I’m supposed to be doing administrative tasks at work, but my mind keeps wandering. It’s the last week of work for me before a ten week break until mid-August, at which point the next academic year will be upon us and the cycle and “seasons” of college counseling will begin again.
This was, by far, the most challenging year of my professional career. There were times when I questioned my calling as a counselor and told myself, “There’s no way I can do this long-term.” And, of course, the challenges I faced professionally impacted me personally (and vice versa). As I mentioned in my post last week, my healthy self-care habits gave way to unhealthy self-soothing.
This Memorial Day weekend gave me some much-needed time for reflection and continued self-care. I read self-improvement books, wrote in my “Dear Megan” journal, asked for emotional space when I needed it, let go of a task that didn’t really have to be done right away, asserted my feelings to a loved one, honored my sadness and allowed myself to cry when I was moved to do so, and listened to my body’s needs for rest and play. It was a good start to what I hope will be an upward trend in my self-care this summer.
I always benefit from keeping up with my tried and true self-care methods like journaling, mindful eating, meditation/Bible study, nature walks, and get-togethers with girlfriends. Sometimes I feel frustrated, depressed, or overwhelmed that I rely so heavily on these “crutches” in order to feel good about myself and about life, in general. Of course, thinking that way about self-care (“It’s so hard. It requires too much energy.”) just leads me to drop my self-care routine and burns me out faster.
I’m trying to look at self-care as a gift of self-compassion. Because I realize that I am worthy of love (especially self-love) and because I value inner peace, it just makes sense to do what I can to cultivate inner peace. I know when I feel at peace, I’m better able to put others at ease and bring them some peace, too. So, I’m letting go of the negativity I feel about the energy it takes to take care of myself — God knows I devote twice as much energy to caring about other people on a daily basis. It’s okay to care for myself, too (first).
Peace, joy, and self-care,