June 9, 2015
It is difficult to turn on the radio or the news without hearing about cutbacks or changes to jobs or services. As counsellors we are the listeners to stories of personal and community change on a daily basis. As we support clients in their journey in times of uncertainty, how do we support ourselves to be fully present?
Self-care is essential as a counsellor and in times of uncertainty it becomes even more important. Think about the basic building blocks of self-care: adequate rest, healthy food choices, and activity that suits your body. Take a moment and reflect on your last week. Where in your daily routine have you made time for you. Even taking five minutes to breathe or walk outside and get fresh air can make a huge difference. In times of change, the small actions that are in our control can make a huge difference in our sense of personal equilibrium.
Looking at the relationships in your life is important. Self-care happens in the context of our workplaces, families, friendships and communities. As you examine the relationships in your life, consider the following questions. Are you getting enough support? Are you finding that the people in your life truly listen and give you a sense of feeling understood? Do you feel connected to your community? If not, where can you carve out time for you? Limit the time with people that do not nourish you. Seek out fun activities that you truly enjoy.
Daily practices that root you in mindfulness or enhance your spiritual self can be very beneficial. Mindfulness is the simple act of noticing the beauty in the world around you. Sitting on the back deck in the morning drinking a cup of tea as you watch the sun rise or listen to a bird singing. Mindfulness is about making time for noticing. Take time to breathe. Make room in your day for walking. Spend time in nature. For some, writing about or photographing what you see can help.
Little by little, you become more aware of the things you are grateful for. One journal exercise is to write one thing daily that you are grateful for for a week. There are many resources available to support individuals who want to focus on gratitude such as http://onethousandgifts.com/ where you can actually add the gifts you are thankful for in your life. Check out this amazing gratitude challenge at http://gratitudechallenge.com/
Even noticing gratitude is a beginning. Often in times of uncertainty, it is our perspective that grounds us. Remain open to the possibilities around you for positivity. If you need help, here is a blogpost on 53 sites about positivity written by Tandy Elisala http://tandyelisala.com/53-best-resources-on-positivity-happiness-and-success/
So, if as a counsellor you need a break from stories of heartbreak, uncertainty, grief or trauma; take time to fill your own cup with mindfulness, positivity or gratitude. We all benefit.
By: Tanya Levy, MSW, RSW, CCC
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA