Self-care is a hot topic these days and many of us feel like we should be doing more of it. Yet, the last thing we we need is another “to do” on our list. In this episode, Dr. Robyn Gobin and Diana talk about why self-care is more than just pedicures and bubble baths. Dr. Gobin shares her personal experience with self-care and strategies you can put into practice today. So, practice some real self-care and take a listen!
Listen and Learn:
‧ The 6 domains of self-care
‧ Why “listening in” and mindfulness are keys to physical self-care
‧ How Dr. Gobin is working to change the narrative around self-care and mental health in communities of color
‧ How to use “Emptying The Jug” to tend to your Emotional Self-Care
‧ How Dr. Gobin practices self-care on her busiest days and what Diana is doing for self-care before bed
‧ Simple strategies for therapist self-care
About Dr. Robyn Gobin
Dr. Robyn L. Gobin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is a nationally recognized expert on interpersonal trauma, women’s mental health, and the cultural context of trauma recovery in the African American community. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon and completed internship and postdoctoral training at The National Center for PTSD, Brown University, and the San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs. Her latest book, “The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful Solutions to Manage Stress, Reduce Anxiety, and Enhance Well-Being” aims to change the narrative around mental health and self-care in communities of color and teach people how to incorporate self-care into their busy lives in a sustainable way. Dr. Gobin serves on national and community boards and committees, including the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnicity, Culture, and Race. She is the recipient of the Judy E. Hall Early Career Psychologist Award from the National Register of Health Service Psychologists and a Citizen Psychologist Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association. To learn more about Dr. Gobin, visit her website at www.robyngobin.com or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.
To learn more about her book and purchase your copy, visit Amazon or www.selfcareprescriptions.com.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of Psychologists Off The Clock. We appreciate your feedback. Please take a moment to leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcasts. It helps us spread the word to more folks like you!
Robyn Gobin 0:02
Regards to changing the narrative of self care mental health is this idea that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself and to be in tune with what you need.
Diana Hill 0:14
You’re listening to Dr. Robyn Gobin on Psychologists Off The Clock.
Psychologists Off The Clock 0:27
We are three clinical psychologists committed to cutting edge integrative and evidence based strategies for living well. On this podcast we bring you ideas from psychology that can help you flourish in your work, parenting relationships and health. I am Dr. Diana Hill a practicing in seaside Santa Barbara, California. I’m Dr. Debbie Sorensen practicing in Mile High Denver, Colorado. And from coast to coast. I’m Dr. Yael Schonbrun, a Boston based clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Brown University. We hope this podcast offers you ideas for how to live a full and meaningful life. Thank you for listening to Psychologists Off The Clock.
Diana Hill 1:06
This is Diana here and today we are talking all about taking good care of yourself. And one of the things that Debbie and I were thinking that the best way to take care of yourself is meet up with us at the upcoming mindful outdoor retreats event that’s happening on October 19. At Good Land Organics Coffee farm. It is a day jam packed with self care. So everything from when you arrive, nourishing your body with some fresh juice from local farms and some coffee that was grown right there at the farm, to participating in some psychological flexibility. workshops with Debbie and myself. Some yoga and gentle movement, walking through the farm mindfully and then ending the day with a really magical sound healing. If you haven’t done sound healing before, have you before Debbie?
Debbie Sorensen 2:00
I have not I’m so intrigued. I can’t wait to try it.
Diana Hill 2:04
Oh, it’s amazing. It’s sort of gets you in that Twilight space where you’re totally completely relaxed, but kind of floating a little bit. And all these sort of unusual sounds are happening around you and you want to open your eyes and figure out what he’s doing. But keep your eyes closed and just take it all in. So we hope that you will join us on October 19. And there is a special promo code for those of you that are listening to the self care episode to get a discount that you want to tell them about it. Yes, if you just enter the code, self care all one word, no dashes self care, we will give you $25 off your registration. So let us know that you listen to this episode and save some money. Go ahead and sign up at DrDianaHill.com D R D I A N A H I L L dot com and it’s going to fill up folks so sign up soon.
So Debbie and I are recording here midday. 12 o’clock my time one o’clock. Your time we thought seen some clients tackled some kids getting them out the door. How are you doing Debbie with your self care
Debbie Sorensen 3:10
it’s tough on a Tuesday a busy Tuesday. I’m it’s a mixed bag. I think I’ve I woke up before my alarm stressing out and instead of doing a walk or yoga stretches or mindfulness, I kind of just started getting stuff done so that maybe there wasn’t a lot of room for self care. I just felt busy. Yeah, I did. Notice some things happening with my body at one point and I did stop and slow down I went to the bathroom. You guys talk about this in the episode when I might not have normally noticed. I stopped and actually asked you if you could postpone this for 15 minutes so I can have time to take a lunch break, which actually I don’t think I would have done yeah, wouldn’t have been for this. I think just the thing I noticed was tuning into my body and recognizing when I needed a minute to just take a break. That’s not all I’ve done. To be honest, though, Diana,
Diana Hill 4:03
Actually, you asking for those 15 minutes was the gift of self care, because when you said that I was running right up to the hour, which I shouldn’t have been. But I was running up to the hour with my soup supervising this post talk. And it was 12 o’clock, I got that text. And I was like, thank goodness, she asked for 15 minutes, because now I can make a cup of tea. So that’s where it also helps other people out when we care for ourselves. It also passes the ball to them to care for themselves.
Debbie Sorensen 4:28
And it’s funny because I was worried that you might be like, Oh, no, I have to rush off but it actually worked out fine. So it’s a good thing I asked. Yeah. How about you? How are you doing on this busy Tuesday with your self care Diana?
Diana Hill 4:41
So Debbie, it’s actually more ordinary for me to be struggling with self care than not. And the tendency that I tend to get in to in my work day is just the go mode without without doing the pauses. I took a few minutes between one of my clients I usually like to move between But with this one I went in, like sat in my chair out in the sun, and just took three breaths of sunshine. So I feel like that was a good, helpful self care move and making that cup of tea was nice, no little micro things, but they matter.
Debbie Sorensen 5:17
They they do matter.
Diana Hill 5:19
They were on the heels of this a big self care move, which was seeing each other in Denver and seeing our group of psychologists, that’s something that we do. know every few months, we try and get together. And for me, that’s like a big inoculation shot in the arm of self care.
Debbie Sorensen 5:36
There’s something so important about social connection and meaningful relationships and carving out time to really spend with people that you care about. That can be a really big self care move. And we’re not talking about just adding one more social event to your calendar. We’re talking about carving out time to actually make it special with intention and to really connect.
Diana Hill 5:58
We have a leader of our path Who is so good at this and we were giving her some of this feedback when we were meeting because she’s always planning ahead of when we’re going to meet up again when we’re at our meeting. And it’s, it’s actually it’s sort of like planning a date night with your partner. If you don’t plan it, it won’t, it won’t happen. So I so appreciate her for doing that and keeping it on our radar. This is something that’s really important to us that we want to keep going. And I think that’s the same thing with self care. Sometimes it does require a little bit of planning and intention around it.
Debbie Sorensen 6:31
And what was funny about this particular meeting that we just had is that we made a dinner reservation for 4:45 PM, we’re in their early bird special.
Diana Hill 6:41
We’re like 80 Yeah.
Debbie Sorensen 6:43
And the reason we did that was because one person in our group has a baby and that just worked better for us. And so we set some clear self care around that we chose an environment that felt relaxing and nourishing, healthy food quiet venue early in the evening so that we could take care of ourselves in that way,
Diana Hill 7:01
I think that we’ve gotten over time as a group more comfortable with expressing our needs to each other and really welcoming them and wanting to not only care for ourselves but care for each other and caring for themselves. So that example with the baby is a perfect one. But all of us have sort of special needs when we meet up as a group and Debbie know about whenever we stay together. Sometimes we’ll go to like a place out of town and it’ll be a hotel and I’ll stay in a separate room because I have a special need around sleep that I really really really value my sleep whereas Debbie you always like to be part of the group and you’re in the chat it up until the middle of the night crew
Debbie Sorensen 7:43
is my fo mo my fear of missing out Yeah, I won’t leave the group room so why stay in a separate bedroom.
Diana Hill 7:51
I go into that separate bedroom and I enjoy my quiet
Debbie Sorensen 7:55
Why that speaks to the individual difference when it comes to self care and I love that about this episode. That sometimes it can feel like Oh, I should be doing more self care. And we might have certain ideas of what that means that, you know, means you’re supposed to be doing certain self care activities. But one something that feels nurturing to one person may not for another person.
Diana Hill 8:17
Yeah, it’s more about tuning in and listening. And then being able to communicate that to others, and hopefully save others that can hear that.
Debbie Sorensen 8:26
Something else that Robin gobind talks about in this episode is, as therapists practicing what we preach, and I don’t know about you, Diana, but sometimes I do. And I find that my work as a therapist really helps me put things into practice, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes there are things I work with my clients on and then I struggle with myself. And I’m not always probably doing the things I’m talking to my clients about. And an example of this for me would be recently would be related to sleep habits. I work a lot with people on their sleep, I think it’s really important to address There are times in my life when I do a pretty good job of my own sleep behaviors. But then there’s also times when I’m pretty stressed out and they sort of all the things I know about sleep habits sort of go out the window. And so how about you, how’s your How are you doing with self care around practicing what you preach?
Diana Hill 9:18
as a therapist, a lot of the things that you’re talking about with clients are, you know, wishes or ideals or, and, and I think actually, it’s more helpful to not be in that ideal realm both with ourselves and with our, with our clients and being more flexible, about the reality of what life really looks like. And I sometimes I feel like there can be this setup in the therapy room where the client is thinking that you have it all together and that you’re doing it like that you you know, wake up at five and you go to yoga and then you you know, have your perfect breakfast and you do your perfect therapy and then your perfect parent and and then and then at the end of the day therapist, you’re saying, and I’m not practicing what I preach, because I’m not all those things. And that’s just not the real world. The reality is, is that sometimes we yell at our kids, or sometimes we fall short with our health habits or sometimes. You know, we’re just not super mindful. And, and that’s okay.
Debbie Sorensen 10:19
Right? It’s not all or nothing, and we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to always be doing these things. But when we find that we’ve gotten into some, you know, habits that aren’t really sustaining to us or that aren’t in line with our values is a good time to kind of remember. Remember what’s important? Yeah, and carve it out.
Diana Hill 10:37
So today, we have on the show an expert in self care that I’m really excited to share with you. And Debbie, you heard about her in Dublin. Is that right? When you were at ACBS conference?
Debbie Sorensen 10:48
Yeah, someone just mentioned this book, the self care prescription. And I made a note of it and I thought we talked about self care on the podcast sometimes, but we haven’t really explored what that means and I think there’s some misconceptions around self care. Yeah. Sometimes To me, it starts to feel like a should or it’s supposed to look a certain way. And I think Robin in this interview shows us that it’s, it’s a little deeper than that actually, and it can be a bit more flexible.
Diana Hill 11:16
Mm hmm. So Dr. Gobin. She’s a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and she’s nationally recognized expert on not only self care but on inner personal trauma on winning women’s mental health and the cultural context of trauma recovery in the African American community. She received her doctorate from the University of Oregon and then went to do her internship and postdoctoral training at the National Center for PTSD at Brown University and the San Diego Department of Veteran Affairs her latest book which is the self care prescription, powerful solutions to manage stress, reduce anxiety and enhance well being Really aims to change the narrative around mental health and self care in communities of color, and teach people how to incorporate self care into their busy lives in a sustainable way. So we hope that we give you some specific strategies. In this interview, we talked a little bit about our own self care practices, and failures. And I really hope that you take this episode and to some good self care for yourself. That’s our wish for you.
So welcome, Dr. Gobin.
Robyn Gobin 12:34
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited.
Diana Hill 12:36
I think the topic of self care is probably a pretty hot topic right now. And I was actually talking to Debbie a few days ago. She said, Well, that’s what I really need. I’m so glad you’re doing this interview I need I need more self care. We need more of it. But at the same time, we don’t we also kind of feel guilty that we’re not doing it. So you talk about how you define self care such as pedicures and and bubble baths.
Robyn Gobin 13:01
Yeah, yeah, I really think about self care is being able to ask yourself the question what do I need most right now I’m we’re on a kind of soul or soul level, like what do I really need the most in my life right now. And then having the courage to give yourself what you need in that moment. So self care can include bubble baths and pedicures. But I think in order for it to be something that is really nourishing and sustainable for you, and actually recharges your battery, sometimes it needs to go a little bit deeper than bubble baths and pedicures. So I think it’s really about giving yourself the things that you need and sometimes that’s not comfortable. So I think another misconception that’s out there about self care is that it’s all fun and you know, and light but sometimes self care can look like reaching out for help. If you’re struggling or could look like, you know, going to a doctor’s appointment that you’ve been putting off, but that you need to go to. So it’s not always fun. But at the end of the day, it’s what you need to keep you healthy and balanced in your life. It’s sort of it seems like it’s what we do for our kids, you know, in some ways and actually of, of caring for them, even though sometimes they don’t want to be cared for in that way. I want to clean out my scratch. That really hurts. But that’s actually caring. And if we don’t clean it out, it’s actually not practicing care. So, but I think sometimes it’s hard to turn that around ourselves and we have so many competing demands. so busy. Yeah, I think that is really a challenge where you know, we have so many things pulling for our attention and they all seem urgent and like they need to be done right now. And so it can be very easy to put your own self care on the back burner because you’re constantly putting out fires for work from your home life or maybe from your social life. So it is definitely a challenge to find that balance and really take that time away for years.
Diana Hill 15:11
So how did you come to this work personally for you?
Robyn Gobin 15:17
Yeah, so it was really from a place of knowing that, you know, as a therapist, we always will, you know, tell our clients things that they need to do for themselves, but then finding that I was kind of slacking in certain areas of my life as far as taking better care of myself. And so I made it a goal for myself to really prioritize myself here and not to put it on the back burner because I was on the verge of being burnt out and just like really feeling like something was missing from my life. And so I went on this journey of how do I incorporate self care in my life in a sustainable way and doing it and all these different domains of my life. And so I’ve just found that as I’ve been continuously working towards this, that it’s improved my quality of life has improved my sleep at night. Um, it’s just helped me to feel more connected and show for my health in a different way. And so I’ve been really proud of that ability to continuously show up for myself and take care of myself so that I can do the things that I do for work or for family. But do it in a way that is making sure that I am good before I’m pouring out into other people.
Diana Hill 16:35
I think that four people in the health at the helping professions, so whether it’s teachers or nurses or mental health workers, it feels so natural to give and want to care for people. And sometimes, what I struggle with personally, and I think a lot of people in the helping profession struggle with is guilt. And yeah, there’ll be times when I’ll be sitting in my office, and I really have to go to the Bathroom but a client? Are you going past that? 15 minutes. And I’ll just Okay, I’ll just hold it because they’re crying and I need to be there for that. But at the same time moments of I could practice little self care here, but I’m, but I’m not guilty. How do you how do you with yourself or with with clients?
Robyn Gobin 17:20
Yeah, I mean, I would just say like in that situation that you gave him to use the restroom, I would think to just be authentic and just say, you know, I really want to be with you right now, as you’re, you know, expressing this. And I’m noticing that we’re coming to the end of our time, and I really have to, you know, get prepared for the next session. So I’m wondering if we could take a moment to wrap up and make sure that we come back to this at the next session. Yeah, and I think I love that you gave that example too, because I was recently telling someone and I am teaching the semester and Tuesdays are just back to back teaching and Office Hours. And I was telling somebody this semester Tuesday’s my self care might just look like going to the restroom like giving myself permission to leave my office or just go to the restaurant battle be myself here because I can’t fit into that. And I think it’s important to for people to realize that that is okay, that your self care may look different on different days depending on what demands you have on you. And as long as you’re doing something small is not insignificant, just small.
Diana Hill 18:31
Mm hmm. It’s really linked to that listening in the sort of wise in and checking in what, what our body needs, what our soul needs. It was funny because I was I was talking to a friend of mine about self care, and she said, yeah, it’s like acupuncture. You know, my acupuncture appointments. And of course, My mind went to, oh, yeah, I used to do acupuncture, I should be doing acupuncture. She said, You know, I just stopped doing acupuncture. Because it was so much work having I felt like I had to go there twice a week. And it was. And so actually for her self care was stopping or something like that. And it’s it’s, it’s not like a cookie cutter.
Robyn Gobin 19:10
No, yeah, that’s what that’s what I love about it is that you can personalize it to your own needs and in different stages or seasons in your life, you’re going to need different things. And it’s important to be aware of that and be willing to make those modifications and a huge piece that I talked about in the book is also being able to say no, which is similar to what you’re talking about with your friend who had to, you know, stop going to acupuncture. So sometimes the most self compassionate thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of certain things, certain habits or certain appointments or what have you, that are really kind of causing our stress and getting in the way of us feeling whole in our lives.
Diana Hill 19:57
You talk about six different domains of self care in the book, which I really appreciate it because you tap into some that you don’t really always think of as being something like the domain of intellectual self care, the six domains, and intellectual self care spiritual, emotional, social, vocational, and physical. And maybe we could just walk through some of those domains that you talked about in the book and some of the strategies that you suggest.
Robyn Gobin 20:26
Diana Hill 20:28
If we start with social that’s actually kind of an interesting one that as social creatures, part of our self care is connecting, how does it How does it What does it look like to practice social self care?
Robyn Gobin 20:40
I think it really is about not isolating yourself when we are struggling in life. I think a lot of times our impulse can be to pull back from family or friends or social connections, and that’s really the time that we need more support. And so social self care looks like nurturing the relationships that You have in your life, maybe even reviving some relationships, and then also potentially letting go of toxic relationships that are kind of taking something away from you and not adding as far as quality to your life. And so that’s really what social self care is about is deepening those connections that you already have, or perhaps developing some new connections, and then being willing to let go of any relationships that are no longer serving you.
Diana Hill 21:29
One of the challenges that I see with my clients, especially clients that are more in the like, mid 30, 40 range is that they long for maybe more social connection, but it’s harder to do when you’re at a school or you’re out of these structured environments that set them up for you, especially if you work independently. Yeah. How do you help people with that?
Robyn Gobin 21:52
Yeah, so some things I talked about in the book or like kind of being willing to go out in and find those things and being a into creatively thinking about how can I create new social connection? So one that I talked about is meetup groups and perhaps getting on a meetup group just showing up for a group that has a common interest that you’re interested in? Or perhaps, you know, saying yes to invitations with colleagues happened to be going out. So you work in office and they talk about going to happy hour doing other things, perhaps going to those and being open or going to places like restaurants and or going to museums, things that you’re interested in, and perhaps you might run into someone who has a shared interest that you have and then may open so kind of spark that conversation, I think are some ways but definitely getting creative. Like I know there’s tons of Facebook groups that you know, have shared interest around something specific and thinking about how might you be able to reach out and connect with people in that way, because I think in person connections are super important. But social media connections can also be very much life giving and nourish, if they’re consistent, and if you feel like you’re really being able to be vulnerable with that person. So being very thoughtful and just creative about how you go about finding those social connections,
Diana Hill 23:25
and I think that’s where some of the ACT skills can be helpful because for a lot of us, that may be something that we want to do or that’s aligned with, okay, that’s how I want to grow my my social connection, but it’s pretty scary to go down a group and there’s a lot of, I think, social anxiety or worry about what people think. And I think that’s where ACT can be and I know that you’re an experienced act therapist as well and something that you use with folks when you talk about some of this committed action towards
Robyn Gobin 23:56
Yeah, definitely talk about you know, taking The anxiety right along there with you as you’re moving in the direction of your values and engaging in that committed action, because it really is hard. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that how difficult it is. And it is just easy to make friends, particularly when you get 30 year range and beyond. Because there’s other demands that you have. And so really thinking about, okay, how can I make this happen in my life in a way where I’m not just waiting for my anxiety to subside before I decided to do this. And also, I’ve talked to clients about maybe getting an accountability person to do things with you. So if you’re wanting to go to a meetup group, maybe they could go with you the first time a friend that you have to kind of ease the transition and make it not be so awkward the first time that you go to something like that.
Diana Hill 24:53
Yeah, there’s things that maybe are a little bit outside of our comfort zone. I think this relates to play. Yeah. There’s this new group in Santa Barbara called yoga dance magic, where people meet up at the beach and they put on headphones, and they do yoga, and then they end the class and like a big dance party.
Robyn Gobin 25:12
Oh, that sounds amazing. Sounds amazing.
Diana Hill 25:14
And it sounds like something that I was thinking, Okay, that’s really outside of my comfort zone. But it could be really fun. And the only way I could do it is if I could rope somebody in to go with, you know, and then we do it together. And then it feels it just feels more doable. Yeah, I guess that would be a self care move in a couple of different domains until enough, you know, physical as well as, you know, play and social.
Robyn Gobin 25:40
Yeah. And I think that’s so important is doing what works for you. Because I think sometimes, clients that I work with have gotten caught up in Well, I should just be able to do it by myself. And what’s wrong with me because I won’t just go by myself and it’s like, no do set the parameters up in the context of so that it will support you and doing what you need to Do for your self care and don’t judge yourself harshly for needing that accountability or needing support, you’re doing something that’s hard. And that’s new. And it shouldn’t be easy for you. So it’s understand it’s understandable that you’re having a tough time and just be willing to do whatever you need to do to help you prioritize that level of self care.
Diana Hill 26:23
Hmm. Let’s talk about vocational self care, because you read in the book that 51% of Americans who work full time are not engaged at all. So the portion of us are feeling kind of blah. We spend so much time there. How do you work with people and getting practicing self care in this domain?
Robyn Gobin 26:44
Yeah, one of the huge things that I talk about is blooming where you’re planted. So really trying to find because I think a lot of times people are in some way not satisfied with the job that they have. I don’t feel fulfilled by it, or it’s just not their ideal career. And so I’m really thinking about how can you make the most out of this opportunity that you have, even if it’s not ideal employment situation for you? So maybe thinking about how can you utilize the skills that you’re developing to help build another area in your life? So if you’re someone who’s doing a lot of marketing, and advertising in your job, how can you take that on to do advertising and marketing in that area or arena that you really care a lot about. And so looking at this job that you have as a mechanism for getting you to the next level that you want to be able to get to in your life. So using that skill set to develop that in the job that you have now, and looking forward to how can this skill set that I’m building in this job kind of propel me for to maybe getting into my dream career and then I can use that those skills and generalize them that I learned on that previous job to my dream career. So basically helping people to see the silver lining, I guess, would be the summary and the and the job that they currently have. And in being willing to kind of think creatively about how to use that time wisely while you’re in a situation that you can’t necessarily change.
Diana Hill 28:25
Yeah, it makes me think of sort of the periphery proliferation of side hustle right now where people have have their job, but then they’re doing this thing that sometimes this podcast is a side hustle. But what what I’ve noticed in doing the side hustle is it actually energizes my work kind of feedback on to each other. So sometimes I’ll work with clients around that and think about you know, maybe someone that works in HR that also really loves yoga. How could she start up a you know, teaching a yoga class at lunch or, you know that and then you start to then actually could potentially turn into your next career but it also just may enhance the career that you’re in. necessarily that like getting more creative and and pursuing the things that bring you joy at work.
Robyn Gobin 29:13
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s so important because a lot of times people just feel kind of trapped because we know that we need the job for the financial security, we have to pay bills, but you just kind of feel like you can’t see the other side of that life. So yeah, definitely. You’re getting creative about how can I make this job kind of work for me
Diana Hill 29:37
About physical self care, because actually think that’s one that most people think about when they think about self care is caring for their physical bodies. And this is also where you talk a bit about play and listening in, share a little bit about how inner awareness is involved in in facilitating, this is a self care?
Robyn Gobin 30:01
Yeah, I think a lot of times I, as a mindfulness teacher, I talk about this a lot how we are so adaptable as humans and can go into autopilot on almost anything that we do habitually. So you know, going to work or driving or all these habits that we develop, where we can just do it on autopilot and not really be aware of what’s really happening in the here and now. And I think that happens with our physical bodies that we can just kind of push them to the brink in the, in some ways disconnected from what’s happening in our bodies, because we can train ourselves to just continue to move forward when we’re when we may be need rest. And so one of the things that I talked about in the book is, is sleep and being able to get enough sleep and how that is so important and integral to you being able to function on you. Your job or your family life with other responsibility that you have. And that’s something that we underestimate, because we have seen that we can kind of, you know, do all nighters, and we can not sleep in and we can function, but it’s about how are you functioning. So if we can listen to that inner voice that’s telling us, hey, I’m exhausted and I need some sleep. And if we can be kind enough to give ourselves that, that is an act of self care, even though we may have to live some things on our to do list, stay on done for that day, you’ll be better able to tackle that the next day, if you can listen to those inner signals of exhaustion or, or feeling tired and really kind of give your body what it needs to be able to fuel you to the next day.
Diana Hill 31:44
Yeah, I think as a parent, we’ve all seen that, you know, moment when maybe a kid gets to that point of wired and tired where you’ve pushed past the point of being free and then you’re just wired and run it. They’re like running around the house and it’s nine o’clock, and it’s I think that happens for us too. And we don’t catch it early enough on in that chain of events that I’m tired right now. And this is actually the time that if I were to listen to that I could go to sleep and wind down and fall asleep. But instead, we pushed into that wired and tired mode, and then we put ourselves to bed, and we can’t fall asleep. Yep. Our mind is going, Yeah, yeah.
Robyn Gobin 32:22
And then we can’t win, then we have to get up super early the next morning, which also impacts our mood and just the energy level that we have throughout the next day. And so it is the cycle, but it’s really about that’s why I advocate for everyone. I’m totally a mindfulness lover. And I feel like it’s so important in so many ways. And I think one of the main things that it gives us is this inner attunement for ourselves to really be able to pay attention and catch those early signs signals of what do I need and what’s going on for me because a lot of times we have things happen and we’re like, Where did that come from? Why did I lash out in that way? or Why am I so irritable today? And it could just be as simple as like, did I eat today? Have I eaten? Or did you know did I get a good night’s restless night and sometimes it can just be those kind of basic foundational needs that we all have as humans that can help us to be better in our lives and perform better.
Diana Hill 33:23
I had this this yoga teacher that taught me I guess in Ayurveda, they do a lot of foot boiling, boiling and a lot of it can be sesame oil or coconut oil that you rub into your feet and rub into your hair. And she has the most like beautiful feet up and she said you know every night What I do is I oil my feet I give myself a key oil by my bed or you know lotion, my bed and I give myself a foot massage and I think my feet and then I climb into bed and I started this little practice before bed, it takes two minutes and you keep the you know Keep the material by your bed, so you remember to do it. And it feels so just sweet of checking in with our body before bed and saying thank you to these feet that have been, you know, walking us around all day running us around. And it’s I think some of those little moments are, even though we don’t always think them are also part of part of self care.
Robyn Gobin 34:22
Definitely, yeah, just to have that gratitude. Yeah, that’s a whole nother area for self care. As far as really appreciating our efforts and appreciating our bodies and what they do for us, we can be so critical sometimes of ourselves, but being able to have that gratitude for the things that our body does do for us and also for the things that we have right now. Because I think in our society, which is very much success, you’re always trying to get to the next level. We can downplay some of the successes that we’ve had in life, and just be always focused on what we don’t have instead of appreciating the plentiful blessings that we do have in this moment. So that’s also something that I talked about in the book to that I think has a really nice payoff for our ability to just feel content in our lives.
Diana Hill 35:17
What are some of the self care practices that you do that you’ve adopted over this time?
Robyn Gobin 35:23
Yeah, for me, it’s been a practice to have meditation in the morning. So I have quiet time in the morning where I meditate. And then I might do some reading for personal development and prayer. In that really is a nice morning routine that sets me off on a nice track. And so this is in contrast to what I used to do, which was you know, pick up my cell phone first thing when I woke up and start checking email we’ve been while laying in bed and start kind of planning for the day but I find that kind of just putting
And really checking in with myself and really grounding and centering myself at the beginning of the day gives me the fuel that I need and to really do all the things that I have to do on a given day. So that’s one that’s been super important to me another that’s been super important is meal planning, no prepping. I’m just for the week because it’s so challenging. It’s so tempting to just kind of get takeout when you have it planned appropriately. So for me, I really use the time on Sunday or Monday that I take to no PrEP is a time when I’m really just pouring into myself and kind of giving my future self a very nice gift of not having to think about what you’re going to eat this week or, or for lunch every day. And so that really has helped me tremendously just to kind of take that off my plate during the week by planning meals and preparing them on the weekend.
Diana Hill 36:59
That’s a good example. When that may not feel good like you know put oil on the side but actually is so kind to yourself because when you’re running out the door being able to just grab that container out of your fridge or you know have that plan yourself upon returning home. Yeah, such a sweet gift. Thank you sell for doing that for me.
Robyn Gobin 37:20
I know and I say to myself, in the middle of the week when I have one I’m like shout out to my past self who gave me this gift because I really appreciate it and you’re right, it’s not always fun like this not the activity that I would you know, say I want to be spending my precious weekend doing but it has the payoff for me and the rest of the week so it is well worthwhile to take those few hours.
Diana Hill 37:50
You also talk about emotional self care and in your book and I know that you’re a trauma specialist and I’m wondering how how that would look especially for people that have experienced trauma in their lives practicing emotional self care.
Robyn Gobin 38:05
Yeah, I think one of the ways to practice emotional self care that I, you know, preach to my clients day in and day out is validation of your emotions because so many times trauma survivors have gotten the message whether it was while growing up or during the traumatic event or even after this traumatic event that their emotions are somehow invalid or that they are you know, doing too much or they’re too expressive. And I just like to really teach people how they can give their so give themselves the validation that they need for their emotions that given what they’ve experienced their emotional response Make sense? And it’s and it’s very much valid given their background and what they’ve experienced in teaching them how they can acknowledge those emotions and actually make room for those emotions because our emotions do come to teach us something or to alert us to something that needs attention in our lives. And so being willing to be present with those emotions and allow them to do the work that they need to do through us and with us, is I think a really nice gift that you can give yourself just validating your own emotion and not you know, shooting on yourself about having an emotion or or saying that you know, I just need to white knuckle it and get through this and not feel anything, I think is ultimately does more harm than good. So I like to teach people how to, you know, be with their emotions skillfully and really to acknowledge their emotional experience and I think when you make space for your emotional experience, it takes you off the hook of trying to make it different or, or get rid of it or just try to numb out
Diana Hill 39:53
I had a supervisor early on when I worked at a treatment center and she was her background was psychodynamic and psychodrama and she taught this this really simple skill that I still use with myself when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed. And it’s either verbally with a partner or a writing exercise where you just go down the list and you start with what Am I mad about? And you just spew What am I mad about? What else am I mad about? Your partner just says and what else are you mad about? What else are you mad about? It’s called emptying the jug. Done like until you have every single mad until you’re like, and I’m mad. There’s ants in my kitchen. Totally at the end of it. All right. And then you go to what are you sad about? And you empty the jug that there and then you and then what do you what do you scared about? And then finally, what are you glad about? And it says zero problem solving in it. And there’s I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s CBT or what but for me, it’s just really powerful as you’re talking about to just go in and let yourself feel all this when most of us have something we’re mad about right now. Something we’re scared about something We’re sad about and a lot of things we’re glad about. And getting that full range, that beautiful, full range of emotional experience. And you know, just, you know, a lot of times we compartmentalize it or you know, shove it away in a corner somewhere.
Robyn Gobin 41:14
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that’s so important to allow ourselves to feel those emotions. And then I guess the piggyback on that once we validate our emotions and make space for them, learning how to give ourselves self compassion. So I recently went to a mindful self compassion, group experience and that was just amazing. kind of think about giving yourself compassion when you’re suffering emotionally. So when you’re feeling emotions that are hard to feel, how can you nurture yourself and remind yourself that you are not alone and experience suffering, and really give yourself what you need in the in the face of suffering and I love mindful self compassion, because the goal of Giving yourself compassion when you’re experiencing those tough emotions is not to change the emotion or make it go away. But goal is just giving yourself nourishment and being kind and be gentle with yourself. Just because you’re a human being who deserves to be nourished and to be and to be catered to when you’re experiencing suffering. So I love that practice because there’s, there’s no end game that you’re trying to get to us so you don’t end up feeling like you miss something or that you did it wrong. Because really self compassion is just all about giving yourself that love that nurture is when you are experiencing tough emotions or perhaps when you make a mistake or fall short of some expectation that you have for yourself.
Diana Hill 42:46
Now, another expertise you have is in the area of self care in communities of color, and I’m wondering, what are some of the strategies and approaches you use for communities of color and practicing self care as well as changing sort of the narrative around self care and mental health?
Robyn Gobin 43:07
Yeah, I think one of the big things with regard to changing the narrative of, of self care and mental health is this idea that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself and to be in tune with what you need. I think a lot of times particularly with African American women who are we’re with a lot there’s this kind of Superwoman complex and we feel compelled that we have to be all things to everyone. And we can’t take time for ourselves because if we do then that means that we’re falling short on our commitment, our response, stability to the other people in our lives. And so I like to really talk about is how to find sustainable ways to take care of yourself and to really change the narrative because a lot of times that Superwoman complex is generational and families were grandmother do this and mother did that. Now I’m just kind of taking the torch and now I’m doing this thing for myself and, and and taking on this kind of Superwoman role that then needs to take care of everybody else but myself. So I like to have those conversations around. What will this mean for your children if they if your daughter kind of takes on this role and continues to go down this path of just not taking care of themselves, and we can draw conclusions about, you know, how that ends up impacting us physically, and psychologically and emotionally. And so helping them to find little pockets throughout the day where they can take time for themselves because it really is a challenge to incorporate self care into a busy schedule. Some people are literally running from the moment that they get out of bed until they come home and hide and go back to sleep. And so it’s about finding small pockets of opportunity, whether it’s just even a one minute breathing practice or whether it’s just going for a walk on your lunch break. finding something that can hope to support you in the midst of all of the the things that are on your plate.
Diana Hill 45:09
Yeah, absolutely. And the business factor i think is a big one because when we’re busy we don’t it’s harder to pause and look at the direction we’re going in. I think it was an Stephen Covey talks about before you start climbing a ladder, you got to look at what wallets against, oh, we get so busy, we just are climbing and then we don’t realize we’re going really fast in the wrong direction. And that that I think so the practice of self care is like giving yourself the space to pause and look at what what wall is my ladder against, is this where I want it to be. And, and then and then climb as opposed to just going, going going and there’s something that’s so reinforced about being busy and going fast. That it’s, it’s, it’s also going against the current there that it’s okay to take a moment Decide for yourself?
Robyn Gobin 46:01
Yeah, exactly. I’m reading a book now. And they, the author talks about, you know, business has become a sign of social status where people think, well, you must be important because you’re so busy. And a lot of people are kind of going after being busy because they want to feel important, and they want to show that they, you know, are in high demand, but how that works against us in so many ways. When we don’t have that time just to really know who we are anymore. We’re spending our lives on automatic pilot, and not really checking in to see like, what goals Am I chasing after? And are these really in alignment with what I value and what’s really important to me, or have I somehow kind of gotten confused and internalized someone else’s value system that doesn’t really fit for me,
Diana Hill 46:54
That business is a sign of social status, and I think closely linked to that have a sign of value. Now is, is how many connections you have. So how many people are you connected to on Facebook or Instagram? And that that gives you actually it’s kind of a currency, whether or not you’re going to get your book published or your workshop accepted. And I think it contributes to, again that feeling of I need to go out and get more and more and more out actually looking at is this actually helpful to me? Where I feeling satisfied in my life? If I’m so busy trying to get more connections? What am I missing out? That’s, you know, on my plate right now. So if you were to give some advice to therapists around self care, what advice would you give therapist because I know you’ve you’ve traveled this path yourself?
Robyn Gobin 47:46
Yes, um, I would say for therapists is really important that we practice what we preach, because I know off their fists are telling their clients to take good care of themselves, and so find balance between work and home life. But I think again, you mentioned this earlier, when we are drawn to helping professions and serving others, it can just be a natural tendency for us to put ourselves on the back burner. So I would say for therapist is really about thinking about how you can create margin in your life and, and taking time off. I think one piece that’s been really freeing for me is this idea of it’s okay to not work 24 seven, it’s okay to you know, maybe have a day that you don’t check your email. And the email will be there waiting for you. When you get back with the, you know, your life will be over. So I think taking time to take breaks is super important. And I also think, particularly if you’re a therapist who’s working with a challenging population or a population that could potentially lead to burnout or lead so compassion fatigue is super important to think about. about creative ways where you can kind of stagger your your clients, if you will, so that you don’t have five trauma survivors in the world and a given day. Or think about ways that you can create those little pockets so breaks for you throughout the day. So maybe setting up your schedule, so we’re not scheduling someone during the lunch hour, and you’re really taking that time to eat in and really pouring into yourself and, and as we talked to clients about getting to know yourself, knowing what hobbies you might like, or what type of music you enjoy listening to and making that a part of your daily routine, but I think for therapists The main thing is making sure that we protect ourselves against burnout and compassion fatigue by pouring back into our souls creating margin in our lives, and being willing to make tough decisions. When when necessary, like one of those can be dropping your caseload down Something that’s more manageable for you or not, you know, taking on that extra client even though, you know you would appreciate it financially, but kind of thinking about what costs costs they may have for you, in your own mental health. If you continue, I,
Diana Hill 50:17
I have a group of psychologists that are good friends and one of them particular I’ll contact her and say, you can be so proud of me. I reduce my number of clients again this week, you know, because I’m trying to I’m always trying to get it down into this manageable range that allows for some breathing space. Yael, who’s our one of our co hosts, she’s practicing to practice the Sabbath and watching her do that and times that I we forgotten and we’re like, trying to pull her in to work on something and she’s, like, I’m really trying to not be on technology on this day has inspiring and encouraging for me and so I think that’s the other thing is that when we Practice self care for ourselves. It’s a gift to the people around us. Yes. And it’s it’s giving that message of I’m doing it and it’s okay for you to do it too. Oh, no more practicing over busy, you know, cramming it all in and actually can harm other people because other people feel that that’s the expectation that you have with them, too. So whether we’re employers or we’re supervisors, or we’re colleagues, encouraging each other in this practice by doing it for ourselves,
Robyn Gobin 51:27
yeah, you give other people permission to take care of themselves when you take care of yourself, because we’re always kind of teaching other people even when we’re not speaking, just by living our lives, people are watching and fly. I mentioned that practice what you preach to your clients because they also pick up on how we’re behaving and what we’re doing and how we’re living our lives. And that can be a nice way to model for them what it looks like. Take care of yourself.
Diana Hill 51:54
Yes. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Gobin. We will link to your beautiful book. It’s in compact and it’s compact and jam packed. I really enjoyed it and we’ll link to that on our website as well as ways to connect with you. And just really, it’s been a delight to have you on and thank you for sharing your wisdom around self care.
Robyn Gobin 52:16
Thank you so much for having me ever be appreciated our conversation and wish you all the best.
Psychologists Off The Clock 52:24
Thank you for listening to Psychologist Off The Clock. You can find us on iTunes, Facebook and Twitter. This podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for mental health treatment. If you are having a mental health emergency, please dial 911 if you’re looking for mental health treatment, please visit the resources on our web page. Our website is www.offtheclockpsych.com that’s www dot off the clock psych dot com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai