In my blog An Inside Look: Symmetry Counseling’s Therapists Reveal Their Self-Care Practices, I spoke with five therapists who practice at Symmetry Counseling, Chicago’s mental health and relationship specialists, to discover how they practice self-care. This time we’ll hear from a few more Symmetry therapists to discover more of their personal self-care methods.
Matthew Cuddeback, LCSW, listens to podcasts to manage stress.
“The most helpful way I have found to practice self-care is to create a buffer between the situation that is stressful and my home life. I always plan on something for my commute home from work to be this buffer. I usually listen to a podcast, one that is light and gives me time to be more mindful and present. I have found some of the most helpful to be podcasts that teach a new language or skill, or something science focused. It’s important that this podcast is about something that takes me out of my normal state of mind and challenges me to think about a complex topic, but one that is decidedly removed from current stressors in my life. This change in mindset gives me the space I need to refocus and tackle what the day brings next.”
Meenal Patel, LPC practices self-care by expressing gratitude.
“I have learned that gratitude is something that really makes me feel happy and brings my spirts up. My partner and I have started what I like to call a ‘gratitude journal.’ Every day both of us will write something we are thankful for, excited about, looking forward to—basically anything positive about ourselves, each other, or our surroundings. Going back and reading what each person has written is very important to me and helps me feel better.”
A Home Spa
Christine Treski, LMFT, has developed a weekly self-care ritual by creating and indulging in her own home spa treatment.
“I intentionally plan ahead for 1.5 hours of pampering. I’ll either take an extra-long bath or sauna, or I’ll do a home facial, body scrub, or something similar. I like to use a relaxing aromatherapy candle and play my favorite relaxing music all the while. The most challenging, but also most rewarding, part is planning ahead to not have distractions—no cell phone, no tablet, and no interruptions from people or pets.”
Coloring and Paint-by-Sticker Books
Latalia White, MSMFT’s newest self-care activities are a throwback to her childhood.
“I love adult coloring and paint-by-sticker books. I like to curl up on the couch with a blanket and some music and spend time coloring in intricate patterns or making a sticker painting. I really have to concentrate with the paint-by-sticker books especially since the stickers are so small and require precise placement in the ‘painting’ for it to work, so it’s a good way to get me out of my head for a while. It also keeps my hands occupied and leaves me with an actual product at the end to show my progress, which is a good feeling.”
A Good Run
Shannon M. Duffy, MFT, LCPC, knows the value of a good run.
“Exercise is such an importance for self-care, mental health, and overall health and wellness. Running has been my stress reliever for over a few decades. The benefits of running go beyond increasing your cardiovascular health and keep you in shape. I feel running lets my stress levels get calm through keeping my breathing consistent, in addition to letting my mind stay focused on just running and not overthinking about my stressors. I find running through all seasons is necessary; even the cold air helps provide a change in body temperature that allows you to gain more focus on letting your stressors go. The overall endorphin rush that is termed a ‘runner’s high’ creates a sense of accomplishment and an overall feeling of positivity.”
Would you benefit from any of these self-care methods used by professional therapists? One way to find out is to give them a try!
If you need help to develop your own self-care routine or you’re unsure where to start, you might benefit from working with a counselor. The therapists who contributed to this blog—Matthew Cuddeback, LCSW; Meenal Patel, LPC; Christine Treski, LMFT; Latalia White, MSMFT; and Shannon M. Duffy, MFT, LCPC—are all accepting new clients. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to schedule an appointment.