It’s interesting for me to observe that some of the work I have completed in the last few years in preparation for studies actually falls under the category of self-care. Self-care is now just a way to prepare for studies though, but it also turns out to be a key responsibility for a therapist. I came across the term and related tips in multiple episodes of counseling podcasts already, but now that I am studying it, I realise I need to take my self-care habits to the next level. I
Initially, this is what I thought I am or should be doing:
Caring for my own mental health:
- Work effectively, improve my work processes and habits so that I can always have enough time to rest
- Keep positive habits going: practice gratitude, fun, positive outlook on life, focus on the good stuff
- Meditate and treasure the simple moments of peace as they all add up to a unique experience of fairly balanced life and shape resilience skills for harder times
- Practice creativity – not just in terms of arts, but also making things, gardening, photography, or simply doing new things
- Maintain healthy relationships – nurture friendships, treasure good moments, resolve conflicts asap
- Learn to fail and be kind to myself – simply say: it’s OK, I am OK (I call this a mental hug to myself)
The above stuff is what we read and hear about mostly nowadays. Now, if you look at the Wikipedia definition of self-care some of those points are covered but I have not considered my physical health at all! That’s probably because I am fairly healthy and mostly strong, even though my idea of exercise equals lifting up a book to read or going for a dog walk. Not much more. And so in the light of my need path into the therapy would I really need to reflect on all areas of self-care one can imagine. Pinterest is full of ideas for self-care tips and categories but I think the model below is most efficient for me.
I will have to include the self-care habits as one of the tracks of my studies, something I need to consider in all areas of my life. Otherwise, I will not be prepared for the overwhelming responsibility of supporting my future clients effectively.