A Therapist’s Perspective is a blog series where our Lifepoint Therapists
answer important questions based on timely issues regarding mental health
HOW CAN PEOPLE CARE FOR THEMSELVES DURING CHALLENGING TIMES?
From Carol Musser:
When clients come overloaded with stress, overworked, or just exhausted from life in this pandemic, I often suggest finding activities that bring them life or enjoyment. Finding those things that rejuvenate, refresh or replenish our souls brings joy and renewed energy back into our lives. Some things I often suggest are getting outdoors even if it is simply sitting in the sun for 30-45 minutes. Some enjoy more strenuous things, such as hiking, riding bike, running, or my favorite, heading to a body of water to kayak. Some prefer the quieter, calmer pleasures in life. Sharing a meal with a friend (when safe), reading a book, journaling, or listening to music. For some, finding your creative side brings relaxation and renewal. Find that old sketch book, create something out of fabric or wood, coloring books or jigsaw puzzles are old-time favorites to slow the mind and relax the soul. Whatever you do to relax and slowly let the stress seep away is good
For me, I prefer outdoor activities. My husband and I ride motorcycle with a group of friends, I ride bicycle, or play a round of golf with friends. But my all-time most relaxing activity is by far, kayaking.
Paddling down a river is exhilarating but the slow paddle across a lake also touches deep places in my soul. Those anxious, overworked and sometimes exhausted places that can just relax and let go of the to-do list, the worries and the responsibilities for a few hours. Any type of water in nature is a soothing part of my self-care. Most of my relaxation activities is enjoyed with friends. Human connection provides emotional support and comfort, and a time to laugh and enjoy one another as we relax together.
So, whatever brings life to your soul, go for it! Life is too short, enjoy feeling alive inside!
From Halle Neff:
If you look around, our world is filled with tension, conflict and chaos. It seems like wherever you turn, you find an opinion and then a quick defense to persuade you to believe differently. This back and forth and opposing perspectives forces you to pick a side and make an aggressive stand. Due to the confusion and heartache surrounding us, it leaves us with a lot to hold, inevitably creating within us a helpless and hopeless state. “What do I believe?” “What should I believe?!” “If I believe _____, is that ok?” “What can I do?” Notice how tension of the external world creates inner turmoil and emotional exhaustion.
People can care for themselves by noticing. Notice when you are reacting. If you’re feeling irritable, angry, anxious, impatient, overwhelmed and consumed, you are most likely reacting to someone or something and unable to think clearly. (Everyone does this at some point!) Notice these times and then give yourself the space to pause. Step away from TV, social media, Google or whatever else is causing the reaction. Pause—say and do as little as possible.
I pause by taking pleasure walks, exercising, playing with my puppy, talking with my husband and family, reading a book, listening to music, taking pictures, etc. A question I often ask myself is, “What do I need to take care of myself?” I have found that being outdoors refreshes me. Nature, especially around a body of water, enriches my life. There is something so soothing about being outside that allows me to reconnect with myself as opposed to the world’s chaos. Sometimes this is as simple as sitting on my back porch and listening to birds.
This is a practice and with practice comes permission to succeed and fail. I won’t get it right all the time, I’ll react from time to time. But I hope with each challenge I experience, I am able to build upon and tap into my resiliency and inner wisdom that will guide me towards present peace and serenity.
From Jayne Weber:
Right now, in a lot of ways, our world is heavy. That heaviness affects us. Sometimes in ways that are obvious, sometimes in ways that are less recognizable. In whichever way we feel the weight we need to make sure to take care of ourselves so we can continue to carry on and maintain our health and happiness.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of heavy things that are outside our control to change. But within our power to change, regardless of the situation, is our perspective. We can change the way we are looking at something and therefore change in impact it has on us. Look for the positive, the silver lining, the rainbow after the storm, the rose among the thorns, or however you like to phrase it. The point is to look for the good because you will find what you are looking for.
Lately I have been intentional to care for myself by giving myself quiet. Daily we are bombarded with noise, information, videos, memes, opinions and more. My thoughts move quickly enough, add in all the additional noise throughout the day, it can become overwhelming. It helps me to have times without noise to allow myself to hear and pay attention to my thoughts. For me, that looks like driving without music, time in my sewing room without listening to or watching anything, or even walks with my dog without having my phone with me. It becomes a little slice of peace amidst the chaos.