One could easily say that my life is fairly hectic. I work full time at a psychiatric hospital, I teach at a local university, I have a fledgling private practice, and I am very involved in my spiritual community. When I am not doing these things, I am working in the garden or studio, spending time with friends, and trying to relax. And in my “spare” time, I think about going back to school and writing a book. Now don’t get me wrong, I am hardly complaining. In fact, I feel pretty blessed by all of the opportunities that come my way. But let me tell you about the flip side and the perennial challenge of therapist self-care.
As I write this, I am laying on an ice pack and waiting for my chiropractic appointment. Holding onto stress has literally frozen my back into place. It’s pretty frustrating knowing that I have unwittingly done this to myself. Rather than beating myself up about it, I am going to take this as a not so subtle wake up call to do a better job of tending to myself. I am going to slow down a bit and take more time for myself. I have to heed the warning that my body is sending to me. I overdo it on a regular basis. I take great pride in “getting it all done.” But at what price? A frozen back is the price this time, I don’t want to find any other dues to pay.
I need to practice more of what I preach about self-care. I do a lot to take care of myself, but clearly I am holding the daily stressors at a far deeper level. I need to give serious thought to how best to care for myself so that I am in optimum physical, emotional and spiritual health. I owe it to my clients, my students, my co-workers, my friends and family-but most importantly, I owe it to myself.