Flight attendants give us the best advice.  In the event of an emergency, first put the oxygen mask on yourself before beginning to help anyone else.  Too often, our instincts are to care for others before we care for ourselves.  Whether an emergency or not, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be in the best position to help others.  During February, Summit Psychological Services focuses on Random Acts of Kindness.  It’s our way of encouraging you to find small moments, minor acts, simple steps you can take to pay it forward as you treat others with kindness.  

What about random acts of kindness toward yourself?  Making sure you’re putting that proverbial oxygen mask on first...each day this month!  Could you dedicate a month to treating yourself the way you deserve?  And knowing that dedication will ultimately help you be the best version of you for the others in your life.  Therapists will often ask “what is your self-care?”  In a busy world riddled with stress and schedules and commitments and relationships- daily self-care can be that Random Act of Kindness you need to make it through the day, the hour, the week!

Stress

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What can you do about stress?  Mindfulness is far from a new concept but has gained traction in recent years, particularly as schools are embracing its competencies and teaching kids’ mindful practices.  You can learn breathing techniques that might help you during intense moments of stress.  One strategy is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique that includes all of your senses.  Right where you are pick 5 things you can see, pick 4 things you can touch, pick 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.  Trying yoga, taking a walk or listening to a guided meditation are all mindful strategies to hopefully help with stress.  I like the app “Insight Timer” for guided meditations.  Go to the gym, get that long overdue massage or decompress under a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good book.

Schedules

Did you know there are 168 hours in a week?  So, when we say we don’t have time, what we’re really saying is that we don’t have the time to make something a priority.  In February, could you try to find the time?  Look at those 168 hours and subtract work and sleep.  See what you have left and keep subtracting.  Be honest and see if you can find some time in each day JUST FOR YOU.  Schedule yourself care.  Self-care doesn’t always have to be fun- schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning or find time to go to the car wash.  Schedule your summer vacation, a dinner with friends or schedule yourself to spend an hour walking around Barnes and Noble or watching a show on Netflix.  There are 168 hours in a week, and YOU deserve some of those hours.  This is your month to give it a try!

Commitments

Oh, the commitments.  There are those we just can’t avoid- usually having to do with work.  This month, can you consider if there are commitments you CAN avoid?  Those that no longer add value to your life, interfere with your 168 hours in a week in a negative way and only trigger your stress and negativity?  We sometimes hold on to commitments out of habit but this month you’re creating new habits!

Relationships

The most important relationship is the one with yourself.  Love yourself, be proud of yourself and treat yourself with kindness.  Surround yourself with others who can help with that.  Text or call that friend.  You know the one.  You can go months without talking and not miss a beat when you finally catch up. On the drive home, call a family member you don’t talk to so often simply to say hello and check-in.  Spend time with friends- only those who bring out the best in you.  If you’d like to expand your circle of friends, use this month to take a step in that direction- attend a social event, join a social app, put yourself out there!  

Spending time with a therapist is an amazing example of self-care.  Taking a few moments to read an article like this is too!  Google will offer you plenty of lists of self-care activities, big and small.  Some might cost (going for a manicure and pedicure) and many won’t (light a fire and read a book you checked out from the library).  If you’ve gotten this far, it means you’re really thinking you deserve some self-care. I agree.  So, during February, offer yourself a Random Act of Kindness each day.  You could go so far as to list your self-care acts in a calendar to help motivate you and keep you accountable.  Remember- YOU deserve it.  Pledge to secure your mask first!

Psychologists Jeffrey S. Kahn, PhD, MAC, CGP, DABPS, and Alison W. Johnson, PsyD, had a vision.

They imagined a center where New Jersey’s most skilled psychotherapists—from all disciplines of applied psychology—could work under one roof. They saw a warm, welcoming, supportive space for individuals, couples, families, and groups of all ages. They pictured a communal environment that fostered counselor-to-counselor consultation and collaboration, and a spectrum of creative, innovative services.​

Most important, they envisioned a place where people could not only heal their psychological wounds—but also learn how to achieve their goals and live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Transforming dream into reality, Drs. Kahn and Johnson established Summit Psychological Services, P.A. in 1992. SPS has since grown to become one of the largest, most comprehensive private psychotherapy practices in New Jersey. Our Summit and Montclair offices have served thousands of people from northern and central New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, Warren, and nearby counties); New York City; and Eastern Pennsylvania.

As an SPS client, you benefit from the best of all worlds: the comfort, privacy, and safety of a trusted therapist’s office; a wide range of services; and the depth and breadth of expertise offered by our multi-specialty team.

Summit Psychological Services offers two locations: in Summit at 482 Springfield Avenue and in Montclair, at 94 Valley Road. To reach us, contact Information@SummitPsychologicalServices.com or call 908-273-5558.