As a counsellor, my role is to help children and adolescents flourish into wholesome happy individuals – and one way that we can start our journey of healing or maintain our mental health is by doing self-care.
I remember when I was in University, we would learn about self-care and how important it is for our mental health. This encouraged me to do some reflection within myself: What do I do in my life that is self-care?
I realised, that this was an area where I was lacking. Through this reflection, I noticed that I immerse myself in learning opportunities and at times I was forgetting to maintain self-care.
I started brainstorming new ways that I could implement self-care in my life.
I remembered that I used to do horse riding when I was younger for a number of years, and the joy that it gave me. Horse riding was the perfect fit for me and I am still riding a year later. Throughout this past year, horse riding has pushed me to be courageous, resilient, compassionate and let go of control. At times when jumping, I had to use my courage to face fears, self-doubt and get back on if I fell off. It pushed me to have trust in my own abilities, the horse, and in someone else other than myself.
This is just one element that I have added to my self-care toolkit, but it highlights that self-care looks different to everyone. There is no copy and paste as we are all uniquely one of a kind.
Ideas for Building your own Self-Care Toolkit
Workplace or professional, relational, spiritual, emotional, psychological and psychical are all aspects to self-care. Below are some ideas that you can add to your self-care toolkit, for your to incorporate more self-care into your life.
Workplace or professional self-care – This covers things that can help you consistently meet expectations at work. For example:
- Engaging in regular supervision;
- Peer support;
- Setting boundaries;
- Engaging in professional development opportunities.
Relational – Prioritising close relationships such as friends, partners, family and children.
Spiritual – Ideas include:
- Bushwalking or other forms of exercise;
- Talking with someone that you’re close to.
Emotional – For example:
- Developing supportive friendships;
- Gratitude writing;
- Participating in sport or another activity that you enjoy;
- Hanging out with friends.
Psychological – Taking care of your psychological self may include:
- reflecting on what you are feeling;
- keeping work outside of work hours;
- allowing time to unwind and relax;
- seeing a counsellor or psychologist.
Physical – Your self-care toolkit could include:
- a good sleep routine;
- healthy diet;
- going for walks;
- spending time with pets.
Sometimes, it can be hard to implement self-care in our busy lives, and to create new routines. I have had children come into therapy, burdened by the pressures of school or other uncontrollable factors.
Before identifying ways of coping and elements of self-care which they could include in their own toolkit, I think it’s important to investigate and help them become self-aware of their identity – for example, their values, strengths and interests. Increasing mindfulness helps children identify where, what and how to implement self-care in their life.
Author: Larissa Watter, BA Counselling.
Larissa Watter is a Brisbane counsellor, passionate about working with children. She is currently furthering her studies by undertaking a Certificate in Child Centred Play Therapy.
To make an appointment with Larissa Watter try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422.