As someone working in the therapeutic space, it has been imperative that I learn how to balance the challenges of my work with my personal life and wellbeing. Some of this work happens in the professional sphere, and some in the personal.
So, I thought I’d share what self-care rituals or activities I use to destress and live a more well-balanced life to help you create the same for yourself.
For me, the process turned out to be less about daily rituals that break up a stressful day or lifestyle and more about finding ways to live differently so that I can live a stress-free lifestyle.
I’ll divide them into three groups: the therapeutic component, the physical, and the spiritual.
Self-Care Ritual #1: Personal Therapy
I want to start with the therapeutic component. I go to therapy and see my professional supervisor every two weeks.
With my therapist, there isn’t always something to process or work through; in those cases, it’s a check-in. But the regular maintenance is immensely valuable, making me a more responsible therapist. If I’ve worked through them, I’m less likely to bring my feelings into a session.
On the professional level, I work with the supervisor to help me process my work with my clients. And I think this is one of the most essential pieces of being a therapist: supervision.
I don’t think therapists can always be objective in all of the situations that we’re put in. The reality is that we’re affected by the stories the client tells us every week. “I’m angry, I’m upset, I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m excited,” and everything in between.
The client is there to be able to share their story with a solid entity, which is the space that I hold, and every therapist holds.
To better do that, I take those stories to my supervisor. That’s where I let the stories affect me, and I can work on getting clarity around what needs to happen for the client.
Self-Care Ritual #2: Physical Routines
The physical component has a few facets to it; the biggest game changer was when I started working with Bio Medicin (This is a type of medicine that supports the body to heal itself rather than simply treating symptoms like traditional Western Medicine).
The goal there is to meet myself where I’m at, and help my body work at its highest capacity at the age of 53. My current routine is going in about every three months and checking in.
Instead of “fixing issues” in my body, we supply the body with what it needs to do the fixing. This involves rounds of supplements that are changed and adjusted as they do their work. The supplements act as great support for the other aspects of my physical routine.
I go to the gym at least twice a week and do a pretty comprehensive strenuous workout.
One of the lifestyle shifts I’ve made, and therefore why I choose a strenuous activity for myself, is following an eat-for-your-blood type program. I am type O, which benefits from strenuous exercise.
My routine includes weight training and cardio, the latter of which does wonders for burning off excess energy and slowing down my racing brain. This type of program includes dietary changes. That means I don’t eat many grains or potatoes when I’m cooking for myself. My diet consists of lots of vegetables, greens, and proteins, and it looks a bit like keto.
But the key to everything above has been figuring out what works for me and my body. This has taken experimentation and needs to be adjusted with time and age.
The final piece, which I think moves nicely into the next, is that with the exception of occasional wine, I’ve stopped with other substances like weed and hard alcohol. I found that they tend to get in the way of my other goals.
Self-Care Ritual #3: Spiritual Habits
On a spiritual note, there are two ways that I like to connect: visualization and meditation.
I work with visualizations a lot. I work with a product called Mind Movies, which is a 25-slide video that you put together and add a piece of music to. You watch your movie when you wake up and before you go to bed.
You can do this same exercise in your imagination. You’re creating a visual of how you want your life to look in the future. What it does is imprint on your subconscious belief system. Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between facts and fiction; if it sees it, it will start to act as though it is.
For example, I want to buy a new car (an appropriate choice for me since I deal in vintage cars and love them dearly). I will put the image of the kind of car I want into my mind movie, and I will start to prep my subconscious belief system. In doing so, I draw those experiences into my current reality.
I have literally hundreds of experiences of pulling in the exact thing or something very, very, very close to it, just by looking at it and visualizing consistently.
Meditation is also something I have done a lot of, and for a long time… even though the routine itself tends to shift. Daily meditation isn’t always a part of my routine, but after many years of consistent practice, I find I can drop into a meditative space fairly quickly and easily.
Whether you are well practiced or new to it, I have found meditation to be exceedingly helpful in keeping my mind calm and my body relaxed. Sometimes we can’t make it to therapy, and it’s important that we have a way to self-soothe. Meditation is key to doing that.
The Key to Self-Care isn’t “Managing” Stress
Self-care isn’t about just managing stress. I think it’s about eliminating it.
While it’s impossible to eliminate it entirely, I’m trying hard not to live a stressful lifestyle. I made a decision all of a sudden around five years ago; it’s a rule I live very strictly by, and it has completely changed my life.
I do not do things I don’t want to do.
It sounded simple, “I’m just not going to do it anymore.” But subsequently, everything changed because I had to implement that into every single aspect of my experience.
The way I eat, the way I sleep, the way I interact with myself, my friends, and other people; the things I do, how I work, how much I work, how little I work, anything really.
I have put my life together in such a way that I work about 24 hours a week, and I get to work and travel by myself.
One thing that has been a bit surprising and difficult at times, is that it’s a little bit lonely. I didn’t know how much of a trigger that decision would be for a lot of people. I’ve experienced a lot of resentment from some people, which can happen when we set boundaries for ourselves.
But how I look at it is that life is to be lived, and I don’t want to spend most of my life behind a desk somewhere. I want to live it. And so I will choose everything that I need to choose in order to live my life.
Are you ready to make similar changes in your life? Or, are you ready to discover the self-care rituals that work for you?
Sign up for a complimentary 30-minute session with me here.