Self-care is something that therapists often talk to clients about.
People often wonder what this actually means. Sometimes they associate it with being selfish, sometimes they have never thought of it as something they need to do. Sometimes it is simply something that is either ignored or put way down the list. Put simply – many people don’t make enough time for themselves.
Self-care means really looking after yourself. Or as we often phrase it at your counselling service ‘being kind to yourself’. More often than not people are very hard on themselves and extremely self-critical. They can be good at being there for other others, but then struggle to really be there for themselves. We can all get too busy with various commitments at times and often the stresses and strains of life can take over. In turn investing time in ‘yourself’ becomes less and less of a priority.
You will often see people rushing around due to work or family commitments. In addition to this they will be trying to pack too much into their days and weeks, barely stopping to relax or take some time out. Domestic choses, events that need attending (social and professional), hectic daily schedules and financial pressures can all take over, and as a result people do not have any time in their week for themselves.
This is often heightened for people that are in therapy. Often they have come for counselling because they feel so stressed, so overwhelmed and so run down. Numerous reasons can cause the need for counselling, ranging from relationship issues to eating disorders. However one thing that the majority of clients have in common is that they feel they never have any time for themselves, and they don’t have the ability to relax and slow down.
Avoidance goes hand in hand with this. Clients can be encouraged to slow down and take time for themselves, but they will often say that they can’t – they are too busy or have too much to do. In reality life can feel like that for most of us. But the important part is being able to recognise that not everything can be done in one day, that things can wait, and that making an appointment with yourself is just as important as making one with someone else.
Good self-care can involve a range of things. Of course it means things like taking the time to eat healthy (meaning everything in moderation), to not indulge in self-destructive behaviours (such as too much exercise or too much alcohol), and to make time for enough sleep every night.
But it also means other things, like taking time to read, to have a bath, go for a walk, listen to some music, or watch a favourite film or program. It is important to recognise that relaxation is a personal thing and not everyone will enjoy the same things. Some people like to relax by sitting at home and reading, while others may prefer a walk in the fresh air. The key is finding what works best for you and then ensuring that you make time for that in your week.
Other forms of self-care can involve things like yoga / pilates or mindfulness. If people can find time for these in their week then they are much more likely to feel grounded, calmer and de stressed. In addition to this exercise in general is such an important part of self care. Running, classes, cycling – you name it. It is all about taking time out for yourself – and in turn feeling physically and mentally better in yourself. As long as things aren’t taken to the extreme – they will always positively add to someone’s general wellbeing.
Another key aspect of self-care is not taking on too much and not over committing to too many things. It is often to easy to say yes to everything and then feel very stressed and wound up. If you can find a way to choose the things that you actually want to do then you will feel a lot less overwhelmed.
Communication is also a very important part of self-care. If you ensure that you are talking to friends and family, then you will feel less alone, less isolated and less overwhelmed. In addition to this writing in a diary / journal can be a positive outlet, as can writing lists of things that need doing. This way you can look at what you have to do each day / week and recognise that it doesn’t all need doing right away.
In addition to this therapy can also be a really positive part of self care. It can help people to slow down, take stock and to evaluate how they feel. It enables them to understand more about themselves and to change any negative thought patterns or destructive behaviours. Sometimes people need more then their support network is able to give them. Sometimes people are stressed out and upset by the people around them. And sometimes things are just so painful and feel too much to handle. When it comes to things like divorce, bereavement, addiction etc – therapy really has its place.
At your counselling service we have a team of experienced therapists that work with a wide range of issues and we offer counselling on a range of days and times. We really place a lot of importance of self-care and encourage people to really take time for themselves. We are constantly working towards clients showing the kindness to themselves that they show to others. Therapy is an important part of this.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from counselling then please call 07590 663938 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org