A friend has been preparing to teach a university course on trauma to counsellors and we’ve been discussing our ethical responsibility to engage in self-care. Which led me to re-examine my own self-care practices. Besides all the “usual” ones – what I noticed is that doing online counselling requires an additional set of physical self-care strategies. Ones that, sadly, until recently I had been neglecting.
Here’s a few of the self-care tips I have re-discovered.
I have been reviewing the proper desk height and computer positioning using the Mayo Clinic guide. Hmm…looks as if I need an office makeover.
Though one thing I have done correctly (ergonomically speaking) is this – I have an awesome completely adjustable chair. Well worth every penny I spent on it.
Other people I know who do this work sit on a balance ball. And one person I know has a standing workstation. It’s about finding what works for you.
I like this self-care suggestion – Arrange your workspace so it is comfortable and comforting. I have shifted things around in my office so that when I do look up I see something that is visually appealing or that serves as a reminder. For example, years ago a colleague gave me a small round wooden box with a picture of an otter on top. It sits right in my line of view when I glance up. It’s beautiful and I smile whenever I see it.
The all-important stretching!
I need to set timers to remind to stop and stretch or change my position every so often. When I am “in the zone” and focussed on what is happening on my computer screen I’m not paying attention to my posture.
Mayo Clinic has a great set of videos on workplace stretches
This short video clip shows a couple of forearm stretches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri77PezkEr4
Some acupressure suggestions for releasing neck tension.
And every once in a while I need to stop and try this yoga relaxation pose– even if it’s only for a couple of minutes!
I definitely need to pay more attention to finding simple ways to take mini breaks during a workday. I have been setting a timer [did I mention I love timers?] to remind me to get up, step away from the desk and go for a walk or sit outside.
Seems so simple and yet so easy to forget! I make sure I have a glass of water close at hand.
Bottom line – It’s about paying attention to my energy, acknowledging when I’ve done enough for the day and stepping away from the computer.
Oh and I really like this person’s self-care suggestion. “Cranking iTunes between clients and shaking it all out, head to toe, booty ‘n’ all”. I think there may be more office dancing in my future.
Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA