Today, I woke up exhausted and drained.
Working in a “giving” profession has a lot of up’s and down’s all of which inevitably take a toll on your body. In my years of schooling and training, I have learned the importance of self care. What is self care you may ask? It is the practice of actively and consciously taking steps to replenish your soul. I thought in grad school that this practice would be easy. Little did I know that being in the field as a therapist working with children all day,
turning off my brain is WAY harder than I imagined.
Some days are easier than others, but most days I really struggle with self care.
Being a therapist, I am constantly taking in information, processing it, assessing the feeling in the room, then deciding what to expel. I cannot tell you how many times during the day that I am in a session and think to myself…”What did they just say??? Wait, no…they didn’t just say that. CONTROL YOUR FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.” As a therapist, I have to be in control of every aspect of my body at all times especially my facial expressions. If I make the wrong face, I risk shutting someone down. I do this everyday, for between 6-8 kids a day…back to back. By the time I get to step outside, I have to start practicing my self care strategies:
- I take 10 VERY deep breaths of fresh air. Inhale for five seconds, exhale for five seconds.
- I call my mom on my way home. Having a neutral person to talk to about how my day went is extremely helpful to me.
- I have two days a week where I am finished work by 5 (the other days I go until about 8/8:30).
- When I get done early from work, I go for a short run…nothing crazy because I hate running, but I do it for my self care.
- Another thing I try to do on my early days is to cook dinner. I joined “Hello Fresh” and really enjoy blasting some music, drinking a glass of wine, and chopping stuff.
- I practice meditation. It is easy and simple and takes about 5 minutes. Search for “free guided meditations” online.
- I light candles. There is something about having a nice smelling candle and the soft light flickering that is very relaxing to me.
- Don’t judge me, but I watch reality tv…like the bad kind…the Bachelor, Real Housewives, etc. Now, hear me out…there is something amazingly relaxing to me to be able to watch drama (real or manufactured) and not having to figure out the core pattern, how to interrupt it, how to manage the feelings in the room, etc. Also, food for thought: most of the drama in our lives is manufactured as well.
- I have started using essential oils in diffusers. The scents are meant to help relax, especially scents like lavender.
- I try to take hot bubble baths or hot showers. When I had a really bad day, there is something therapeutic about letting the water rinse off the day in a shower. On other days, bubble baths rest my mental state.
The days that I struggle the most with self care are the days when I get home late. It becomes difficult for me to practice taking care of myself when I have dogs, a husband, family, etc to take care of with such little time.
I am a work in progress and am constantly open to learning new ideas.
What are your self care strategies?