You know that self-care is important for your well-being and that it makes you healthier and stronger. You really like the idea of “time for yourself” but fitting it in can be a challenge.
Including self-care in your routine starts with figuring out what types of activities restore and rejuvenate you. People are unique, and everyone finds different types of activities relaxing. For some, relaxation is found through a PT session, while for others a night out with friends or an evening spent with a good book and hot tea might be restorative.
Once you choose that special self-care activity, it’s time to figure out how to fit it into your schedule. Sometimes, an activity might need to be modified in order to fit in with your current responsibilities. For example, if your ultimate self-care is a day spent hiking with the family dog, ask yourself, “Is that a feasible option?” For most of us, a day or even a few hours of hiking is difficult to fit into our schedule, so we just give up. But self-care is important, so let’s keep trying.
In FOCUS, families learn to approach problems using the solution-finding tool SNAP. The SNAP model makes it easy to clearly define a problem and then generate a variety of possible solutions.
The first step in SNAP is:
1. State the problem.
The key is to state the problem simply and clearly. While it can feel good to vent about problems, it doesn’t always help to solve them. Let’s work through SNAP using the hiking example from above.
State the problem: I don’t get to exercise outside often enough.
The second step is:
2. Name the goal.
Simplify the goal into one clear sentence, as this will make it easier to identify possible solutions.
Name the goal: Find an outdoor activity that relaxes me.
The third step in this process is:
3. List all the possiblesolutions.
There are no right answers here. Just list all the ideas you can possibly think of.
All possible solutions:
• Fly to Yellowstone and hike for several days
• Drive two hours to my local mountain and hike
• Take a long walk at my local park
• Invite a friend for a walk at the local park
• Take a walk by myself in my neighborhood…
Once you have a nice long list, or at least five options, you can move on to step four:
4. Pick the best option and try it out.
In this step, you will go through your options and consider the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Once you whittle it down to two or three, think about any barriers that might get in the way. Choose the solution with the fewest or easiest barriers to overcome.
Pick the best solution: Take a walk in my neighborhood.
Set a date and plan ahead so that you can enjoy your chosen activity without distraction. Set up a playdate with a neighbor or pre-register your kids at the local CDC drop-in program to ensure your time will be free of disruptions. Also make sure to gather any supplies you might need ahead of time, so there is nothing to slow you down on the day of your planned relaxation activity.
Finally, however you manage to sneak some self-care, have fun, enjoy, and treat yourself well.
FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a resiliency-building program of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). FOCUS is an eight-session training program for military families that is grounded in more than two decades of research and experience serving families dealing with stress and changes. FOCUS is specifically adapted for the needs of military couples, children, and families and provides training in core resilience skills. These skills increase closeness, support, communication, and adaptability. Couples and families learn to work together to manage difficult emotions, set goals and problem solve, communicate clearly and effectively, and develop customized strategies to deal with ongoing stress and change.
For more information about FOCUS, visit us online at www.focusproject.org or www.facebook.com/FOCUSresiliencytraining
Contact your local FOCUS site today to learn more about FOCUS and to schedule your personalized training sessions.
• Marine and Family Services, Bldg. 13150, Camp Pendleton, 760-859-6079, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Dolphin Alley, Bldg. 265, NBSD, 619-556-6075, email@example.com