By: Fiona Hill, MTS, MA, LPC
Sometimes caring for yourself seems like a daunting all day-everyday task that’s unmanageable. We are a sum of all our parts and when it seems all parts are needing care at the same time, it can become overwhelming. As mental health professionals, we know caring for ourselves is important, and yet, it is extremely easy to feel so obligated to help others that we unknowingly neglect ourselves. After all, it’s why we went to school, right?? We want to help people—and that’s good. However, especially during this time of pandemic, the question remains—at what cost and whose expense?
“We need balance in all aspects of life. Humans do not function well when unbalanced whether that be regarding food, work school, sleeping, running, or anything else. Internal balance is achieved when the activities and interests of a person do not cause other aspects of life to become under-or overinflated”(Stone, 2020).
During my undergraduate studies I had a full course load of 18 credits, worked full time AND worked 15-20 hours at my internship site. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this was not the healthiest decision, but never-mind health. I had a goal, and I was intent on working towards that goal regardless of the future consequences. In fact, future consequences were not even a thought in my mind. During this time a dear friend said these words to me that have stuck with me all these years: “If you don’t take care of your body where will you live?”.
In order to hold the heavy, hard things for our clients we MUST have space to hold it. How do we have the space? We take care of ourselves to create space not only for our clients but for ourselves. Often times we create an either/or scenario when really it is more helpful to have a both/and. “I take care of myself AND I help others.” Over the last several days I’ve found myself being curious about the word ‘permission.’ As a child, especially in my adolescent years, I wanted to be an adult so I did not have to ask permission to do things I wanted. I find it curious that, like so many other adults, there are times I still need permission in order to take time to care of myself the way I need and deserve. So….for those of you who need permission to say ‘Yes’ to yourself, you now have it. You have permission to take care of yourself the way you need AND you deserve—whether it’s for 15 min, 30 min, a day, a weekend, or every day! Take care of yourself so you can be the best you can be for yourself AND others.
Stone, J. (2020) Digital Play Therapy: A Clinician’s Guide to Comfort and Competence, Routledge, pp. 14.
Fiona Hill, MTS, MA, LPC
Fiona Hill is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri. She currently works in a group practice as a children and family therapist. She specializes in working with those who have experienced childhood trauma, as well as, families impacted by developmental disabilities. Fiona utilizes primarily EMDR and Play Therapy in her practice; she is currently working towards both her Registered Play Therapist credential and EMDR certification.