I’ve always prided myself on never asking people to do something that I wouldn't do myself – this applies more so to self-care. I work part time for a charity, Home Start, that supports families with young children and I work part time in private practice. I've started to see the more pervasive impacts of the pandemic on adults and young people, in both my jobs.
With the easing and getting rid of COVID-19 restrictions, yet the increasing infection rates, anxiety levels have remained high. Anxiety can permeate into people’s lives in all sorts of ways. I've found clients needing more containing and holding. I'm conscious of providing a calm and grounded space for people to explore their worries.
With higher levels of anxiety showing up in my consulting room, I'm conscious of what this does to me. I wonder about the impact of holding all the worries that I hear. How do they reverberate around my body and mind? How do I best discharge them?
I've always prided myself on good self-care. In order to take care of others I believe it's imperative to take care of self. As BACP members, we've made a formal commitment via our professional standards to take responsibility for our own wellbeing. Over the pandemic period this has never been more important.
I've found myself being drawn into nature - a deep and guttural force that pulls me outdoors into woods, fields and greenery. Eric Fromme used the term biophilia hypothesis to describe the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature.
I recently attended a forest bathing session at Kew Gardens, run by the Forest Bathing Institute. Hearing about the many physical and mental benefits of spending time in nature makes it a no-brainer. It's so encouraging to hear that GPs across Surrey are trialling a range of nature based solutions, prescribed for patients with mental health and anxiety conditions.
Sleep has become more important to me over the past months. I retreat to my bedroom in order to be able to shut down my whirring thoughts.
I've become an avid student of breathwork. I first realised the power of our breath after completing a hypnobirthing course prior to having my first child. The fact that we always have our breath, wherever we are, makes it the most accessible tool to help reduce stress and anxiety. Optimum breathing plays a crucial role in overall health and the functioning of the immune and nervous systems.
Have your self-care routines changed at all over the course of the pandemic? Are you finding it more important to nurture yourself in order to be able to be fully present for others?
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