relaxation technique. I would often go for a long walk in my neighborhood. Sometimes I got so far from home that I would stop at a friend’s house to get a ride home.
* During college I relied heavily on social support from friends. I lived in a dorm where my roommates and I would spend hours talking about our hopes and dreams. I went for walks in the garden on campus. I started going on retreats and participating in various support groups.
* As a young social worker I discovered yoga, which quickly became a foundation of my self-care practices. At the end of a long day of serving others, I could go to my yoga class to rest and refuel.
* When I became a mom, my self-care practices changed again. It was much more difficult to find time and space alone, so I set up a prayer and meditation space in my closet. I could shut the closet door and spend a few minutes in prayer and solitude.
When I look at all of the tools that I have used, I have covered a lot of important categories: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I have also used tools that are proven by research to be highly effective: social support, time in nature, physical exercise, yoga and mindfulness activities, hobbies, creative outlets and spiritual practices. Sometimes I try to make it too complicated, and then I remember to start from the beginning. I sit, I breathe, and I find a sense of calm. It’s simple yet profound.
What is the self-care tool that you are currently using most often? How does it help you in your daily life? When and how do you decide to change it up and try something new?
My mission with SoYoCo Wellness Services is to equip people with holistic self-care practices so that they can care for themselves and others with compassionate presence, insight and clear solutions. In this blog I will share self-care tips, inspirational stories and research related to finding joy and a deep sense of meaning in life. I am here to help you, to give you gentle reminders, to give you simple tools to pause, to take a breath, and to start again - from the beginning.
If you sign up to receive my blog posts and newsletters via email, I’ll send you written instructions for a mindfulness practice that will help you to sit and take some deep breaths. Use it any time to create a new beginning.
Leslie Marchand, LCSW, RYT, helps you renew yourself and inspire others through her blog, live events and online courses. She offers self care solutions in a world of burnout.