Dear Fellow Counsellors,
Today I want to talk to you about something really important; I want to talk about you. Yes, you did read that correctly – YOU.
As you might already be aware, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the focus is ‘relationships’. This means fostering healthy relationships, making time in our busy lives for friends and family and so on.
As a Counsellor, you work to build positive relationship every day – but that’s for the benefit of the client. I wonder if you’ve been remembering to take care of your own needs lately? Have you been doing all those things you encourage your clients to do?
Or maybe it is that, by the end of a day filled with clients, you have to worry about cooking, cleaning, your child’s homework, or a friend in need. Perhaps, just perhaps, you are last on your list of priorities. It’s probably not intentional; it’s easily done – those days on your counselling training when you were regularly reminded of the importance of self-care, and when personal therapy was declared mandatory, are long gone. All the self-reflection required to complete your training is tough, but you do it surrounded by other budding counsellors and hopefully with a well-constructed course that offers all the appropriate support.
Post-qualification, you may now work alone, and even if you don’t, most of your working hours are spent with clients, so perhaps you’ve not had had chance to pause for a supportive chat with a colleague for weeks – or maybe even months. If you are lucky, you’ll have a great Supervisor, and a support network at home, but it is also possible that’s not the case. And, you know, even if you do have good support, it is still easy for self-care and ‘me time’ to fall off the radar in your busy life.
So this week, in honour of Mental Health Awareness, I want to ask you to turn the focus on to yourself; your relationship with you, your friends, or your family. Maybe you could commit to getting a massage on your morning off, meet a friend you’ve not seen in months for a coffee, or go on an impromptu visit to a family member that you love.
You, and your mental health, is just as important as that of every client you work with. You can’t pour from an empty jug.
I’d love to hear what you do for yourself this week – post in the comments!