Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Three reasons why therapy is one of the best forms of self-care.
(And a list of tips that help you get the most out of it!)
I’m sure many of you have seen memes and Facebook posts about self-care being more than bubble baths and chocolate cake, which is *mostly* true. What I find most interesting is how much people like to talk about the importance of self-care, but when I ask what self-care practice’s people have in place, I’m often times met with blank faces and “hmm… I don’t know.”
So, what is self-care?
Self-care is an activity that intentionally aims to support our mental, physical, and emotional health.
There are three important factors about therapy that make it the ideal self-care practice:
Going to see a therapist… *ehem* YOUR therapist, is very intentional. You have to schedule your appointment and show up. Simply put, you need to be physically present, whether in-person or virtually. All other tasks get set aside for that time.
It’s an hour of just “you” time. Talk about what you want, feel how you need to feel, and do it all without judgment.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving. You’ll be given tools, skills and resources that can enhance your life outside of the session and beyond, so that self-care can become a daily practice.
Some of these tools and resources include:
Relaxation techniques to help your mind and body
Skills to help manage strong emotions, or feel more of the emotions you want to feel
Tools to help you better communicate with others
Tips to Getting the Most Out of Therapy:
I remember a college professor of mine told me to review my notes within 24 hours of writing them. I thought it was a bit silly at first, but what I found is that by doing this simple action of reviewing, it not only solidified the information in my brain, I also started noticing and learning new things. I was actually understanding the material better, and doing better on tests. No, there are no exams in therapy, at least not in my office, but this principle can be helpful in sustaining the progress you make in therapy. I encourage many of my clients to journal about things we discuss is session, or give prompts to write about that pertain to their specific issues. I encourage clients to read old journal entries to see the progress they've made over time, and to gain new understanding about themselves. Journaling can and does help with self-care, because it allows you to clear the thoughts from your mind and move on. When we write, we are also forced to pay attention to our thought process and acknowledge the impact they have on us. Noticing how we talk to ourselves, especially when it’s negative, allows us the opportunity to improve. Being kinder to ourselves is basics of self-care.
Use the tools and skills provided to you.
Therapists aren’t just providing you with new skills because they sounds like a good idea. They actually work. There’s proof in the pudding, as they say. All the of tools and skills I provide to my clients come from evidenced-based research conducted by other therapists and doctors before me. Taking time to meditate for 5 minutes each day to manage stress? That’s an evidence-based practice, and also a self-care practice. Using a technique you learned in therapy to manage your panic attacks? Also a self-care practice that is more than likely evidence-based. Remember, self-care is any activity that intends to improve our mental, physical and emotional health.
Just going to talk to someone has impacts long after the session has ended.
You may start to notice new things about yourself, or become more aware of certain thoughts, feelings or behaviors that you were once oblivious to. If we jump back to #2 on the list above, just talking with someone provides a way to unpack your burdens, and that in itself can work wonders.
Ready to start taking better care of yourself, mind and body? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. We'd love to help you!