5 Self-care Tips from The Stability Network

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By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies –


I was recently in San Francisco to support our client The Stability Network with their national membership meeting. The Stability Network is a coalition of people who are in the workforce and open about their mental health conditions. They are working together to inspire and encourage others, and to change the common misconceptions about people with mental health challenges.


The Stability Network takes on the uphill battle of making positive stories of people managing their mental health as numerous as stories of fear and negativity. The Network consists of more than 130 leaders in 70 cities around the world who are trained to tell their stories publicly in workplaces, community spaces, and online.


This work is not easy; it can take an emotional and physical toll. One of the panels that I was privileged to attend at the national meeting was focused on self-care. Self-care is a hot topic in realms from healthcare to business productivity, and for good reason. Studies show that nearly everyone performs better, is healthier, and can better handle stress when they take time for themselves – be it through unplugging on vacation, destressing with a massage, or daily meditation or journaling.


However, for people managing a mental health condition, self-care is more than just something to do on vacation. It’s a daily necessity to maintain their health and stability.


The Stability Leaders at the national meeting are fully committed to self-care and they offered a lot of high-value techniques. I found many of the tips and ways of framing self-care so inspiring and practical that I decided to share them here. Anyone can benefit from this wisdom, no matter where you are on the spectrum of mental health.


1. Self-care is a measure of how valuable you believe you are. I paused after hearing this comment and reflected on whether this is true in my life. I could easily connect the times when I have felt the lowest levels of self-worth with not caring for myself. This piece of wisdom reframes self-care, not as an act of indulgence, but as a way of telling the world (and yourself) that you are someone worth caring for, someone with value.


2. Stop “should”-ing all over yourself. I love this. Many people are plagued by the things they feel they should do or should be. When my inner dialogue starts to rack up shoulds, I take note and pause. While many of the shoulds are positive things – like we should be more active, healthy, or supportive – more often than not, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to live up to a set of unrealistic expectations. These are the bad shoulds that send many people into a shame spiral that can lead to stressful, unproductive consequences. This leads to the next bit of wisdom.


3. Honesty is self-care. Being honest about what you can handle, what you care about, and what you are willing to take on is the best thing you can do for yourself. Often, it is also the best thing you can do for others. Developing clear boundaries and communicating them to the people in your lives will save you from a lot of struggle, stress, and resentment. With clear boundaries around personal needs and capacity, you will be able to say no when it matters.


4. Make decisions based on values. On the flip side, deciding when to say yes can also be a challenge. To decide what to take on while staying kind to yourself, prioritize things that align with your values and that will keep you going when things get tough. If you decide family is a higher priority than living in a bustling urban center, then moving to a smaller town with a better school system could be a good, value-driven decision. Practice caring for yourself by defining your deeply held values and then allow these to guide your decisions.


5. Connect to others for support. No one is supposed to do life alone. We need each other desperately. If you’re the type of person that can’t ask for help, put yourself in the shoes of someone you care about and ask, “Would I want them to handle this alone?” Chances are you wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t have to either.


The national meeting only happens once annually but The Stability Network’s excellent work – and the self-care that goes with it – happens all year long. Learn more about The Network, read their amazing stories, and check out their efforts to help people with mental health challenges thrive.

About The Author

Sara Veltkamp

Sara Veltkamp

Vice President

Sara lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and is Minerva's vice president. She takes a lead role in all aspects of Minerva Strategies’ smart communication strategies and implementation. She loves a challenge and is obsessed with learning new things, from how to use new platforms and tools for storytelling to languages like Amharic, French, or Farsi to mastering a difficult yoga pose. She applies this energy and curiosity to all clients’ communication challenges. Learn more about Sara.