Who doesn’t love a new beginning, particularly a new school year? But as with traditional New Year’s, starting anew, whether it is in school, at work, or in a relationship, can be a time of stress. And as we engage in new opportunities, we often put taking care of ourselves last on the priority list.
This September, as we look to celebrate National Self-Care Awareness Month, consider taking stock of the stressors in your life and evaluating how you can either coexist with them, or in the case of unhealthy relationships, make an effort to deal with the problem, including any signs of abuse or harmful behaviors.
Mental Health Match calls self-care “anything we deliberately do (or refrain from doing) with our own well-being in mind.” This can mean anything from starting a new exercise routine to setting important boundaries with the people in your life. Healthy boundaries define what is appropriate in our relationships and what keeps everyone feeling safe and respected. Setting these boundaries is critical for both self-care and healthy relationships.
Note: we don’t all have the same boundaries, and they can be different based on culture, personality, and social context. School or work boundaries may be different from those at home, or at a birthday party with your closest friends. Setting clear boundaries and communicating about them with others not only strengthens relationships but also is an important part of self-care.
You can take a quiz on Turning Points Network’s website to help reality-check your relationship/friendship: Does your partner respect you, your ideas, your alone time, and your decisions? Do you feel good about your relationship most of the time? If you’re not sure or if a pattern of possessive or harmful behavior is occurring, ask a trusted adult or friend to help you get support or call our hotline at 800-639-3130. We are here to help.
Self-care is also a way to do more good in the world. Think of it this way: when you have the tools to take care of yourself and live a life that feels good and uplifting, you can better show up for your community, your relationships, and the causes you care about.
So, when the days cool down and we enter autumn, slow down and take your own temperature. Hopefully, you can ease the pace and stress in your own life, at least for a bit. Remember: You’ve earned it!
OUR TURN is a public service series by Turning Points Network (TPN) serving all of Sullivan County with offices in Claremont and Newport. We provide wraparound support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and sex trafficking and we present violence-prevention education programs in our schools. For more than 40 years, TPN has helped people of all ages move from the darkness of abuse toward the light of respect, healing, and hope. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Our website is: www.turningpointsnetwork.org