May is Mental Health Awareness Month
As part of mental health awareness month, our team at L&B Counseling sponsored and participated in the 15th Annual Run! Ballantyne 8k/5k Race to help support the YMCA. This year’s event was one of the largest road races in the Ballantyne area, and it is the YMCA’s Annual Campaign to give youth the opportunity to play and learn in a safe environment. Because of the proceeds received from this race, the YMCA is better able to provide children the opportunity to participate in YMCA programs like preschool, after school, summer programs, and sports.
It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday, May 18th, and our team arrived bright and early to Sara’s YMCA to set up for the event. We were excited knowing that our footprints would help make a difference in the lives of children. We spent that morning interacting with children and their families by spreading the word about mental health.
Being a part of the community that morning and speaking with others that day reminded us that our presence meant more than we knew. We learned that many seek counseling, but lack the resources, nor know where to find a therapist. We are encouraged by society to focus on our physical health by exercising and eating right, but we tend to ignore our emotional and mental health.
As helping professionals, it is our passion to help others. For us, it is the reason we get out of bed every morning. It is also the reason we are reminded every day to take care of our own mental health. As therapists, we often get asked, how do we avoid taking our work home, how do we separate ourselves from the difficult things we hear? Self-care.
What is self-care? It is any type of activity that we do to take care of our physical, emotional, and mental health. It is not a selfish act, but rather a responsibility that we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.
It sounds like an easy concept, but unfortunately it is one that many of us tend to overlook. In today’s world we are rarely encouraged to take care of ourselves, and in our profession, we have learned how important it is for us to be conscious of our need to recharge.
Each week, we schedule an hour of self-care into our calendars. During this hour, we focus on something that is not work related and outside of the office. Here are some of our ideas for self-care:
- Taking walks out in nature
- Spending time with loved ones
- Leaving our phones in another room
- Physical exercise such as running or going to the gym
- Taking time to travel
- Exploring new restaurants
- Arts & Crafts like painting, coloring, crocheting, DIY projects, etc.
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
- Walking our dogs
- Taking naps
- Hanging out with friends
Self-care can mean different things to different people, so be sure to find what works for you. Schedule some time in to take care of yourself by blocking out 30 minutes a day, and see how you feel after. Learn to take care of YOU!