I wrote this for therapists but it is appropriate for everyone. Maybe the new title should read ‘self-care for Humans.
Keeping well while being successful as a therapist requires focus in mind, comfort of body, a happy spirit and calm motivation. You need to be good at your discipline as well as marketing, bookkeeping, finances, time and stress management. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.
The world needs you if you have been called to heal but you are of no use if you are not observing self-care. Many carers/healers/therapists/medical personnel quit because of exhaustion and burn out.
Over the years I have helped many therapists get on, or back on, track and I would love to guide you.
The following tips help me and even though I do have a magic wand your way is the one that will work for you.
Pre-session whether with a client or your own work ~ ritual is a good habit to instigate. It sets the scene; literally and metaphorically. Maybe lighting a candle, preparing a glass of iced water or stronger, cartwheels around the garden or completing your asanas is the way.
Whatever works is good but it is not set in stone. I know therapists who are unable to flow without their pre-work routine but it is important to not allow the ritual to rule you. You are in charge of you and it might be that just the intention is all you need.
A cluttered mind is not conducive to helping yourself let alone others so the first thing is to clear-out extraneous thoughts. These can present themselves as doubts, niggles, the to-do list and a variety of other issues that seem to do their utmost to prevent clear thinking. Busy getting nowhere is a frustrating loop and the fear of starting a new way of self-care coupled with business minding can be enough to stop everything working.
Doing something repetitive but not too challenging can fire up the healing muse and make her burst forth with glee. Self-hypnosis, meditating, doodling, colouring, nature walks, journaling, gratitudes are all good starts.
Comfort is paramount. If you enter the mind-state of flow, time disappears and before you know it hours have passed. You only ‘come back’ because your neck has locked or you can no longer feel your feet. Or, your bladder is about to explode.
Stretching, walking, massage and swimming are perfect remedies. But, better still is to ensure posture and position are perfect before beginning your care or client work.
Something seemingly simple like applying hand-cream can trigger body calmness. Try this yourself by applying hand-cream to your hands and continue up to your elbows. Really work your thumbs into those muscles and enjoy the relief as the tingles flutter up to the back of your neck.
Feeling free to be in flow is our spirit’s natural state. We do, however, tend to do all we can to hinder that but when we are in a congruent state of mind, body and spirit our emotions balance.
When you have finished working either on your care, marketing or with clients it is important to acknowledge your success. It is about enjoying the journey. Sometimes you might feel cross because you think you haven’t done enough. You have. If you get a grump-on with yourself you run the risk of setting up a negative pattern.
Displacement activities are the therapist’s best friend when it comes to marketing.
Again fears because someone once said you shouldn’t charge for your healing work so you feel conflicted. Or, you are nervous about putting yourself 'out there'. This can be helped by setting specific times for self and business management and honouring that.
Success comes from creation rather than reaction. Having a notepad to scribble any disruptive thoughts really helps – this could be the back of the pad kept for creative ideas. If easier you can record your thoughts on your phone. What's that? You don't like the sound of your own voice - well, you don't need to, no-one else will hear it.
Likewise, the eureka moments, ideas, things to try, people to follow can be noted. I used to flit (still do) but flapping about from one thing to another and not completing tasks ends up causing annoyance and frustration.
Trying to ignore irritations just makes them more persistent but when acknowledged their power diminishes. I have learnt that digital distractions can and do wait. They can be time wasters and creativity drainers but also useful. If you lose yourself in Pinterest or Instagram do not beat yourself up. You are a grown-up and can choose what you do.