Instead of getting sick and tired in this cold and flu season, get inspired to prioritize self-care.
With the seasons changing, it’s easy to put your self-care routines aside to focus on getting back into work and on the upcoming school year. Between work deadlines, hosting friends and family, birthday parties, play dates, and school/work functions, your schedule is maxed out!
So, I write to remind you to give yourself the gift of continued self-care this winter. The same way you schedule meetings, appointments, dates, and car maintenance, you need to schedule in time for your physical and mental health. I know it might feel like it’s “just one more thing” in your schedule, but believe me, it’s worth it (and your body and mind will thank you).
It’s also an important time of year to both delegate and practice the art of saying “no” to requests. Perhaps your partner can do the grocery shopping or buy ready-made dinner, decline a social function, or do not offer to host something if you don’t want to. I often try hard to make a list of self-care activities so when I am most overwhelmed and swamped I can pick something from my list rather than feel even more stressed about thinking about what to do!
Self-care brainstorm: weekly bath, book club, dinner with a friend, massage, yoga, continue to go to the gym, walk your dog, indoor swimming, knit, stretch, meditate, bake something yummy, lift weights, acupuncture or make a therapy appointment.
Go ahead and pull out your calendar- and plug in some self-care for the month! I promise you won’t regret it.
Ask anyone who’s ever dated, and they’ll tell you about their unsuccessful relationships.
“My past relationships were unsuccessful.”
“I always seem to fail in love.”
“I’d like to be in a successful relationship that actually lasts.”
What does it mean to be in a successful relationship? And how do we define it?
For some, the term “successful” is saved only for those partnerships that end in life-long marriage—’til death do they part. But who is to say that marriage (or a long-lasting marriage) is the only qualifier for success?
What happens if we change the way we define a successful relationship to mean any relationship that resulted in a better, stronger, smarter you?
A 3-month relationship, where partners learn about their sexual desires and preferences is a success.
A 5-year relationship, where you now more clearly understand of the qualities you need in a long-term partner is a success.
A 20-year marriage that has ended, where you’ve learned to love and let go, leading to more self-discovery and resilience is a success.
I have clients who tell me they’ve had “no successful relationships,” and after a little more conversation, I can see that they’ve had many successful relationships. While those relationships have now ended, the amount of information they’ve learned about them is amazing.
The ability for my clients to reframe their relationships experiences is empowering.
Let’s take back this phrase “unsuccessful,” and redefine what success looks like in relationships of all kinds. Every relationship—no matter how short or long—teaches us something about ourselves and desires. They help us prepare for future relationships, and that’s what success looks like!
Myth: Only “crazy” people or people with severe issues receive psychotherapy.
Every day people seek therapy for a range of reasons. Some pursue psychotherapy for treatment of anxiety, depression or other disorders. Others want help coping with life stressors or transitions, like school challenges, the loss of a job or a loved one, stress, or conflict at work. Others may need help managing and balancing work and family responsibilities, coping with an aging parent, or improving relationship skills. By learning problem-solving skills and coping strategies, anyone (young and old) can benefit from psychotherapy.
Myth: Social Workers only work in Hospitals, Schools, and for a Children’s Aid Society.
Registered Social Workers work in a variety of settings and have different and unique areas of specialty. While Social Workers do work in the above settings, they are not limited to those places. Social Workers can also provide Psychotherapy (also called counselling or talk therapy). Social Workers who work as Clinical Therapists, providing Psychotherapy, have schooling, training and certifications that enable them to do this work. However, unlike a Psychologist, Social Workers can neither diagnose clients with disorders nor prescribe medication, like a Psychiatrist. Therefore, Social Workers often offer lower rates for therapy and are more accessible in the community. For now, Registered Social Worker Psychotherapy services are not covered under OHIP. Hopefully, as our societies and governments recognize the importance of a range of mental health care services, this will change.
Myth: Talking to family members or friends can be just as helpful as going to a Social Worker/Provider of Psychotherapy.
When you’re having a difficult time, support from trusted family and friends is very beneficial. Friends, families, and therapists can provide similar but also different types of support. Talking with a Clinical Social Worker can be helpful because they have a Master’s Degree of Social Work. This means they have specialized training, knowledge and experience that make them experts in treating and understanding complex problems. Therapists can be there when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, but therapy is also more than someone listening or offering advice. Clinical Social Workers can help identify and address behaviors, thought patterns and broader structures that may be negatively impacting coping or decision-making. Therapists are also a neutral party, providing an unbiased and open space to talk through complex, sensitive issues in a confidential setting.