Therapists are constantly campaigning about the importance of self-care. They provide us with recommendations of ways to take better care of ourselves and constantly remind us to practice self-care and to do it often. Have you ever wondered what exactly those same therapists do to take care of themselves?
I spoke with therapists who practice at Symmetry Counseling, Chicago’s mental health and relationship specialists, to discover how they practice self-care.
Mallory Welsh, LCSW, practices self-care at the start of her day by following a morning ritual.
“I intentionally DON’T look at my phone the minute I wake up. I start each day looking out my window into nature and say one thing I’m grateful for and one thing I admire about myself. After that, I do some form of exercise and play with my dog. All of these activities (lasting about 30 minutes in total) gets my day started off on the right path. It works because it starts my days off with optimism and endorphins and knowing I’m choosing to do something simply for myself.”
The Joy of Greeting Cards
Ashley Repinski, LCPC, CADC, has a favorite self-care activity: She purchases and writes greeting cards and sends them to her family and friends.
“I have a lot of loved ones who live out of state, so greeting cards are a way for me to maintain our connection. Shopping for cards allows me the opportunity to appreciate the beauty I’m surrounded by and to reflect on the important relationships in my life. I typically shop for greeting cards once or twice per month — for special occasions and “just because.” Greeting cards brighten my day, and I love being able to share that with others.”
Freda O’Donoghue, LCSW, CADC, finds aromatherapy to be a highly effective method of self-care.
“Aromatherapy is healing with scent and interaction with skin. I practice aromatherapy three times a week by using essential oils, such as lavender, tea tree, sage, peppermint, and frankincense, with an oil diffuser. The sense of smell has a calming and cleansing effect that helps reduce stressors as well as boost and restore balance in my body.”
The Perks of Volunteering
Rimma Isaac, LCPC, receives many benefits from regularly giving her time as a volunteer.
“I usually like to sign up for 1-2 shifts a month. I pick events that are fun and related to something I enjoy outside of my work as a therapist. Some of my favorites are Hyde Park Jazz Festival and Chicago International Film Festival; different galas and fundraising events are great too. The reason I like volunteering is because I am assigned a task I don’t normally perform in my everyday life. That allows me to be very focused and present and not think about anything else! It is also a great way to meet new people that I otherwise won’t cross paths with.”
Creating a Relapse Plan
Steven Losardo, MA, believes that self-care is a proactive discipline. He has created a Relapse Plan to help him to practice self-care.
“I put a plan together and adjust it over the years. This requires discipline, but also grace when I do not stick to the plan. So I do not end up shaming myself for failure, but also not allowing that part of myself that gets me disciplined to take over either. Discipline with flexibility can bring freedom and be a part of a self-care plan.”
Would you benefit from any of these self-care methods used by professional therapists? Give them a try!
If you need help to promote your self-care or you’re unsure where to start, you might benefit from working with a counselor. All of the therapists mentioned in this blog are accepting new clients. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to schedule an appointment.