Why does self-care fall at the end of the line when it comes to our list of life priorities? Why do we postpone taking care of our emotional wellbeing for another time? Seeing a therapist to address emotional challenges is one facet of self-care that is often put off for months or even years. Taking care of yourself is generous not selfish. With only 6 days until the New Year many individuals may have a vague sense of how they would like to feel in 2019. Like exercise, therapy can become a part of your self-care regime. New Year is the time when many see self-care at the forefront of the mind. As a psychotherapist, I encourage my clients to consider their self-care all year round. As humans we are psychologically primed to start new behaviours and stop old behaviours, so why wait until New Year to put your well-being first? Waiting to address emotional concerns, or stress can lead to worsening of symptoms and a decreased ability to cope.
Below are a few reasons why people don’t consider therapy.
“Counselling is for the weak or mentally ill” This is a common misconception. The very opposite is true in recognising when you need support you are longing to meet your emotional needs. It’s a sign of maturity, self-awareness and inner strength to be able to ask for help. Therapy provides a way for us to understand who we are and how we relate to the world around us. “If I talk about my problems I may fall apart or make things worse” On the contrary, by examining previously suppressed or repressed concerns, talking therapy can dissipate pains and hurts, to help you gain a better understanding of your problems. Therapy provides a forum for exploring choices, which produces better decision making. “I just don’t have the time” There is no denying that many individuals lead busy and hectic lives with trying to juggle responsibilities, such as family, work, and leisure activities. The digital age has played a role in blurring the lines between home, work and leisure with many remaining logged on. Life can often move in ways unexpectedly and we can often feel stressed overwhelmed and stretched too thin. Care commitments, long working hours along with travel concerns can all contribute to you denying yourself the opportunity to invest in your wellbeing and self-care. Another variation on this popular concern is many individuals believe they are wasting the therapists’ time and that others have greater needs. If you’ve thought that seeing a therapist might be a good idea, avoid deliberating on the thought too long. Hesitation can lead to developing reasons and excuses to avoid or postpone your self-care. You deserve the time and space to allow yourself to face or explore your challenges, burdens, and worries, even if only during the time and within the confines of a therapy session.
When you put your needs first you no longer have to cruise through life repressing your feelings into the shadow spaces of your soul. With the support of a therapist your needs can be addressed. Not everyone “needs” to be in therapy but there is no better time than the present for those who have considered it. You might be amazed at the healing effects of allowing yourself the time to let go of what you’ve been holding on to. Every element of your life is special and unique and there has never been another you which is why it is important to trust that “you” matter. Therapy can prevent overload, burnout, reduce the negative effects of stress and help you to refocus. It is not selfish, over-indulgent or inconsiderate.
As a society, we should never be ashamed of doing what we need to do to be emotionally healthy. It is important we maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and therapy doesn’t have to be a last resort. There will be many therapists on the UKCP directory
https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/find-a-therapist/ who can support you to manage the challenges of being a human in a somewhat complex world. Self-care is more than just a popular buzzword it is about honouring and giving yourself the permission to be you.