How Difficult Emotions Lead to Growth

How Difficult Emotions Lead to Growth

How Difficult Emotions Lead to Growth

Feeling “Triggered?” Lean In…


EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS OPEN THE DOOR TO GROWTH: 2020 has really given us a run for our money, and if nothing else, has led many of us to take a good hard look at our lifestyles, relationships, and our country as a whole. 

From the COVID-19 pandemic to the focus on socio-political issues such as systemic racism and police brutality, we are all confronted daily with images and content that may make uncomfortable feelings arise. Many of us are feeling upset, and feeling emotionally triggered. You are then presented with a choice: to sit with and examine those feelings, or to avoid them and turn away. 

I’d like to challenge you not to turn away. Embrace feeling triggered. Use it, to facilitate your personal growth.

Emotions Reveal Your Beliefs and Values

Why is it important to understand and sit with our feelings? Because feelings are the top layer of our belief system. When we have big feelings about something, it provides a clue as to the underlying values and core beliefs that just got challenged. By understanding where this emotional response is coming from, you get clarity about the values, belief systems, and attitudes you hold. 

This can happen in many aspects of life, often in your relationships or interactions with others. But lately, you may also have been confronted with new ideas or information (or even more conversations) related to equality, systemic racism, and social justice. As you think critically about socio-political issues, you may notice anger, pain, or even defensiveness arising within you or others around you — especially if you are feeling personally attacked, or that your core beliefs about the world are being attacked. 

All of these feelings can be hard to sit with, but it is extremely important to be able to explore and entertain a wide range of ideas. If you’re feeling attacked, offended, or triggered, it’s an opportunity to ask yourself, “why am I feeling this way?” It also gives you an opportunity to try to understand the perspective of the person or situation that feels triggering to you. This doesn’t mean you agree with them but is a valuable skill to master if you want your thoughts, values, and behaviors to align. 

The Road to Alignment of Beliefs, Values, and Feelings

The first step in using your emotional triggers as a growth opportunity is figuring out what you are reluctant to consider or even entertain as an idea in your mind, and why it feels so painful for you. Taking a moment to examine our emotions around specific issues doesn’t mean you have to or should change them, it is about getting to the root of what you believe and what is important to you. 

You may find that you have deeply held beliefs about why things are the way they are and that those may not be compatible with the new information you’re being confronted with. For example, if you believe that the arc of people’s lives are determined exclusively by “how hard they work,” or whether they “make good choices” it may feel very threatening to be confronted with the realities of systemic racism, implicit racial bias, and white privilege. Any information about how difficult it can be for people of color to get ahead — regardless of their work ethic or lifestyle choices — can elicit feelings of anger and defensiveness, and voila, you’re feeling triggered.

It is exactly this uncomfortable feeling that we all need to pay attention to. 

How to Use Your Feelings to Clarify Your Values

If you notice yourself feeling triggered, here are some skills that can help you begin to better understand your values and beliefs that are triggering your big emotions. 

  • Allow yourself to momentarily suspend judgment, and be curious about where this feeling is coming from. Is it tied to a value? Or a core belief? 
  • Curiosity is key here, as this will diffuse defensiveness and create a safe emotional space to explore why you hold certain beliefs and judgments. 
  • If you uncover a core belief, it’s worth thinking about where it came from. Who’s belief is this? Yours? Your families? Who taught you to believe this?
  • You might think about other aspects of this belief: Is it always true? Sometimes true? Do other people believe something different? If so, why? What changes if you look at the same situation through this different perspective? Stay curious, and open.
  • Remember that defensiveness is a response to a perceived threat, either physical or emotional. If you feel yourself starting to get defensive, it simply means that you’re feeling attacked, or persecuted, or threatened. We can use this as an invitation to explore ideas further and deepen your understanding of your emotional response to it.

These skills are also useful when having conversations with other people, as well as ourselves. 

Identifying Uncomfortable Feelings: Now What?

Explicitly identifying your values and what you hold as important to you will be critical in knowing what to do with those thoughts and emotions. There are multiple ways to do this, you can make a list and rank values based on how important they are to you or you can use a more structured activity using value sort cards. I like to use a value card sorting activity in my work with clients, and when you do this think about what each value means to you, and if it is important, not important, or very important to you. 

From there, do your values and your thoughts/beliefs/attitudes match up? For example, if you believe kindness is important when you engage with someone who holds different beliefs than you, do you treat them with kindness? To take it a step further, if you believe in helping others – are there times you turn a blind eye to injustice? This is where alignment in your values, thoughts, and actions is important.

You first need to be able to recognize where you have gaps in self-knowledge, and this is a clue of where personal growth is needed. If you don’t know where to start, implicit biases tests can help identify where your biases lie (and I say where on purpose, as all humans have biases). You can also purposefully and intentionally engage with various media sources or invite loved ones to share their views with you. This is also a great way to strengthen and deepen your interpersonal relationships!

This kind of inner exploration and challenge isn’t easy work, but it is worthwhile to tolerate the discomfort as it allows you to feel more confident in your values and sense of self. If your values, thoughts, and actions do not align you may begin to feel the effects of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when someone has inconsistent or contradictory beliefs, attitudes, or thoughts, especially as it relates to behavior. Cognitive dissonance may present as feeling uncomfortable, avoiding conflict, a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, feeling irritable, or experiencing guilt or shame but not knowing why. 

One thing I really want to emphasize is that examining our emotions and beliefs is something everyone does or needs to do. This is just part of being human and living in an ever-changing world. Please be kind, patient, and compassionate with yourself as you do this work. It is not helpful to beat yourself up if there is some dissonance present, and the good news is these things are within your control and have the potential to change. It is okay to grow and change, even if that means changing your opinion or standpoint. It is okay to make changes and begin to cut out people, ideologies, and activities that do not support your new growth. 

If your thoughts, values, and actions do align, that doesn’t mean you’re done! Everyone is continually growing, changing, and learning. We are all lifelong students, and personal growth is not linear. It is not a destination we arrive at, but rather a journey where we challenge ourselves with love, kindness, and respect.

Wishing you the best, 
Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC

Josephine Marin, M.S. MFTC

Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

Let's  Talk



Real Help, To Move You Forward


Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.



Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.



Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Work Life Balance


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the nation, many Americans are now finding themselves working from home longer-term. While the ability to work from home has steadily been increasing even prior to the virus outbreak, many businesses and organizations have now been forced to adapt and allow their employees to work remotely. 

Working from the comfort and safety of your home can have its advantages. However, if not done with care and intention can lead to negative effects on your productivity and well-being. 

Today I want to outline for you some advantages and pitfalls to avoid when working from home. I am sharing the same tips and strategies I share with my online therapy and life coaching clients to make the transition of working from home a smooth and happy one. 

Advantages of Working from Home

Working from home provides benefits and advantages that working in an office simply cannot provide. While working in an office space can present structure, accountability, and a space to collaborate with colleagues, working from home can allow for more flexibility and personalization of your workday. 

Depending on your position and work duties, working from home can allow you to work at your own pace and (sometimes) set your own schedule. Some work from home positions follow set hours such as the typical 9 am-5 pm workday. While others allow you to work at any time as long as specific goals are met.

With this flexibility, you can wake up and go to bed at a time that is ideal for you, take breaks for exercise, refresh your brain, and reduce daily stressors such as traffic. 

Another advantage of working remotely with a flexible schedule is being able to complete errands or attend appointments you normally wouldn’t be able to if at the office. Working from home also allows for more time with your pets and kids! 

Even if your remote job does not allow for a flexible schedule, working from the comfort of your own home may boost creativity and allow you to be more relaxed and therefore productive. 

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For When Working From Home

While there are advantages to working from home, there are also disadvantages and ways working from home can be harmful to your productivity and mental health. 

The flexibility that working from home provides is also a catch-22. Working from home can impact your productivity and motivation. When we have the flexibility to set our own pace and schedule, we may have every intention to optimize this time. However, unless your employer has provided you with guidelines to your new working environment, many people have to learn through experience or trial and error before configuring a work from home set up that truly works!

If working from home is not done with intentionality or forethought, it can leave you feeling burnt out, unmotivated, and unhappy.

If you are finding yourself in a similar situation and struggling to complete tasks, meet deadlines, or connect with your work – you may be hindering your success by giving in to these common pitfalls.

Not Setting Structure Around Working Hours

Working sporadic hours or when motivation strikes may work for some. However, working with no set schedule can create anxiety and unrest for most of us. Continually putting off tasks or waiting for motivation to come can lead to guilt or make it even harder to start. 

The anti-structure of working hours can ultimately lead to failure in areas that you are generally successful when working in your typical office space. 

Unable To Walk Away From Work

Working from home can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. For those people who already struggle with overworking or turning off their work brain, this can make it even more challenging. 

Feeling like your work is constantly looming over you even when you are supposed to be off the clock can lead to burnout and decreased motivation.

Not Maintaining Professional Connections

When we have the support of our professional connections, it’s easier to stay motivated and connected to our work.

While working from home, you may feel isolated or cut off from your work relationships feeling like your work has less of an impact and making it harder to stay accountable for deadlines.

Allowing Blurred Boundaries

Trying to get work done and be productive in spaces where you also binge watch Netflix or sleep will further blur the lines between work and home. 

Humans are impacted by their environment. Working in a space where you are comfy or with lots of distractions will make it harder to stay in work mode.

These blurred boundaries can make it difficult to stick to a work schedule, walk away from your work outside of working hours, and push off maintaining professional connections.

Success Strategies When Working From Home

While working from home can have its pitfalls and distractions, there are ways you can set yourself up for success and enhance your life! Here are 5 simple strategies to make working from home a smooth and enjoyable experience. 

Optimizing Your Productivity By Optimizing Your Space

Take a moment to think about a time where you were “in-flow” with your work, and you were able to accomplish a task or project with ease. 

Consider the elements of the environment that helped your success.

Was there music?
What was the light like?
ad you just eaten lunch or a snack?

Using your self-knowledge, try to create a space within your home that is curated for work based on what helps you be productive. 

You can be fun and playful here. Try to incorporate plants, aromatherapy, soft cozy blankets, color, and light! Make this space yours and do what works for YOU. 

Set Yourself Up For Success

Similar to the previous point, make sure you take a comprehensive approach to working from home and set yourself up for success. 

Working and living in the same space may confuse your body and mind unless clear distinctions are made. As much as possible try to stick with the same routine you would use when working outside the home. Such as having a cutoff time for bed and splitting meal preparation with a family member or partner if you can. 

Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are technically available to help with tasks, so try to split responsibilities like you normally would if you weren’t home. 

Setting yourself up for success could be scheduling breaks into your workday or giving yourself enough rest and eating regular meals and snacks, but also giving yourself grace and compassion. 

You may be experiencing waves of emotion that change daily or struggling with the constant change. Give yourself grace, kindness, and patience to not “be okay”, and to learn and grow with time. 

Connect With Your Work Relationships

When we feel connected to our colleagues and the work we are doing (even if from afar!), there can be a greater sense of accountability, drive, and motivation. 

Staying in touch through Slack messaging, Zoom conference calls, and emails with colleagues and work teams can foster a greater sense of connection and help us feel closer to the people we would normally interact with in the breakroom. 

If your job isn’t organizing meetup groups or opportunities to connect with your coworkers, consider reaching out to someone and organizing one yourself!

For more advice on building community during social distancing, check out my colleague's article: Building CommUNITY During Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine.

Set Boundaries Around Work

Turning off email and work app notifications on your phone outside of working hours, and creating a work schedule are two ways you can create boundaries when working from home. 

Working different hours every day may be a necessity or work well for some, but many people desire structure, consistency, and predictability in their work environment. You can use the flexibility working from home can bring by setting work hours that work for you, such as starting at 9:30 am rather than 9 am or using your lunch hour for a workout.

Setting specific times for work can create structure and routine while self-isolating at home, and some semblance of normalcy. Managing how many times you are reminded of work or mentally brought back into “the office” will be important to manage burnout and fatigue. Consider altering your notification preferences for email and other communication platforms associated with work. 

Setting a schedule for work can also help keep work off your mind when you are not “in” the office, and can help redirect anxious thoughts that may pop up in your off time.

Looking for a little more on work life balcne when working from home? Listen to this podcast: Coronavirus & Career: How We Make This Work — Advice From a Career Coach.

Creating Clear Distinctions Between Work Time And Leisure Time

Similar to how setting a work schedule can assist in creating structure and differentiate between off-time and work-time, creating clear physical boundaries with work can also be helpful. 

This may look like not working in bed or other spaces you normally wouldn’t get work done, and changing out of your PJs (even though you technically don’t have to). 

Working at a desk or the dining room table rather than your bed will help your brain and body tell the difference between work and play. If you don’t create clear distinctions between work and leisure, like when you try to wind down at the end of the day in bed, your work brain may start turning on because it thinks it’s work time! 

The same goes for working in front of the TV or in the living room. When you try to enjoy these spaces outside of work it may feel too familiar and eventually lead your brain to associate these spaces with work long-term.

If possible, try to change rooms when transitioning to and from work to help you better “clock out” at the end of the day and further distinguish your work environment against your home environment.

I hope these strategies help you successfully work from home either temporarily or long-term!

Wishing you success,
Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC 


Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC  is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

Let's  Talk



Real Help, To Move You Forward


Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.



Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.



Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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How to Harness a Strengths-Based Approach to Reach Your Goals in the New Year

How to Harness a Strengths-Based Approach to Reach Your Goals in the New Year

How to Harness a Strengths-Based Approach to Reach Your Goals in the New Year

Using The Strengths-Based Approach


The start of a new year can be full of hope and promise, and the idea of starting over — particularly in a new decade — can fill some with excitement and others with dread. If you’ve ever experienced the act of overpromising to yourself and underdelivering on your goals, you’re certainly not alone.

While New Year’s resolutions are intended to motivate us and improve our lives, they can also make us focus on all the things we are not. Let’s face it, eating healthier, losing 15 pounds, joining a book club, going back to school, and having a REAL savings account (Hello new home, 2025!) sure sounds exciting but how do you actually do it all? Is it even possible to start chasing after new goals with your already busy work/social/family life schedule?

The thing is, we often wait and wait and wait to get started on our goals or give up early on our New Year’s resolutions because we get lost focusing on what we consider to be our “downfalls”. We hinder our progress before even starting. 

I have some good news for you today. This year, 2020, is YOUR year. Here’s why! In my work as a life coach and individual therapist, I like to take a Strengths-Based Approach to help my clients reach their personal goals and I’m sharing it with you today! In this article I am going to be talking about:

  1. What is the Strengths-Based Approach?
  2. Why is the Strengths-Based Approach successful time and time again?
  3. Who is the Strengths-Based Approach For (hint: YOU! And here’s why…)?
  4. How you can start using the Strengths-Based Approach today, and practical tips for getting started!

Everything You Need To Know About The Strengths-Based Approach

What is the Strengths-Based Approach?

Focusing on one’s strengths falls under the Positive Psychology umbrella, and essentially entails focusing on your internal strengths and resourcefulness. This inherently begins building a more positive mindset and can help increase resilience.

How often do you sit and think of your positive qualities? In the hustle and bustle of daily life, my guess is…NEVER. Our brains are wired to watch out for danger and to identify patterns, and our brains tend to pay more attention to negative information than positive information. We might not notice every time we do something successfully, but we sure do notice if we mess up. 

Many people might feel like focusing on your good qualities is being self-centered or arrogant, but I’m going to call BS on that one. It is extremely important to be able to articulate what we like about ourselves. This is a key component of self-worth and self-love, and is something we are pushed to think about as children but not as much as adults. 

Here is where the Strength-Based Approach comes into play. Thinking about our strengths involves considering what we are good at or what is already going well in our lives.

I like using a Strengths-Based Approach with my coaching and therapy clients because it starts a dialogue around how we feel about ourselves and our self-esteem. If you find yourself struggling to think of anything you do well or like about yourself, this is a huge indication that your self-esteem is in need of a tune-up. Focusing on the positive aspects of ourselves has the potential to be transformational, starting with how we feel about ourselves. 

Why is the Strengths-Based Approach Successful Time and Time Again?

When we are solely focused on the ‘problem’ or what we want to change, we can self-sabotage ourselves by failing to recognize what we are already good at, and how that can help us! 

Every time we remind ourselves of our good qualities and the ways we feel we excel, we get a little boost of those feel-good hormones and brain reactions. It sounds simple, but it’s true. Being positive and focusing on the good can make us happier. Focusing on what is going wrong or on our negative qualities can make change seem impossible and overwhelming. Instead, start focusing on your inner strengths, resourcefulness, and resilience. This way of thinking can create hope and confidence to push on, especially when the going gets tough. Another reason the Strengths-Based Approach is successful is because it can generate long-standing change in how you think about yourself, others, and life events. Looking for the positives and strengths within yourself and others turns into a habit, and eventually won’t need conscious effort.

Focusing on your strengths is about cultivating a positive mindset, and recognizing the resources and resilience you already possess within. Honing in on what you do well can open up possibilities and new strategies that may never have occurred to you if you’re steeped in ‘the problem’, and can open your mind to creative new solutions to try.

Creating a more positive mindset can empower you to push through the difficult times, and even increase your confidence. This occurs as a key part of the Strengths-Based Approach in the idea of resilience, or being able to “bounce back” from difficult times. Resilience also includes being able to overcome obstacles and cope with them, and realizing your own resilience that you possess is extremely powerful. 

You might not believe that you are a resilient person, but you absolutely are and I have proof! You have survived and made it through the difficulties of life thus far. You are here. Now take a moment to reflect on how you did that. Were you able to handle stress well to see a problem through? Were you able to access resources or help from family and friends? Maybe it was your drive and determination that helped you get through those long hours at work and school without giving up. Either way, this aspect of your strengths is essential for building up self-esteem and confidence.

Utilizing your strengths can better connect you to your identity and remind you of who you are, while also building up your self-worth. 

Realizing your self-worth and recognizing your strengths helps your relationships too, such as through enforcing boundaries when needed and helping others realize their strengths as well.

Who is the Strengths-Based Approach For (hint: YOU! And here’s why…)?

Whether your goal is to create healthier habits, improve your relationships, or move up in your job, your strengths can help you get there! No matter the goal and even if your strengths don’t seem related to it, it is all connected and the common denominator here is you.

Since a common New Year’s resolution is weight loss, let’s use that as an example to see how this approach works. If someone feels that a strength of theirs is being kind, we can use that to help them be successful in their weight loss goals. I know what you’re thinking, how can being nice or kind help someone lose weight? Well first, what is being kind? A part of it is being nice, but other parts of kindness might be being considerate, thoughtful, and supportive. 

Instead of using negative self-talk to bully oneself into not eating certain foods or using other “punishing” tactics, why not use kindness to lift yourself up? Kindness in this scenario might be giving yourself grace or compassion if you slip up, but also setting yourself up for success through creating realistic expectations for yourself

Setting yourself up for success might be meal planning for the week, preparing healthy meals or snacks before the work week starts, and going to bed at a reasonable time so you have energy to exercise. You wouldn’t expect someone to jump into a new task without proper preparation and do it perfectly, so why put that on yourself?

Kindness might be having daily mantras of gratitude for how hard our body works and what it does for us every day, and letting that guide our thoughts and behaviors rather than focusing on what our body isn’t or what we want it to be. Kindness could be changing our view on food and nourishment, and wanting to be kind to our bodies through nourishing it with the food it needs and is good for us. 

How you can start using the Strengths-Based Approach today, and practical tips for getting started!

Okay dear reader, here is my advice to you on how to get started harnessing your strengths for success in the New Year! 

Start by sitting with a notepad and paper, and really think a minute about the things you love and value about yourself. Think about the things that have helped you in life thus far, what you think is a strength and sets you apart from others. Write these things down, and then also write out a goal. If you have multiple goals, do one at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself. 

Now look at your strengths and goal together and see where there is overlap, and put your creative thinking cap on to see how you can use your strengths to help you reach that goal! 

If one of your strengths is being friendly and you want to advance in your career, consider reaching out to a mentor or supervisor about grabbing lunch or offer to buy them a coffee to pick their brain about an idea you have. Connect with this person and tell them about your goal, and how you would appreciate some extra support from them in that. I think you see where I am going with this, and the goal and strength combos could be endless. Don’t be afraid to be creative, as you possess the tools and power to create the life that you want! 

Five Practical Tips to the Strengths-Based Approach

#1 Make a gratitude list of things you are grateful for about yourself

#2 Start practicing self-compassion

#3 Set yourself up for success: create a plan, write it down, and leave it somewhere you can see it

#4 Create realistic expectations

#5 When you slip up (yes I said when, because it is only a matter of time before we slip up or miss a goal and that is OKAY people) do not engage in negative self-talk, and remember all the things you successfully did that day or week. There will be times we slip up, the point is to not let that make us give up but to keep going.

Here’s to a happy and successful new year!
Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC




Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

Let's  Talk



Real Help, To Move You Forward


Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.



Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.



Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

Your Needs Matter Too


A Self Care Checklist to Take Care of You

I'm sure you've heard the airline phrase, “Before assisting others with their oxygen mask, please first secure your own.” It's a trite metaphor, but it's true: You can help others more effectively if you take care to secure yourself first. 

I bet that you are meeting the needs of everyone. You are always thinking about the needs of your kids, partner, job, or other important people and aspects of your busy, hectic life. But what do YOU need? 

Self Care is Not Selfish

You may balk at the idea of taking the time to engage in self-care due to the care of others, your career, and the general busyness of your life. It might feel selfish or self-indulgent to focus your time and energy on just yourself. The trouble is that you will become depleted if you do not first take care of yourself. You'll start to experience the common symptoms of burnout that the lack of self-care creates.

Signs You Need To Take Better Care of YOU

When strong, competent people like yourself focus their energy on other people for weeks, months, or years at a time without considering what THEY need… it's not pretty. What commonly happens is that eventually, there is a “break down” that may reveal itself in:

  • Feeling angry and resentful towards the ones you love
  • Unidentifiable “depression
  • Irritability
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Apathy (feeling like you just don't care), and
  • Flu-like symptoms. (Yes, chronic stress and lack of mental, emotional and physical restoration can impact your immune system in very real ways).

Deep, Radical Self Care

As a life coach and therapist who has worked with individuals struggling to care for themselves, I see the pattern: Hustle – Burnout – Anxiety – Repeat. 

This often feels like a perpetual cycle of stress and martyrdom, struggling to stay above the throngs of demands and needs of others that you lose sight of what you need – self-care and self-love.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, I've heard this before.” If you're anything like my other clients, you've read the self-care blogs, and listened to the podcasts. You might have even adapted your diet and exercise to a “stress-free” plan of some sort. 

But superficially skimming over self-care is not enough. To give yourself the kind of rest and restoration you require (notice I just used the word require), taking care of yourself needs to be a priority. Perhaps as much of a priority as taking care of everyone else.

I'd like you to consider the possibility that taking care of yourself may even be MORE essential than immediately meeting the needs of everyone else.

Radical, I know. This may make more sense to you if you understand what I see in my role as a therapist and life coach about the importance of self-care and why you need it to survive. 

The Benefits of Self Care

To feel balanced and to be the best version of you, (whether you're a parent, partner, friend, employee, boss, etc.) you must stop neglecting yourself. 

Self-care has many benefits both for you AND the people who depend on you:

  • Refreshes you
  • Increases your ability to feel empathy for others
  • Makes you more patient 
  • Helps you be more focused
  • Helps you work harder
  • Helps you offer kindness and support to others from a position of strength. 

Especially with my millennial life coaching clients, I often hear: “These are my hustle years, I'll eventually have time for self-care and relaxing, but now is not the time.”

I see you: You are working so hard to do everything, be everything, in the hopes that life will eventually smooth itself out. However, this way of living is harmful to your health, goals, and relationships. 

What's the point of “making it” if, by the time you arrive, you're a bitter, exhausted, physically and emotionally unwell person with no meaningful relationships? Yikes!

Quick, One-Question Self-Care Quiz: Do you ever feel like you are working so vigorously yet not moving forward in any capacity?

If your answer is “yes” this is a crucial sign that you are neglecting self-care. 

Successful careers, lasting relationships, and personal happiness all hinge on your ability to properly take care of yourself and your needs (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).

You are worth the effort to take care of your mind, body, and soul. You are wonderful, unique, and filled with so much potential that you owe it to yourself to look out for your body, to protect your mind, and to nurture your emotions. Yes, “emotional self-care” is just as important as any other type of self-care — sometimes more so!

A Self-Care Checklist For the Overwhelmed and Overworked

There is no one right way to practice self-care. Self-care looks and feels different from person to person. For some, getting away for an entire day of self-focus and pampering is a great way to reset and refocus. However, if this is not realistic for you, I get it. Self-care is not necessarily about going above and beyond to “treat-yo-self” but to incorporate a lifestyle of self-care that is sustainable.

Self-care can look like:

Your Self-Care is All About YOU

There is no standard recipe for self-care, as everyone's needs are different. But you can use the self-care checklist I outlined above as a daily reminder of what you can incorporate into your life to take care of you. 

Having a daily self-care checklist does not need to (nor should it) add more things that feel burdensome or tiring. The point is to look for things that help you feel rested, lighter, and cared for. 

Here's a self-care challenge for you: Commit to practicing self-care, in some form or fashion, every day. This can mean just spending a few extra minutes in the morning doing a breathing technique or trying out a new recipe at dinner time, or even saying “no” (gracefully) and building new boundaries where needed.

Whatever your self-care routine may look like, stick to it. You're worth it!

Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC

P.S. Do you have some (practical) self-care tips or suggestions to share? Leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to practice self-care today!


Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

Let's  Talk

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