This month, I want to talk about self-care.

I’m finding it as challenging to write about as many people find it to implement. So, bear with me; like therapy, this might not be immediately clear or linear.

I have been mulling over this specific subject for a while, keen to acknowledge here how this lockdown period has given many people time, opportunity and permission to take care of themselves, and how this has been incredibly liberating, meaningful and productive for them. As a therapist, I have delighted in my clients’ ability to put into practice what we work towards in our sessions.

But, there are as many, and probably more, who struggle with the concept of self-care, just as I am struggling to put down in words the enormity and relevance of it.

Professional and Government attention to self-care

Self-care is being written about in the professional journal of my governing body (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, ‘Therapy Today’). We are being asked how we as therapists look after ourselves; consideration given to the practical implications of COVID-19 on our practice, how we manage the parallel experiences of our clients, more used to holding much firmer, clearer boundaries and ‘blank screens’.

It is all over our television screens, newspapers, media, the government briefing – ‘Stay Safe’, wash your hands, shield, isolate and keep a 2 meter distance.

“Take care”, a common phrase: what does it mean?

 We say it often, our parting phrase, “Take Care”. And often we mean it. But how do we do it?

 It will depend on who we are, and what we need.

For some, it will be saying ‘no’. Doing less. Going to bed earlier. Eating healthily. Getting up and having a shower. Writing a list. Keeping a journal. Speaking to someone about how they feel. Making an exit plan.

For others, it will be saying ‘yes’. Starting something new. Making life changes. Having a hot bath. Reading a favourite book. Booking time off work. Giving yourself permission to do whatever it is you need to do.

It’s a big ask … but worth it

 Self-care requires a level of self-love, self-worth and self-esteem

For clients who have this, either from childhood or developed through therapy, this time of lockdown has removed obstacles, allowed them to luxuriate in the safety of their own homes and focus on themselves. I hope this healthy and healing process will bear fruit in the weeks, months and years that follow as we emerge from these cocoons.

Therapy can help change your negative patterns of relating, not just relating to other people, but to yourself too.  If we ponder some of the old clichés … ‘love yourself’, ‘you’re worth it’ and of course, ‘take care’ … then perhaps it’s worth giving it a go? Wouldn’t we all rather feel more comfortable in our own skin? Wouldn’t we all rather live more peacefully with ourselves?

Wouldn’t we all prefer to “take care”?

I hope you discover your way to self-care. Because you really are worth it.

 #intherapy  #itsgoodtotalk  #letstalkaboutit  #selfcare  #reachout  #askforhelpwhenyouneedit