Self-Care Guest Blog by Erin

Hi! My name is Erin Horn and I’m excited to be the guest self-care blogger today. I’ve been with 1N5 since summer of 2018 and I primarily work on our youth programs and prevention and wellness trainings. As I have grown along with 1N5, my knowledge around wellness has also expanded and grown. I am forever grateful that the work I get to do daily, allows for me to learn and reflect on how I can take care of myself in the healthiest way possible. The first 33 years of my life, I have learned about the importance of eating healthy, moving my body, and getting enough sleep. At no one point had anyone talked about how to keep my brain well–other than through medications and therapy (both of which I am also a huge proponent of!) 


In her new book Brene Brown says, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language.” While Brown is referencing language around different human emotions, I have come to realize I needed language around what ARE the ways we take care of our brain health or mental health? Especially when I am a working-mom with 3 young boys (7, 5, and 2). 


Enter in the work that I get SO excited to share with all that know me–and I’m sure it is no shock to my coworkers that will reference this. The Sources of Strength Wellness Wheel. As a visual person, I need an easy image to help me reflect on what I need to do each day to attend to my wellness or mental health. Through my training, I have learned about the expanded definition of each part of this wheel and how it impacts my overall wellbeing. 


When I am feeling stressed, I reflect on this wheel and ask myself “what do you need right now?” Sometimes I need to tap into family or friend support and physical health so I go on a walk and talk to a friend. Sometimes when I am feeling extra negative or in a funk, I find one way I can be generous. For example, the kids and I were having an OFF day so I piled everyone in the car and we drove through the Starbucks drive through and got cake pops for the boys and for their good friends. We delivered the cakepops to their friends and it brought joy to all of our faces. We talked in the car about how we can change our moods if we find simple ways to be generous. Other times, I tap into my spirituality by focusing on my breathing to help me calm my mind. I can do this at work, while driving, or when the kids are running all around. My favorite place to breathe is laying under our 100 year old tree in our front yard and looking up at all the branches–deep breaths while focusing on my own spiritual beliefs. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite healthy activity: netflix and napping in my bed! My kids know how much I love napping/sleeping to the point where on my kindergartner’s “Things About My Mom” he wrote: “My mom loves sleeping.” Healthy activities are so much more than heart health–it is really the healthy activities that bring you joy, help you calm down,  let you release, or distract you. 


I encourage you to think about and reflect on how you can tap into some of your strengths during the day. And instead of saying self-care maybe we can call it community care? As I heard Dr. Shawn Ginwright (also on Brene’ Brown’s podcast) say, “If I’m sick, we’re sick.” Taking care of myself is in fact taking care of my community. And as my good friend Brene Brown says, “It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”