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Court reporting and motherhood: Self-care

By Denee Vadell                                          

1. The first step: Make sure to practice self-care while wearing the many hats of court reporter, captioner, CART provider, scopist, proofreader, videographer, mom, dad, chef, housekeeper, caregiver, teacher, and more. Realizing that “I am doing an amazing job under these unusual circumstances” is the first and essential step in practicing self-care.

2. Practice gratitude first thing in the morning: Keep a gratitude journal and add to it every day. Write down or think of three things you are grateful for first thing in the morning when you wake up instead of reaching for your phone. Doing this will set your intentions for the day. Notice all of the good in your life every morning. It can be big or small. Saying “I get to” instead of “I have to” will drastically change your mindset. I get to cook a hot meal for my family. I get to wake up in the morning and go to work.

3. Affirmations: Write your affirmations down and post them somewhere in your house that you will see daily. I post my affirmations above my coffee maker in my kitchen so that I read them every single morning as a reminder of how strong I am and how amazing I am doing. (Yes, I need my cup of coffee every day. This is a judgment-free zone!) I suggest posting yours somewhere you visit first thing in the morning, e.g., bathroom mirror or wall, mirror in room, desk, laptop, car. Some of my affirmations: I feel wide awake and fresh. I have the willpower to make healthy choices and get a workout in every day. When I plan, I have more time for work and play. I create good habits through consistent actions. I am disciplined. I am attracting everything I need to be successful in my businesses and in my life. I am enough.

4. Do something you have never done before: I participated in an eight-week Unleash Her Power Within workshop with a national speaker who works with Tony Robbins. Following that program, I immersed myself in a four-day virtual event called Unleash The Power Within with Tony himself. It was a total game changer for me. During this four-day event, more than 12,000 of us immersed ourselves in self-care, self-love, self-discipline, transforming life patterns, altering habits, and eliminating limiting mindsets and beliefs. I felt empowered and inspired after the program to live up to my full potential and to play full out with everything that I want to do regardless of how scared I am or what mood I was currently in. We can’t let our current mood dictate our lives. 

5. Prioritize taking care of yourself: Make time to work out at least 3-4 times a week. Yoga, pilates, strength training, cardio, and HIIT training are all great ways to stay in shape and you can do them all at home with a simple Google and YouTube search. Eat better! Your body is truly your temple. Try to meal prep and eat only what you cook. Buy healthier alternatives and watch how your mood and energy drastically change. Drink half your weight in water. If you weigh 160lbs: drink 160/2=80 ounces of water a day. Benefits of drinking water: weight loss, clear skin, regularity, and increased energy. Since our brain is mostly water and we use our brain at a high capacity during work, drinking water helps you focus and concentrate better and keeps you alert, which is basically our job title. Last but not least, please just buy the shoes!

Buying the shoes will have you strutting around your house and your office with confidence. Confidence leads to happiness and feelings of self-worth, quality of life, quality work, and boosts energy levels. Doing all of the above will have your skin glowing, energy pumping, and hair growing and shining. You will be shouting from your rooftop and struttin’ around your workplace with confidence in your new shoes, shouting “pandemic where?!”

6. Limit your screen time and decrease ocular strain: Limit watching the news and limit social media time. If you feel overwhelmed while on your phone, tablet, iPad, watching TV, that is your sign to log off. When you feel that way, it’s time to take a serious self-care break. Go for a walk, light a candle and take a bath, take a nap, meditate, or exercise. 

7. Take a mental health day and check in with your thoughts to reflect: I like to do something called a “brain dump.” I take all of the things floating around in my head, and I dump it onto a piece of paper; you know, all of those things that you say to yourself: “I will remember to do this.  How could I forget?” and then you forget? Writing it all down relieves your brain of all that unnecessary pressure and stress, aka brain fog. We were not made to remember it all. That’s what we have planners and calendars for. When you brain dump, write it all down in no particular order. My brain dump looks a little something like this: “Take Julian to practice at 5:30 p.m. Don’t forget the ketchup at ShopRite. Finish all appeals by May 11. Email NCRA bio and headshot. Call mom back. Schedule dentist appointment. Finish shirt order by Sunday.” From here you can put them in order and prioritize them and/or put them in a calendar. I like to make daily lists and then check each one off as I get them done. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when checking things off my list. I make a top three nonnegotiable list to get done that day, and the others are bonuses so that I don’t put too much pressure on myself. 

8. Find a hobby: Painting, creating, writing, photography, sewing, starting a new business. These hobbies can become lucrative, and you can make some extra side money.

9. Recognize you are not alone: You are not alone in your pain. I read somewhere that pain shared is half the pain, and joy shared is double the joy. Make the time and effort to connect with those you love in a safe way. If you love and miss someone, call them and tell them. 

10. Seek help if you need it: Never feel shame if you are too overwhelmed and feel like you are drowning. It’s OK to not feel OK. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to a friend, neighbor, therapist, family member and tell them how you are feeling. You never know who is suffering in silence and may need you to reach out to them too.

Denee Vadell is an official reporter from Edison, N.J.