The Art of Practice and Self-care
I got really wrapped up in what I was doing, training, counselling and research and was loving every second of it! Until September. September was crucial milestone for me- my dissertation was due for submission; work was busy both contract-wise and with private work-then it hit me…
Two weeks before submission I felt like I was screaming but on the inside. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so lousy, worn-out and on edge. It seems really obvious now looking back, I was doing too much at once.
I took a step back and remembered that I hadn’t had a day off work for 9 months, I’d worked every bank holiday, read every therapy magazine, thrown myself into training to stay current for my clients, diversified for my clients and started working remotely to support them through the pandemic.
It was a huge amount of work and commitment. You may be reading this thinking a number of things:
Why didn’t she take a break?
Why carry on training during Covid?
Why put your clients first?
Why not concentrate on one thing at once?
How is this relevant to me as a reader, potential client or ex-client?
Well, I highlight this story and share a personal experience to let you in on a secret- Counsellors are people too! And like many people we still try and juggle life.
We have a wealth of knowledge and sometimes forget to use it on ourselves.
It’s important to recognise that you’ll learn a great deal in therapy if you decide to take it up, but it will be crucial to also learn when you’ve gone off the boil, when you’ve stopped taking care of yourself and when you’ve slipped back in to old and often bad habits, the ones that were causing you more suffering.
Change is a commitment to yourself and being able to get back on track if you wander off it is as much of a skill as applying the change in the first place. The best thing about therapeutic changes are once you’ve done them for the first time and made them stick, then you’ve already learnt how to do them! You have evidence you can do it and you just need to remember to apply your skillset again and keep practicing.
People can see slipping as failure and failing at life. It isn’t, it just means you’ve forgotten to apply what you’ve learnt and that you’ve neglected your new skillset. Like most things- changes take practice until they become habits. We have both good and bad habits, make sure you rely on your good habits and remember they need nurturing.
I know how to look after myself and I had forgotten and got swept along with life, which is so very easy to do. Once I realised this, I prioritised, I booked a week off and did all the things I enjoy to restore my body and mind, for me. Now I’m energised and more organised again with what needs doing, when and why.
I see self-monitoring and self-care a little like studying: you can read a chapter, grasp it and understand the main points and maybe remember it for a few days.
If you never read it again then it was only useful in that moment.
If you read that chapter over and over, you’ll be able to quote it and use it and debate with it. It becomes part of you.
Leave it 3 months and you’ll likely remember elements but you won’t know it well anymore.
It’s the same with self-care- do it regularly and it will be beneficial; leave it to one side and it will disappear.
You have the knowledge; remember to use what you learn!
Is it time to decide if you need to relearn self-care?