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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hi Friends,

I am very excited to be writing about my favorite tips on how to de-stress and maintain life balance. I remember sitting gymnast down with a mentor from University, talking about all my classes, taking the exams for grad school admissions, what I was doing to build my grad school application/resume ect. All of a sudden, he interrupted with the question, “Well that’s all well and good but, what do you do for fun?” I stared back at him blankly as I hollowly echoed the question, “what do I do for fun?” He then proceeded to teach me one of the most valuable lessons I have learned to date, that I’d now love to share with you now, because I know it will change your life as much as it has mine.

In the mental health field, one of our important tools of the trade is a thing called “Self Care”—taking time to take care of you. This is critical to having what we at Samaritan refer to as good life balance. Having good life balance not only helps you to de-stress, but it allows you to be healthier and happier in general. You can think of this as eight pieces of a pie: 1)Social life 2) Romance 3) Spiritual Life 4) Family Time 5) Career or Job 6) Finances 7) Rest & Relaxation and 8) Health and & Self Care.

Too much or too little of any of these eight areas will cause you to have a poor life balance. This may seem like it’s easier said than done to achieve, but we at Samaritan have a great way to check ourselves. Take this handy diagram and give yourself a score from 1-10 (1=poor; 10=great), basing your ratings on the amount of quality time and energy you devote to each area. Be honest! After placing the dots, connect them and look at the shape you’ve created. Ideally, you should have a bicycle tire shape; if not, know that the flat areas are the ones you need to work on. To “inflate” the flat sections of your tire, take out a sheet of paper and take some time to brainstorm ideas of what you can do to help yourself improve.

To me, self care means taking care of all areas of your life. If I had taken this test when talking with my mentor, my social life would have been about a zero. Today, I am proud to say it’s about a 6 or 7. When I was doing my brainstorming, I decided I wanted to take dance lessons. This took me a while to work on, because even though change is a natural part of life, it is not always easy. So, if you find yourself struggling to make a change, know you’re not alone. Give yourself grace and try to do better the next day, always taking it one day at a time. Knowing life balance tips changed my life, so I challenge you to take the bicycle tire quiz and see what it can do for you. Good luck my friends! To learn more, visit these fantastic articles: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/how-clinicians-balance-work-amd-life/ &


Hope and healing,