This time of year sickness, depression, and lack of motivation can take over more than any other time of the year. Often, we fight against Winter ,which can make us all feel more miserable. What if you embrace this time of year instead? The holidays are over, we survived another year. Allow yourself time to sit in a warm cozy spot and reflect on what you have learned and how you have grown. Taking time to get things in order around your home on those long winter days when it is too cold to get outside. This is a time of preparation and self-care. Instead of wishing the remaining winter months away, embrace them. Allow yourself to rest and relax, this is not being lazy. Planning a garden for Spring, cleaning out closets and reorganizing, reading those books on your to be read list, learning a new skill while spending so many days indoors. Wintering is a time when nature is resting and preparing and we can learn from this process. Allowing ourselves time to slow down and be still in both mind and body. Cozy, calm, and quiet moments can be spent journaling or shared with family and friends over a hardy meal. Accepting that Winter is necessary for our minds and bodies give yourself this time to slow down and just be in the moment.
Everything that crosses our path in life can have an impact. A book, a song, a warm fire in the fireplace, a cozy blanket, a smile, a good meal….I could go on and on but I think you get the point. It has been about 6 months since my last entry. It was not by choice but more that life has just pulled me away from writing. I have missed coming here and sharing what I have learned about myself and the world around me. I have had many wonderful adventures in the last 6 months and had my share of personal struggles. Probably the biggest struggle came earlier this week. As a fairly new therapist I have navigated my internship, then my practicum but only been under my supervision as full time therapist for about a year now. In this first year I have experienced all types of counseling, from children to elderly and the full spectrum of diagnosis. I work with only the Medicaid population so I have had the opportunity to learn from people of all walks of life.
This last week I had a moment with a client that shook me. I am strong and have a pretty clear idea of my morals, values, and beliefs but when a person threatens you for the first time after months of working with them, it can cause you to question some things. When you watch a person literally become someone else in front of your eyes it is hard not to ask…is this controlled or uncontrolled, is this a choice or are they not aware of what is happening and what they are saying and doing, do I stay and sit in this moment or should I remove myself from this situation….I pride myself on my ability to stay calm, cool and collected under most circumstances. On the surface I was able to in this situation, but it did have an impact bigger than I even realized in that moment. I know these experiences in my first year as full time counselor will teach me many useful things moving forward in my career. Seeing up to 8 clients a day for an hour at a time and listening to trauma and sadness, and worries day after day can take a toll. I felt that toll to the fullest the day I was threatened in great verbal detail and watched a client talk and behave in a way he had not for the 6 months before. A deeper understanding and knowing was awakened within me. Knowing that I can help and I can guide and I can listen and we can prescribe all the right medications but if the individual does not want the help, guidance, listening ear or the medications we have to be willing to set boundaries and let them go. All choices have consequences.
Each event or situation will illicit a thought, with each thought there is an emotion, and with that emotion you have a choice on how to respond, and with your response comes a behavior. Often I see people responding from an emotional mind instead of a wise mind which can lead to saying and doing things we regret. We can easily identify the emotion or feeling and the automatic response but what happens when you start identifying the thought behind the feeling and what happens when we start evaluating alternative choices instead of automatic behaviors? This awareness is when change can begin. Unfortunately, there are times when other things must be factored in that go beyond unhealthy habitual responses. Mental Health is a vast and complicated subject that can take on so many forms. Mental health is unique to each one of us and I realize no matter how many clients I see, books I read or seminars I attend….I will never be able to understand or help everyone. Trusting my own gut instinct and setting my own healthy boundaries is me practicing what I preach to all my clients. Deciding to no longer see a client feels wise in some aspects and heartbreaking in another. Still learning and growing in my craft…