This week has been a very busy week. If I am truly honest, this month has sometimes felt overwhelming and we are only a week into March. I own and manage my private practice. I am also the only employee of my private practice. I answer the calls, make the appointments, welcome the clients, prepare and do the intakes, contact insurance companies, do therapy, accept the payments, do the advertising, etc. etc. etc. The beginning of the month has allowed me to meet and assist new individuals that want to conquer their particular challenges. I am excited about helping each of these individuals’ level up or move to a more productive or healthy place in life.
I wanted to tell you all that to say, the week has been challenging because I wear so many hats. But I had my Aha moment when I was being transparent with a client about recognizing when you listen to your body. I told her about a time when I was burnout in a previous position and was unaware of burnout and vicarious trauma. How I didn’t listen to my body when it told me that it was time to rest. My Aha moment came when I was explaining about signs the body will start to give us when we might need a little rest. Focus becomes fuzzy. Irritability, tiring quicker, change in motivation, etc. As I was going through my list I realized “Girl it’s time to incorporate some self-care in your own life.”
Now I’m not going to stop working to go on a vacation. I need to schedule some down time during the day so I can breathe, relax, and just be. I forgot the cardinal rule in being a helping professional, take time to enjoy the little things. Enjoy just being. Enjoy a song on the radio. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Enjoy a good meal. Go for a walk. Whatever gives you a moment to “be”.
In life we are constantly going from one task to another. We work, then we go home to families and tend to the needs of significant others and/or children. If we can find some time, we might even sneak some office work or side job needs into what should be work free time. We have housework, laundry, shopping, paying bills, and all those tasks involved in keeping our household running. Our calendar is full of things we must complete for the day, in order for us to feel accomplished.
I know the argument already, that you are very busy, and you do not have time to just be at leisure. That’s what vacation is for. But I’m going to tell you a secret. You will be more productive and mentally healthier if you carve out a little time (15 – 30 minutes minimally) to just “be.” That time allows you to refresh yourself. If gives you the opportunity to slow down, gather yourself and then begin again with renewed energy.
I also understand that some of you feel that you cannot take time at work to just be. You get a break and a lunch. That’s mandated by law. You can use that time. Remember I said enjoy some food as an example. It could be that your “just being” time might be not engaging with coworkers during lunch because you don’t want to hear about the problems of the job or the workplace gossip when you are own your break. On your time. I’m not telling you to be antisocial every day, but you could take one lunch break every now and then and devote it to you. And for those of you who to chose to each lunch and work, well you know I’m going to say that’s a no-no. Because you have missed the whole entire concept of lunch break. See the key work “break.”
Some people might call this mindfulness. Just enjoying the moment. Being present instead of worrying about the past events of the day or the future events of tomorrow. It means enjoying where you currently are.
So, after I had my Aha moment, and my client left. I wrote my notes. And before I did anything else. I took a moment to do nothing. I closed my office door and the sounds of the beach were playing on the sound machine and I listened to the water and the birds. After my 15 minutes I felt so refreshed, my mind had an opportunity to just relax.
Give yourself permission to enjoy again, because the body is keeping score. I challenge you to take the time to relax.