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Five benefits of therapy

Self Care and Counseling: How they go hand in hand

Written by: Joy Marie

The idea of self-care:

Self-care is important for health. When we take care of ourselves, we are able to continue to be productive, happy and fulfilled. Self-care is not only about your health, but also about your mind, emotions and spirit.

For myself, self-care means doing things like: lighting a candle, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk in nature, and/ or reading a book. Despite all that I would do, I was still struggling with low energy and a lack of love for the things in life I usually did. I was so tired all the time! Even a bubble bath or a yoga session couldn’t give me the physical and mental boost I was needing.

On top of trying all these things, I felt like a failure and a fraud because I am the owner of a wellness group that promotes mental and physical health in women. I was constantly wondering what I was doing wrong. I felt like I was using all the tools, but nothing was working.

Then, I decided to start meeting with a clinical counsellor. The change didn’t happen right away, but slowly as the weeks went by, session after session of unpacking the load I honestly didn’t realise I was carrying, I started to feel lighter, sleep easier and wake up feeling rested.

I believe that, sometimes self-care isn’t helping to address the root cause of stress, anxiety and/or burnout. They can be super valuable tools if you are needing a boost through a specific stressful time, but if you are living in a cycle of burnout, self-care language can leave you feeling even worse.

If this sounds like you, you may want to consider adding formal therapy or counselling to your self-care routine!

The FIVE things counselling helped the most with are:

1. Having a trained professional to make suggestions to help unpack the load I was carrying: my ability to help myself was only as good as my ability to recognise the stress and anxiety triggers in my life. It is pretty common for people to feel like something is off, but it is difficult to determine exactly what changes need to be made. Having the ongoing support of a trained counsellor can help you sort through all your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to get to the root cause. From there, your counsellor can support you by giving you tools that support changing the areas that need improvement.

2. Using journaling as a coping tool: one way my counsellor supported me was by teaching me coping tools. She also armed me with pearls of wisdom that became a kind of mantra to remind me how to change my perspective on situations. For example, one mantra was: I want people LIKE me to LIKE me. This tool helped me sort out which relationships in my life were equally supportive and healthy. Another great coping tool she armed me with was journaling. This was a tool I had not used before. This truly helped with my insomnia. When I had difficulty falling asleep because of my running to-do-list, journaling about what tasks I had to do the next day, allowed my brain to stop thinking about them. They would be safely stored away in my journal.

3. Boundaries: therapy was so helpful in teaching me, first, what my boundaries were, and then supported me in learning how to communicate them to my people. Instilling new boundaries into old relationships can be very difficult. We learn how to be with our people, and even if we know there needs to be some boundary setting, it can be intimidating thinking about setting them in an already established relationship.

4. Communication styles: through therapy, I learned how to examine my communication style to determine whether my communication - adequately convey my thoughts, needs, and goals. It can be easy for individuals to misunderstand or misinterpret others, which may lead to arguments or tension in personal, platonic, or professional relationships. In some instances, conflicts may arise, and these conflicts can make communication even more challenging. In therapy, I was able to understand how my communication style often led to people misinterpreting my viewpoint and me misinterpreting others viewpoints. It helped me identify how to convey my thoughts accurately.

5. Motivation: You may lack the willpower to stick to a self-care plan: even if you know what to do to support your mental health, you aren't always able to stick to your plan and follow through well enough to benefit from it. Creating and maintaining the motivation necessary to stick to a self-care plan can be a difficult thing to accomplish. Not everyone is able to motivate and discipline themselves sufficiently well, even when they are dealing with painful problems they very much want to solve. Through counselling, my therapist was able to help me create systems in my life that held me accountable.

Support for overall well-being wherever you are in your journey can start with our counselling team. Clinical counselling or self acceptance coaching can help support you with life’s challenges and transition to find the power within you and strategies to help live your best life and achieve your goals. Our compassionate and experienced team of counsellors and coaches are available to support you in a trusted and secure space to help you comfortably with personal development, improving relationships and clarifying your life purpose. You can conveniently book online

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