This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
7 Jun, 2017

Ask Nicole: How Do I Develop Thick Skin?

By | 2017-06-06T10:02:50+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Have a question you’d like to be featured? Let me know.

While working in direct practice and case management, I had a few clients whom I consider to be favorites. One in particular was a middle-age man who came to the agency for services.

When I first met him, he had survived three heart attacks in one month. He sat in my supervisor’s office, crying because he knew he needed some mental health services to deal with the stressors his body was enduring. On top of that, he was dealing with the heartache of losing his partner. The partner’s family blamed him for the death and subsequently refused to allowed my client to attend the funeral (and they also did not disclose where his partner was buried).

Of all the home visits I conducted, his home was also one of my favorites to visit. He was very hospitable and enjoyed showing off the items in his home. One day, as we were sitting outside in his outdoor office (yes…outdoor office), he asked, “How do you do this? How can you work with people that are desperate for help, who have so many problems?” I gave the usual “I like to help people” response, yet his question stuck with me until the I left the agency.

About a year before leaving the agency, I had a hard time getting in contact with him. As someone who readily responded to phone calls and letters and always welcomed me into his home, he was unresponsive. My letters to him were returned to back to sender, his phone was disconnected, and his health insurance was inactive.

I finally contacted his emergency contact—his mother—who informed me that he had died 3 months earlier from a heart attack. I was in a funk for the remainder of the day. The first thing I did when I got home was cry. I had clients who died before him, and several more who died after, but his death hit me the hardest.

I’ve been asked by a few people—in particular social workers—for advice on developing thick skin when dealing with clients and customers. The training and education you receive in school and during your internships will serve you well, but there will be days where your patience is tested. Here’s my advice on how to develop thick skin:

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25 Jan, 2017

Putting Community in Self Care

By | 2017-01-25T14:58:36+00:00 January 25th, 2017|Categories: Activism|Tags: , |0 Comments

Since going to the Women’s March this past Saturday, I’m more dedicated than ever to fighting for Social Justice, Reproductive Justice, and Racial Justice. And since the March, the Global Gag Rule was reinstated, denying women access to safe family planning, including the option of abortion, the House of Representatives passed HR7 (and if it passes the Senate and is signed into law, it will make the Hyde Amendment permanent), an executive order to reinstate the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipeline was enacted, getting visas to travel to Muslim countries will become more difficult, we’re building walls as security, and our national parks are being asked to remove tweets about climate change.

We have a lot of work to do. That work is going to be draining, and everyone is talking about self care.

But organizer B. Loewe writes, “The problem with self care is that there is an underlying assumption that our labor is draining. The deeper question is how do we shape our struggles so that they are life-giving instead of energy-taking processes. When did activities that are aimed to move us closer to freedom stop moving us?” These are good questions. Burnout impacts how we function at an individual, community, and systemic level, and can result in not only emotional but also physical trauma. The Women’s March, rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and more are life-affirming to many, despite the dismal experiences that lead up to these events.

At the start of 2017, I made a pledge to care for myself more fiercely than I’ve done in the past. More exercise, more healthy eating, more pampering, more social media detoxing, more travel for pleasure. But I’ve been revisiting what I’ve said about self care in the past, and how many feel that it isn’t an option for themselves and their communities, and I’ve been making some gradual shifts in identifying what self care means to me.

While meeting with one of my clients, she shared that she helped organize vigil for communities impacted by the 2015 shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado . In fact, she said that her way to caring for herself is by caring for others as well. Cooking for people, helping around the home, running errands. Things that we normally associate with piling more onto our plates. Caring for others was emotionally fulfilling to her, in spite of whatever struggles she may be  facing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what self care will mean for the women, communities, and organizations impacted by harmful legislation during the next four years. And when I think of what I really want in self care, a massage is far down on the list of priorities (though they are nice). What I’ve been missing in my self care is community, because I’m going to need my community more than ever as I do this work.

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29 Dec, 2016

Try This: Identify Self Care Activities to Start, Continue, & Stop

By | 2016-12-29T15:04:00+00:00 December 29th, 2016|Categories: Self Care Corner, Workshop Design & Facilitation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

 

I recently shared a self care exercise you can use to identify your recipes, remedies, rituals, and resources for self care.

Today, let’s try another exercise taken from “The Revolution Starts with Me!: Recipes, Remedies, Rituals, and Resources”, a workshop I co-facilitate with Adaku Utah.

When I facilitated this exercise a few weeks ago with the staff at Reproaction, I adapted it to fit the organization’s self care needs, rather than have the staff complete the exercise individually. This exercise, adapted from the MS Society of Canada, is can found in our self care zine. If you already have the zine, pull it out and follow along, (or you can get a free copy when you sign up for my weekly newsletter.) Like the previous exercise, this exercise can be done individually or by a staff or group.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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15 Dec, 2016

Try This: Create Your Recipes, Remedies, Rituals, and Resources for Self Care

By | 2016-12-15T12:00:29+00:00 December 15th, 2016|Categories: Self Care Corner, Workshop Design & Facilitation|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

 

I recently attended a staff retreat for Reproaction, one of my clients. During the two-day retreat, I led a few discussions on self care and goal setting in 2017 from an organizational viewpoint.

In particular, I led the staff through two exercises taken from my workshop “The Revolution Starts with Me!: Recipes, Remedies, Rituals, and Resources for Activist Self Care“. This workshop is typically co-facilitated with Adaku Utah, and is tailored to meet the needs of the primary audience. Over the years, the workshop has focused more on young activists as we’ve been asked to facilitate in mostly activist settings, but for Reproaction’s staff retreat, I adapted it to fit the organization’s self care needs. Today, I’ll walk you through one of the exercises. Whether you’re a staff or a group of students, this exercise will work for you, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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10 Dec, 2014

What Do You Do When Self Care Isn’t An Option?

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:01+00:00 December 10th, 2014|Categories: Activism|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde

Today is International Human Rights Day. First commemorated in 1950, International Human Rights Day brings attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all nations.  The 2014 theme, “Human Rights 365”, celebrates the fundamental principle that everyone is entitled to the full range of human rights at all times, that human rights belong equally to each of us, and these rights bind us together as a global community.

Given the pain, frustration, and unrest that have resulted in protests in recent weeks around the United States to bring awareness to the increase of policing tactics against communities of color, the constant attacks on women’s reproductive access, continuous news about hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community, the debates surrounding immigration rights, and countless other stressors on marginalized communities, the state of basic human rights around the world is nothing short of dismal.

As social workers, counselors, and therapists, we are receptacles of our clients’ trauma. We encourage clients to work through a traumatic experience by giving voice to it, but what ends up hopefully being a cathartic release for our clients, leaves us literally holding our clients’ trauma in our hands.

As teachers, agency or nonprofit workers, or community activists, the well-being of our communities is a priority for us. We conduct needs assessments and speak to our students and community members about what needs to change within the school system, agency, or community. What ends up being a positive way for community members to voice their concerns can leave us drained because what needs to change—often at a systemic and policy level—can feel daunting.

When your communities are constantly under attacked, when there seems to be no end in sight, and when your fundamental rights are being taken away, what do you do when self care isn’t an option for you?

When times get tough, I rely on self care activities and rituals that I’ve developed for myself. I mention self care, especially to service providers and activists, because I believe that you can’t raise your voice for others if you’re not able to care for yourself.

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