Care of self as a practitioner
Attending to the practitioner's well-being is essential to sustaining good practice:
64. Practitioners have a responsibility to themselves to ensure that their work does not become detrimental to their health or well-being by ensuring that the way that they undertake their work is as safe as possible and that they seek appropriate professional support and services as the need arises.
65. Practitioners are entitled to be treated with proper consideration and respect that is consistent with this Guidance.
OUR 7-Step Self Care Manifesto
Self care can mean different things to everyone - it got us thinking about creating our 7-step Self Care Manifesto - something that you can reflect upon when thinking about your own self care. This is relevant to anyone in this world, however more so, for those in the helping professions, where the whole premise of work is about giving. The self is often forgotten in this equation.
Step 1: Stop criticising yourself.
There is a tremendous need to build self worth and value in ourselves because we often feel niggling doubts of 'not good enough.' We procrastinate when things would benefit us or we mistreat ourselves by not eating food that we know will make us feel good.
Let us recognise that we are not perfect.
Having to 'be perfect' puts immense pressure on ourself and it prevents us from looking at areas of our lives that need soothing.
Step 2: Be gentle, kind and patient with yourself.
Patience is something we often 'think' we have but in reality, we want what we want and we want it right now! So become aware of that feeling of wanting something to happen yesterday.
It takes time.
Think about how your garden grows from bleakness of winter to slowly sprouting shoots in spring. Take notice that there's no rush, there's no competition between the shoots, they all seek warmth and light, all at different paces, but they don't berate themselves or stop growing.
Step 3: Be kind to your mind.
Let's not blame ourselves for negative experiences - don't carry that blame around with you as extra baggage - easier said than done, but it's a good idea to have an awareness of being kinder to your mind.
How can we be kind to our mind? By relaxing it, this allows your mind to take a small rest, with some deep breaths, close your eyes and release whatever tension you are carrying with you.
Meditation can be used here, but all we are suggesting is taking some time to find white space for your mind.
Step 4: Praise yourself.
When we criticise ourselves, little by little, it takes over.
Criticism breaks down our inner spark and Praise builds it up.
When you berate yourself you belittle your own power. Begin with little things - tell yourself that you are wonderful - (go on, seriously, try it!)
Allow yourself to accept good whether you think you deserve it or not.
Step 5: Loving yourself means supporting yourself.
Reach out to friends/family and allow them to help you.
Asking for support is a strength and if you're a counsellor in training or thinking about it, you'll find that as the training programme delves deep into your hearts and minds, it is important to keep this step close. You don't have to do this alone. You may need to seek your own counselling if you feel it will support you.
Step 6: Take care of your body.
This is often talked about and it is a vital step to consider.
It's crucial to acknowledge your body as the vessel to get you through life - whatever that means for you in this moment:- assignments, family crises, ill health etc. Often we give our body a beating by not going to bed when it is urging us to, or ploughing on when we know we need to drink some water or even waiting to eat when we haven't eaten for ages. Maybe even, stuffing ourselves with food to numb a particular feeling.
Become aware of the steps you do to take care of your body. Make a list and start taking care.
Step 7: Love yourself right now
Don't wait for changes to happen to love yourself right now for whom you are. Feeling dissatisfied with yourself eats away at your inner reserves. Don't wait until 'everything' is right. Use the energy you would normally reserve for criticism and negativity and fuel it into loving yourself right now, just as you are.
We hope that you have found this useful.