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Reflection is so important for self care! Think of it like this, if you can’t feel the broccoli in your teeth then you better find a good reflective tool to show you the florets between your teeth. Just like a mirror- a spoon, your dinner date, or the little metallic apple icon on the back of your phone, you need a few little mirrors to help you remove things from your life that are hindering your growth or slowing your progress to the things in life you really want.

Tool #1 : Journaling

Journaling is my biggest reflective tool. Journals are mostly inexpensive and you just need you, your book, and your pen. You can use your phone with a notes app or you can get out looseleaf paper. Maybe you already have a planner or a notebook you used for one thing and didn't need it anymore.

I like a good half page journal with wire rings for easy maneuvering of the pages. You can also get something a little more durable and sleek like a classic Moleskin. I know some people say they "don’t write" but the truth is there are so many other ways to journal. Journaling can be a collage, a planner or a list with lots of details and tabs for organization.

I talk about all of these journaling techniques in my 1:1 coaching which you can find here if you're interested. But I have been known to use my phone for journal notes and camera for photo logs.

Being able to go back and look at who you were and what state you were in at a particular moment can be really helpful when you start to notice patterns in your moods and life cycles. I’ve actually started leaving little notes for myself, small things to remember when certain moments or feelings come up.

Tool #2: Meditation

Meditation is an amazing tool for reflection, though not the easiest at first. Per Google, to meditate is "to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation." And yeah, it’s the silence part the gets me too but it helps to have a little music or a guide. I tend to use a lot of guided meditations and usually use meditation music for going about my business in calm or sitting peacefully for a few moments in the morning.

Using free apps and programs while you're in bed or while you've got a few minutes before the kids get back from practice. On my days off I like to make a whole moment of it, light some incense and burn a few aromatherapy candles.

I have also found that having a meditation pillow to sit on makes meditating for longer periods of time much more comfortable. If you want to get started there are a bunch of FREE beginner meditations on youtube and just about any other music platform.

Tool #3: Support Groups

We’re lucky to be living in such a time where reaching outside the home and immediate family for mental and emotional support is losing the stigma of only being for broken people who need extensive help or who have been court ordered.

I know several people who have found compatibility, emotional support, and lasting confidence from their peers and the camaraderie found in small support groups. Whether it’s and AA meeting or an ALANON meeting, a church singles group, or a weekly meet up, groups are a great way to get to know people who you can potentially connect with on a deeper level. Their stories in relation to yours will be like bright flashing lights drawing you into yourself for a better look. You're going to resonate with people who have been through some of the same experiences. You'll be able to reflect on their experiences and connect your own dots with their sharing and profundity.

Tool #4: Good Friends

My friends are the best and the worst for this. Best, because I’ve made a habit out of befriending a diverse group of people, I enjoy their perspectives and I love the experience and wisdom they bring to our friendship table. They’re the worst because while they are all very very different people, they have one thing in common, brutal honesty. They tell the truth, their truth, even when it hurts.

Good friends, let’s be honest, are not going to look at you objectively. They typically have their own projections and expectations for and of you but they can at least tell you what other people see. Perspective is really nice to have when you’re trying to get things accomplished. I know I'm a loving person and I shouldn’t care what others think of me but if my best friend never tells me that the way I seem to victimize myself all the time or bulldoze others in conversation, I may not ever know why the boardroom is never on my side or why people avoid me like the plague when it comes to group work.

A good friend is an honest friend and an honest friend is a good mirror.

I hope you’re able to use these tools as I have to build lasting relationships with myself over the years. Good reflecting means you have a good view of the things you want to change in order to move to the next level of your life.

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