The phrase “self care” can be interpreted as doing something boring or unproductive because you are too weak to do what you really need to do. Quite the opposite! Self care is really doing what you enjoy in order to keep yourself going strong. Here are a few guidelines that I follow in my own life to keep myself well and present for my clients, my family and myself.
1.) Listening to my body: Because I suffer from hypoglycemia and am on a strict diabetic diet, I keep very aware of what my body needs. If my sugar levels are dropping, I quickly take care of it. It’s not a chore or a burden, but instead something that I do to feel good and be a more effective therapist and nicer friend. Many of my clients have seen me reach for a protein bar mid-session. With a little or no explanation, we just keep on going. No problem.
2.) Listening to my emotions: I know the limits of how much I can handle hearing in a given day. When I tap into what my experience is at the end of a day, I make a decision then about how to recharge. It can be peaceful or it can be fun, but it’s always enjoyable. Sometimes I choose being alone and quiet, going for a walk, getting out and meeting people for dinner or other times it’s just watching some Netflix. Whatever you do, it’s important to find what works for you. Not everyone likes to run and that’s ok. Not everyone likes to write and that’s ok. As long as it’s healthy, do what works to help you recharge.
3.) Creating transition times: This has been one of the most difficult ones to figure out, but also the most helpful! I schedule in time to transition into and out of “work mode.” A few hours before my first client of the day I begin thinking about the clients I have on the schedule, reviewing past session notes and penciling in new thoughts. It proves helpful as I can enter into sessions feeling prepared and focused. I also NEED transition time out. I hardly ever plan events directly after work and if I absolutely have to do something, I make sure I have ample time to adjust. I feel better internally if I can be “all in” wherever I am and this is how I have found success.
Take these tips and make them yours. Be well!