This year's theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘mental health in the workplace’. This gives us an excellent opportunity to explore how counselling professionals look after themselves in their day-to-day work and to give you the opportunity to share your self-care tips with fellow counsellors.
Our members work in a diverse range of environments, from schools and universities to clinics and private therapy rooms. Many of you have ‘portfolio careers’ in which you combine a number of different roles in very different workplaces. Wherever you work, there are common challenges and self-care is vital in maintaining your own wellbeing.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been reaching out over social media to get your tips on how you look after yourself. What one piece of self-care guidance would you like to share with other counselling professionals? Take a look at the nuggets of advice below, contributed by members of the association.
“I try to walk daily at least 20 mins and hike up mountains on a weekend, also doing something creative.”
Heather Coppell, Wrexham, Student Member
“A great way to manage stress at the end of work is to make note of what you are going to do and when, or an appointment for support, then let it go.”
Elizabeth Turp, Liverpool, Registered Member (MBACP - Accred)
“Know my early warning signs that there are unmet needs or feelings. Work four days a week only. Hoover (weird but true). Time alone. Cats.”
Sara Matthews, Registered Member (MBACP - Accred)
“Pacing myself and planning my day and working week carefully. Trying to get outside even just for 10 mins a day!”
Jo Allen, Derby, Student Member
Thank you to all of you who’ve joined the conversation so far. There’s still time to take part and support other counselling professionals by sharing your self-care tips. Tweet us @bacp using the hashtag #WMHD2017 with your advice.
We’re in the process of putting together some guidance on self-care to support you in this area. This resource is ready for review and we’re looking for a focus group of our members to have a look at a preview and give us some feedback on how it might be improved. If you’d like to be involved, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We expect to publish the guidance on our website towards the end of the year – we’ll let you know when it’s available.
In the meantime, your Therapy Today journal has a regular monthly column on self-care in which counsellors explore their approach to maintaining their own wellbeing. In this month’s Therapy Today, Ajay Khandelwal talks about how he tunes out of the stresses of work by running, an activity he describes as “the perfect antidote to hours of listening, talking and sitting.” As well as picking up self-care tips from these articles, you also have the opportunity to contribute your own story.
We wish all of our members a happy and healthy World Mental Health Day. The work you do to improve your client’s lives through counselling makes an important contribution to the overall wellbeing of people in the UK. As you’re doing this work, make sure you take time out to look after your own wellbeing in a way that works for you.
Find out more about World Mental Health Day on the World Federation for Mental Health website.