How this therapist self-cares
I recently had a fantastic session with a client who discussed her ways of self-care and I was inspired. Her techniques were easy, simply and effective for her. As I reflected more on this, I realized how important my coping strategies were for me and how simple the act of self-care can be! Yet I also know how hard it is to get past the barrier of perceived notions of what self-care looks like for people.
I sometimes wonder what people think when they hear or read the word: Self-care. I've heard varies reactions as a therapist whenever the subject is brought up in session: "Agh, ain’t nobody got time for that!” or “Great, something else I need to do!” or "I hate meditating!" or "Self-care sounds pretty selfish".
Self-care simply means something that connects, grounds and supports you. That’s it. Self-care is something that add positivity to your life and chances are you are already doing something like this, you just didn’t realize it.
To give you an example, here are some ways I take care of myself to be a better therapist and person. I use these self-care beauties daily, yup daily. My examples may not work for you because you aren't me. It's important to figure out what works for you!
I am a gentle riser. I need to slowly move into my day. I struggle with alarm clocks and waking up early, so I set my alarm clock 20 minutes before I need to wake up so that I can move slowly, not worry or feel rushed.
My first sip of coffee is my favorite. I give myself at least 2 minutes, standing in my kitchen, savoring the hot cup between my hands, looking out my kitchen window and allowing my mind to become more alert in the silence of the morning.
I walk. I have a husky and if she does not get her walks every day, she will stare at me, with an unblinking demand (like she is right now, not kidding), to be walked. Yet I love it too! It gives my body a chance to wake up and move into the day. I always feel 10% happier throughout my day if I took time to take a walk.
I run too (not every day, but a few times a week). Recently, since I started my private practice and become a business owner for the first time, I realized the importance of not allowing my stress to overwhelm me. And nothing feels more refreshing than a run along the American River Trail to cope with my stress, which gives me the freedom to relax my mind and take active care of myself.
Listening to music. For a while there I got lost in podcasts and audio-books, which are great and fantastic resources and distractions, however I noticed that my mood was better after listening to music. I now switch back and forth from an audio-book to music. But it’s mostly music now.
Texting a friend or calling someone I love. So simple! Who would’ve thought connecting outside of social media could be so effective and amazing?!
Doggies! I believe that dogs are magical and can make you feel loved, even at your worst. At the end of the day, after I’ve set my things down, I walk straight to my girls (dogs) and play with them. I touch their fur, kiss their cute faces, hold them and ask them about their day. This eases me back into being home and connected with my family.
I kiss my partner. It feels good to feel loved or be seen. My job demands that I focus and stay present for my clients. So my focus is a little scattered when I come home and because of this, I set an intention to connect with my partner through touch such as a hug, kiss or snuggle on the couch as we watch our current fav show "24 hours in Hell with Chef Ramsey", my spirit anger management guide.
Sounds simple and straight forward, right? Self-care doesn’t have to be foreign to you because chances are, you already do it! Now take some time today to re-connect with yourself and see what you do for yourself everyday that makes you feel grounded and good. And if you finished reading this and realized how little time you spend nurturing yourself, maybe now is a good time to start! Start with one act of self-care a day and give yourself room for more to follow.
**This is my husky, Sierra! She will gaze into your soul until you cave with mushy delight to whatever she wants. Her power of irresistible cuteness is unstoppable.**