I love giving, helping and sharing. However, there is a limit. When I feel sad, edgy or tired, I know I have gone too far. Everyone’s threshold is different and everyone has one.
My job as a therapist, is to share people’s pain. To be honest, I’m only good at it, when I have met my own needs first. That is not selfish and I don’t feel guilty about it. Trust me. You only want to meet with me after I have exercised, meditated, and have spent quality time with the people and pets that I love.
I took the day off yesterday to go on a motorcycle ride with my husband. It was simply a splendid day. That experience gave me what I needed to wipe my slate clean and go to work with a fresh attitude and a pep in my step.
Many people feel guilty when they do things for themselves. I’m here to say, “Take care of yourself first! No guilt!” If your needs are met, you are in a better position to assist, support and love others.
As I plan for busy days, weeks and months I build in, me time. I write it on my calendar. It could just be a moment here and there or a full day like yesterday. It seems to work. I have been in the counseling profession for 25 years. I feel as good about the work as I did on day one. No burn out here.
Let your feelings be your guide. If you feel tapped out, pissy or resentful, take a break.
When I interview counselors to work in our program, one of my first questions is, “What do you do for fun?” If they answer the question quickly and their face lights up, we are one step closer to a new hire. If they say, ” I don’t have time. I take care of my kids. Or they can’t come up with something.” I am thinking….bring in the next candidate.
I will ask you two questions. 1. What do you do for fun? 2. When was the last time you did it?
I will leave you with one more piece of advice. No one likes a martyr. People can feel genuine help or when someone just isn’t feeling it. Take one day for yourself. Do what ever makes you smile. See if the next day you are kinder, more productive and able to contribute from a different perspective.