Brian O’Shea: Practicing Self-Care

TPAS member Brian O’Shea, MAAP, CAI is Vice President of Public Relations at New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center, located in Opelousas, Louisiana. Brian is also an interventionist, a sober coach and a highly regarded public speaker. At the recent TPAS Spring Collaborative, Brian led an inspired session on self-care, which was so well-received that we’ve asked him to share more about the topic today.

It’s my pleasure to share with you my self-care practices. This list is a prototype, but life happens also – so an activity that I target to accomplish three times monthly may happen once during a hectic month, but five times during a less hectic month (if such a thing surfaces again 🙂 ). I also think that it’s important to point out that it’s not in God’s plan that I have children, which provides me with more time for self-care than those who are blessed with children. If reading this inspires you to consider new options for your practice, then I’m grateful to be of inspirational service.


    • SLEEP – my practice always begins with my sleeping and respecting my sleep hygiene – which includes turning off electronic media of all kinds – completely unplugged – two hours prior to targeted sleep time
    • DIET – is of great importance. I’ve been GF for over six months – and it’s helped with breathing, mindfulness, reduced cloudiness and asthma. I’ve made no headway on Haagen-Dazs – it’s a character Flaw (If you’re wondering, I’m old school – chocolate or chocolate chip).
    • MINDFUL WALKING – generally 10 to 15 minutes – on a great day, 20-30 minutesat least once a day. I choose green space when possible, but I travel frequently and I can attend to this practice anywhere. It’s a careful and mindful walk and I work on breathing – an extra beat on the inhale and exhale.
    • COMMUNICATION – on social network in morning – my Facebook community is filled with people in recovery and treatment world. I enjoy the birthdays every morning – if it’s someone that I don’t know very well, try to get to know them a little more on their birthday. I’ll spend extra time looking at their photos and reading their recent posts. This sense of connection is important because isolation is addiction and depression’s greatest ally.
    • PRAYER AND SILENT MEDITATION – I do this very simply, where I ask for guidance.
      Throughout work, I try to take a moment where I go back to my breath
    • MEETINGS – I regularly attend various 12 step groups. I’ve been blessed with wonderful home groups and I average 4 meetings a week. I travel, but continue to attend wherever I am.
    • READING – I’m an obsessive reader. I make sure that at least one of the books I’m reading is positive and spiritual – but I also read suspense and detective novels simply for pleasure. FYI – I’m currently reading The Power of Grace: Recognizing Unexpected Gifts on Our Path by David Richo. And another book that I’m fond of lately is Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up by James Hollis.
    • DEEP MEDITATION – sometimes, 1.5 hr. – maybe three times per month – a mini retreat. This is a priority for me because I was traumatized as a young child and healing touch is key for trauma survivors.
    • VACATION – I try to regularly take some vacation.
    • TECHNOLOGY HOLIDAY – I’m a firm believer that we are unaware of all the ways that the new technology is affecting us and that it’s a healing practice to unplug – at least three breaks per year – generally 4-5 days at a time. To do so takes advance planning – and believe me, I do have a freak out period sometime 2-3 days in, but once I come through that, the flowers are brighter, the air is a little saltier. Again, not having children – and having a partner with whom there is great independence – are contributing factors that makes this a bit more doable for me.
    • COMMUNITY GIVING – I try to be involved in something outside of my career – where I can contribute to a different sort of community. It’s a big target for me this year. I’m working on it and it will be community-based, outside of my field, where I can become part of the other world. It gives balance.

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