Self-Care While You Are In Therapy
In yesterday’s blog, I discussed what a client might expect from therapy. One suggestion was to make a commitment to yourself. I’d like to expand on this point so you can increase counseling’s effectiveness. If you have been in therapy before, your counselor has possibly referred to self-care or “taking care of you” while you are working to improve your mental health. Perhaps this idea seems like a luxury in the pace of modern day life. Of course there are barriers to self-care. Most of us have families, careers, friends, aging parents, young children, or teenagers who demand our time.
And, time is limited. It seems as if there is never enough of it to meet our responsibilities. So, self-care can be challenging, but it is also part of investing in your general health. You may ask why it is so important. A person is a complex system. You are a complex system.
Physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual imbalances are interdependent. If one area is unbalanced, the likelihood is that another area may also be unbalanced. When you are in therapy, you are working to heal. Healing requires support and that is essentially what self-care provides. When practiced regularly, self-care begins to create an environment where healing can occur.
Where do I begin? What do I give my self?
The Gift of Time: A friend of mine once told me, “I protect my time, because it’s limited and once I’ve used it, there is no more.” There are twenty-four hours given to us each day and it is our choice the way in which we spend it. Furthermore, it’s our decision who and what we prioritize. As part of your work in therapy, identify what is important to you and include those people and activities in the allocation of your time.
The Gift of Nutrition: With so many ‘diets of the moment’ it is difficult to know what is true about nutrition and again every person is unique. Your friend may feel great on a gluten-free diet while you need whole grain in yours. The bottom line here is to begin with the foundations of a nutritious diet and then customize it to your body’s needs.
The Gift of Exercise: Regular exercise is important, but the most beneficial type is unique to the individual. I believe exercise should make you feel better, not exhaust you. Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop and choose a less strenuous activity. Movement is important to our overall health and your body will let you know what is or isn’t working!
The Gift of Positive People: Many of us have been in unhealthy relationships. For some, it’s why we may be in therapy. It is vital that you find people who believe in you, who encourage your growth, and who bring you joy. Find and develop these relationships!
The Gift of Fun: Life is full of responsibility and laughter can ease the impact of stress in our lives. What makes you smile, giggle, or laugh hysterically? Discover the activities and people that bring out the fun in you!
Making the investment in therapy hopefully begins with a commitment to improve your self and/or your life. And, self-improvement is an admirable goal that yields benefits to you and those you love.