All posts tagged: support

How to make and maintain healthy connections

Are you finding yourself getting clearer right now on who you want to be in relationships with or what you need from the relationships around you?

As I begin to see friends and clients in person, I am acutely aware of what I missed, what I need, and what I want to offer. 

I know how important my connections are to the people in my life because of the distance we had to have between us. I am grateful for the connections in my life because of the immense support I received from colleagues, clients, friends, and family in the last year.

A few weeks ago, I offered you a check-in to assure your personal and professional connections are healthy and supportive on many fronts.

(In case you missed it here you go…)

Perhaps you have found yourself longing for connections in your life that are joyful, supportive, diverse, and value-aligned.

A reminder it is a lot to ask any one person to be all these things for you all the time! We need to continue to cultivate old and new relationships for our well-being.

Today I am giving you a quick set of reminders for how to make and maintain healthy connections in your professional and personal life. 

We can all use people in our lives who have our back, remind us of joy, support our learning, and ensure that we continue to become better versions of ourselves.

May your July bring you healthy new and old connections!

Has this note made you think of someone who supported you in the last year? Send them a quick text telling them you appreciate them!


Are you a leader committed to a more equitable and just world looking for a space away from your current work team to reflect, build relationships, and problem solve?

The next cohorts of Clear Harbor are opening in September! 
Get on the waitlist now before the doors open.

This year there will be two kinds of cohorts.
Cohorts for leaders with a high-level of decision-making authority and responsibility (job titles like CEO, ED and Director) AND cohorts for leaders who lead from within in their business or organization (any job title).

Wanting more support from a community of leaders committed to inclusion, equity, and anti-racism?

Jump on the waitlist and I will be in touch.

Rheanna SmithHow to make and maintain healthy connections
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4 essential human connections we all need right now

Connections to other humans keep us learning and growing.

Healthy human connections provide us with love and support (even in the workplace).

Our relationships to each other can increase our joy, fun, and happiness.

Social connections have been proven to help us regulate emotions, have higher empathy, reduce anxiety & depression and even improve our immune system.*

We need each other.

And we need more than one or two people in our lives.

We cannot be everything to everyone.

And no one person in our life, can be everything to you, or their family, or their work teams.

We need a diversity of social connections and interactions to be fed and keep going.

(Don’t worry fabulous introverts this doesn’t mean you have to be interacting all the time with a dozen other humans either!)

How can you have relationships around you that support your health, and growth as a human?

I made this quick “audit” for you to think about what your current connections are offering you (and you are offering them) and how to have an even greater level of support and joy from the different relationships in your life. 

Check out the video here:

May you have social connections around you that hold you up and support you in all parts of your life.



Looking for a new place to build supportive professional relationships?

Clear Harbor waitlist is now open!

Are you a leader committed to a more equitable and just world looking for a space away from your current work team to reflect, build relationships, and problem solve?

The next cohorts of Clear Harbor are opening in September! 

Get on the waitlist now to get more information when the doors open.

This year there will be two kinds of cohorts.
Cohorts for leaders with a high-level of decision-making authority and responsibility (job titles like CEO, ED and Director) AND cohorts for leaders who lead from within in their business or organization (any job title).

Wanting more support from a community of leaders committed to inclusion, equity, and anti-racism?

Jump on the waitlist and I will be in touch.

Rheanna Smith4 essential human connections we all need right now
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The first hug in a year

I gave my first hug to a friend I hadn’t hugged in over a year. I felt a mix of tenderness, joy, relief, sadness, and distance. The feelings surprised me. I expected sheer delight – I love this person SO much! Instead, I think the hug was exactly what is meant by the word bittersweet. 

I recognized something else in that hug and subsequent first hugs after. My feelings right now are different than I assumed. They are milder and murkier than I expect. I think this is because for the last year, I was not able to have many nuanced emotions.

My mind has been locked down tight. I was focused on attending to the safety and wellbeing of my family and the community. I watched Covid take people’s lives, wellbeing, and livelihood.  I witnessed the racial reckoning of our country with held breath and continued to find what I must do and undo professionally and personally to be a part of ending racism. I observed friends navigating hardships from a distance and did my best to send love. I supported clients in their huge lifts to carry on their missions.

This last year I felt sad, and angry. At times I felt grateful and glimmers of sweet joy. And that was it.

My focus was tight and that was necessary, but it had its repercussions.  

I did not make room for a larger reflection on what was missing.

My spectrum of thinking, feeling, and experiencing was constrained to attend to the immediacy of survival and to respond to immediate personal and societal concerns.

This is not a new thing for humans. We all close in our emotions, and perspective in our daily lives in moments of pressure, trauma, conflict, violence, and loss. 

As tender and quieter thoughts and emotions emerge, I can feel the shape of the cold, exterior container I built to get through the last year. I do not want to be in that container but I know it will take awhile to set it down.

I want to share with you the slow ways I am dancing with the re-emergence of a fuller spectrum of emotions and thoughts. (I am not a trauma-expert, so I am including other resources below.)

You can better see and support others in your work and life, if you tend to where you are emotionally, mentally, and even physically, in this transition.

Here is what is supporting me:

  • I am paying attention to how I am feeling in the moment.
  • I am moving at the speed I can and trying to understand what others may be feeling or experiencing (i.e. go at your own pace and support others in their own pace.)
  • I am building connections with people who can listen without judgement or shame and whom I can offer the same to.
  • I am reflecting alone with walks, movement, and writing. 
  • I am finding moments of appreciation, thinking “I appreciate this… I appreciate you for…” and then letting the appreciation sink in.

The cliff notes:

  • Notice your feelings.
  • Go at your own pace.
  • Know and understand other peoples’ pace.
  • Connect with others who can listen, and you can listen to.
  • Reflect alone.
  • Appreciate the people, moments, the things you can.

Reflection questions to go deeper alone or together:
– What have I been feeling about…
– What am I feeling now about…
– What do I need? What do you need?
– What am I experiencing right now?
– What do I want to take with me from last year?

May you have moments of real connection with others and with yourself this month.


Here are two guides from the past months to support in this continued time of transition:

5 steps for grounding during instability
How to prepare for reopening


Trauma, grief & tending to emotions – a mix of resources

People on Insta for support & resources:
@nedratawwab – Nedra Tawwab
@Alex_elle – alexandra elle

Websites
Self-compassion – Dr. Kristin Neff’s resources & meditations
Cloud Sangha – facilitated mindfulness groups, including groups for people of color and women
Spell for grief & letting go – adrienne maree brown

Movie
The Wisdom of Trauma movie – Dr. Gabor Mate

Books
The Body is not an apology, Sonya Renee Taylor
The Body keeps the score, Dr. van der Kolk
No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Thich Nhat Hanh
Walking each other home: Conversations on loving and dying, Ram Dass & Mirabai Bush
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Nadine Burke Harris

Thank you to my social work colleagues for these resources! 
Have others I should include in my list? – Please send your recommendations.

Rheanna SmithThe first hug in a year
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