Counselors need self-care too. Let’s not kid ourselves. Every healthcare professional is still human even if we try not to act like we still have those limitations.
If you are an avid reader of mine, you have noticed that I have not posted in a while. That is because my life became overwhelmingly busy, difficult, and (quite frankly) painful. I was just dealing with too much.
So, non-essential tasks fell to the wayside. This list included things like blogging, non-essential invites from friends to do activities that I was too tired for, hanging the pictures in my new office, purchasing decorative pillows, etc.
However, I continued to do other activities that I find life-giving. These were things like exercising 1 hour every day (even if it was just light walking with my dog), knitting (a lot), sleeping a minimum of 8 hours every single day, basic hygiene routines, eating healthily, and work (although I allowed myself to schedule a little more strategically to conserve energy).
It is okay to let some things go when life becomes difficult. People who are resilient to life’s difficulties prioritize and focus on the things that need to continue to get done and let go of the things that are lower on the list until they have more energy.
The reason this mindset is important is because we live in a society that constantly bombards us with a “go go go all the time” mentality. If more stuff is getting added to your daily task list like anxiety, depression, trauma, medical complications, extra work responsibilities, newborns at home, and/or family trouble (just to name a few), let some of the non-essential things go. They will still be there when you have more energy and they don’t require your attention right now like society may suggest.
Good self-care is learning to prioritize and focusing on the important stuff.
A practical way to accomplish this is by making a list. Many people can initially feel overwhelmed by life. Writing a list of everything you believe you need to get done can be extremely helpful to simplify everything. Rank everything from the most important to the least and figure out what absolutely must get done and what can wait. Then do it.

Self-Care as a Mentality

It’s also good to consider that self-care can also be a kind mentality. I see many people beat themselves up (myself included) for not being able to do it all. The fact is that we are human. Humans are limited. The ideas of super heroes that can do it all is a fiction. Even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most of the characters run into their limitations which is what makes the stories so good. So, if super heroes have limits, you better believe you do too.
Allow yourself to take breaks. Allow yourself to take care of yourself. Allow yourself to participate in life-giving activities to recharge yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes and not be able to do it all. It’s okay.
Another fact of life is that life is difficult, and it is also not fair.
I have a physical disability I was born with that inhibits my body from making antibodies to common infections. So, I’m ill quite frequently. Also, I have been sick since the beginning of February with a slew of various infections. It’s not fair and I’m not happy about it, but it is okay.
We can use the concept of radical acceptance (the idea that we must face reality as it is which does not mean we have to like it) to help us overcome this fact.
Life is not easy and it is not fair. When we radically accept this, we come to terms with the idea that self-care is necessity. Self-care is not optional.
I don’t care if you’re a parent, employee, employer, business person, healthcare professional, gay, straight, tall, short, white, or ethnically diverse. Self-care is mandatory, whatever it looks like for you.

Self-care is ultimately what will help us continue doing what we are most passionate about and what we also have to get done in our day to day lives.

I encourage and implore you to consider the ways you can engage in healthy self-care as soon as you are done reading this post. It is an essential part of your life and you are worthy of good self-care.