What happens when you stop and reflect for a moment?
Often, the things we are thinking, feeling or experiencing can look very different with a spot of reflection and it can help us gain perspective, awareness or even take control of a situation in a brand new way.
Seeking support from someone who is a trained professional can aid your reflections and help bring a new sense of clarity to your situation.
The battles you fight are your own. They are all you know and it doesn’t matter if they feel bigger or smaller than anyone else’s – it’s important that you take them seriously and support yourself to fight them.
Self care is all about taking actions to support and protect your own health or wellbeing. The type of action you take depends on who you are, what you need and what’s accessible or available to you, but the important thing is listening to yourself to recognise your needs.
One way you can stay in communication with yourself and work out what you need is setting aside time for a therapeutic activity. This could be meditation, taking with people you trust about how you feel, getting outside and interacting with nature, or practicing mindfulness. I often see clients who are unable to recognise their own needs or haven’t been able to care for themselves in a kind and gentle way. I work alongside them to explore those issues and their relationship with themselves, and I recognise that the step they’ve taken in coming to see me is a great stride towards better self care.
I recently left a counselling job as a with a small charity that supported Carers. A carer is someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
The nature of my work was to support those who were struggling to come to terms with situations that were often difficult and could feel hopeless to the person who lives, every day for someone else. In writing this piece, I wondered if I might talk about some of the things that make carers such a rewarding client group to work with, perhaps delve a little into how their struggles equip them with often-missed resilience. But I realised that both of these angles were not congruent to the overriding lesson I learned in my time working with carers, because they are both assumptive. Upon hearing their story for the first time I never failed to notice how different everyone was, how their experiences that varied so greatly affected them in infinitely different ways. It would be much neater to be able to make a few profound yet sweeping generalisations about these people but my experience teaches me that here are a group of people who simply cannot be generalised, that their experiences are as varied and unique than I could possibly imagine.
Thinking more broadly about all of the clients I see, my experience with carers serves as a reminder that as a therapist, generalising doesn’t help, and so much can be missed just by assumptions. So I do my best to meet each new client with an open mind, ready to hear their story in whichever way they want to tell it.