As a healer, in a world where everything can move at breakneck speed, how do you reconnect in a way that is rejuvenating and nourishing?
What prevents you from taking time out for yourself, to engage in something that feeds your soul? What do you need to do to design a lifestyle of sustainable self-care?
As you already know, health is about relationships...to yourself, others, your environment and your creativity. Research certainly supports the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of healthy relationships and yet we can not have such without a healthy relationship to the Self.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. As a helper, you get this...hands down with your eyes closed, but do you practice what you preach?! The stats are in and data suggests a significant number of helping professionals do not. My hope is you are the exception! Either way, no shame here!
I had to learn the hard way to care for my own needs because like many therapists I was drawn to this field to do my own healing and share what I was learning.
We help others to help ourselves and help ourselves to help others.
Unfortunately, my body hit a wall when diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. The gift was learning self-care as a life-style and a deeper spiritual connection than ever before through art, nature, and learning to let my vulnerability connect me to others.
When you do not take care to replenish your reserves after the inevitable stress of caregiving your body begins to suffer.
Do you care for yourself through acts of loving-kindness in a way that overflows to reach those you serve? Do you create space and time to reflect and express yourself so you feel your best?
The good news is chronic stress, burnout, or worse, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, are predictable, treatable, and preventable and even if your health is already suffering the body is an amazing self-correcting organism that can often heal itself given the right conditions. To do this, it is important to identify areas of stress and determine what needs adjustment. Tuning in and making connection with yourself, your body, and your emotions a priority is the compass for this shift.
My Favorite Ways To Tune-In:
- Journal: This can be an incredibly helpful way to process feelings and truly connect with yourself. I’m sure you’ve recommended this a time or two to clients, but do you make the time for yourself? Taking daily time to tune into your needs and and tune up what is calling your attention is vital for a life of ease and flow.
- Written: One of my favorite ways is what Julia Cameron, author of the Artist Way, calls Morning Pages. You write 3 pages without thought...just stream of consciousness about whatever pops up and that is what goes on the page. No need to reread...it’s like “taking out the trash’ as she calls it. In time you can go back and look for themes but this process allows you to not only center but also begin to notice patterns when you show up to your journal each day.
- Visual: I also keep a visual journal to collage, draw, paint, etc. as it engages both the analytical or rational mind as well as the emotional without the need for words unless I want. Like a written journal, you also gain the record to review for insight and lessons the imagery has to offer.
- Meditation: You don’t necessarily need to get a meditation cushion or yoga mat unless you just want one as meditation can really be done anywhere. I personally prefer outside as it is automatically grounding. You can take as little as 5 minutes to break multiple times throughout the day to close your eyes and follow your breath or simply observe the beauty of the environment. Notice what arises with curiosity. You can set an intention beforehand if you are feeling stressed to allow your wise self to calm and direct you to one step you can take to move your life in the direction of ease. Trust what your hear from this centered place. Hint: If it feels urgent it is not your wise self...it is your ego in all it’s fight or flight glory.
- Nature: Step outside between sessions or whenever you need and focus on a natural object with curiosity. Ask this natural attraction to support you in your self-discovery. Notice what you are feeling in this moment. What is most attractive to you? Now consider how you are similar. For example, if you gravitate toward a tree and find it strong and beautiful...note how you too are strong and beautiful. Ask this object what it most wants you to know? Record 3 lessons from this activity.
Will you share your favorite ways to connect below? If you struggle to tune-in to yourself, your feelings, and make your health a priority, grab my complementary 5 Step Internal GPS Burnout Prevention Guide here to slow down and truly listen to your own needs!
I love guiding helpers and healers toward their own natural wisdom for less stress, more ease, and creative flow that can prevent and relieve dis-ease in the body!