Rethinking Self-Care with Andrea Kartika Deierlein

At the beginning of the year, many people are thinking about self-care, what it means, how loaded of a word it can be, and the importance of meeting ourselves where we are.

Many start out with new year’s resolutions and good intentions, only to abandon them a few weeks into the year. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Change is tricky. It can be uncomfortable. It can feel threatening. Even when change might be good, it can still overwhelm us.

On a cellular level, we change constantly. Our cells and organs renew themselves like clockwork to keep us healthy, well, and functioning.

It is the mind that keeps us in the loop of “what-if’s, could-have’s, should-have’s, would-have’s.” It is a record that plays over and over and we often don’t know where to find the off-switch.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but the only way to get out of this rut to slow down and stop what you’re doing this moment. You can start by bringing your attention to your breath. The gentle in and out of the air coming into your body and leaving your body.

Just because calendar pages turned and we find ourselves in January and 2024, doesn’t mean you “should” yourself into action. Let’s take the pressure off, focus on realistic expectations, and use the lens of mindfulness for a new perspective.

Mindful moment #1

Turn Shoulds into Coulds

Mindfulness is a practice, a skill that can help you become aware of what is going on, internally and externally, without judgment. Mindfulness is to simply notice what is.  

What response does the word “should’ invoke in your body? How does the word “could” resonate with you?

Sometimes a little shift in perspective can open minds and hearts to new possibilities and opportunities. Maybe there’s an invitation to simplify, to prioritize, or to put your well-being, sanity, and serenity first. 

Mindful moment #2

Take a breath and check in with yourself

Feel your feet on the ground. Notice how you are feeling. Is this how you would like to feel for the rest of today? If not, you can change this, right here, right now. Feelings are not facts. A thought is just a thought. Redirect your attention to how you would like to feel instead.

Every breath can be a new beginning. Every moment can be a new beginning. A thought, an idea, a smile, can be the beginning of something new.

Mindful moment #3

Make time for what matters.

Want to know a secret? You'll never have more time. But you can choose where you bring your attention and what you focus on. 

Here's a little exercise to help you bring more clarity:

  1. Write down some of the tasks/ activities that you do in a day. The small and big ones, the mundane and important ones.
  2. Add how much time each one takes you. Sometimes you may be surprised by what you find.
  3. Ask yourself, how important is each of these tasks/activities? This will help you put things into perspective.
  4. Add all the things/activities that you would like to do, but you don't have time for.
  5. Write down how much time you think each task/activity will take you. You may be surprised again.

Just the simple act of getting this on paper, out of your head, is already a huge help in knowing how you can focus your attention.

Change begins with awareness. When we are not aware of what's going on, we just stay on autopilot and continue to be in the same loop. And you know what? You have choices, even though it often doesn't feel that way.

Mindful moment #4

Tune into your body, to get out of your head

Here’s a simple guided 9-minute meditation. Click here to watch the video.

As you listen to the meditation and follow the suggestions, please do not judge or analyze what you are feeling. Just notice your body and its presence. Let it be your anchor. Develop moment-to-moment awareness and over time, hone this skill.

In addition to the above tools and tricks, the Yonkers Public Library have a wide variety of mindfulness programs available that you can see on the event calendar here.

For video recordings of Mindful Monday sessions, check out the Yonkers Public Library YouTube Channel.

Andrea Deierlein is the founder and owner of Thrive Reiki, LLC. She has facilitated over 160 mindfulness, meditation, and Reiki programs at libraries in Westchester County since 2016 (in-person and virtually combined). Her work specializes in helping people transform the pain of life challenges and daily adversity through the practice of Reiki. She helps people struggling with stress, anxiety and overwhelm, to relax, calm down, and breathe again. Focusing on stress management and the mind-body-connection, her clients shift out of survival mode, build focus and resilience. Connect with her on or follow her on Instagram @andreadeierlein

A headshot of Andrea Kartika Deierlein from Thrive Reiki.