Tag Archives: burnout

Are you a Therapist? Why Self-Care is Even More Important for You

I-Love-Me-written-in-sandThe practice of psychotherapy is unique, creative, and multifaceted. Although therapists are trained to care for others, we often do a poor job of care for ourselves. Self-Care is defined as the integration of a therapist’s emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health. In essence therapist self-care encompasses understanding and attending to the needs of one’s self; balance in one’s life; the quality of one’s life; serves as protection against burnout; influences client care; and is related to connecting to social support systems.

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Creating a daily/weekly self-care plan would be a great way to start giving attention to and managing your self-care. Take some time to ask yourself what you need on a daily basis to refuel and reset in order to operate at your apex in your clinical work. However before you do that, please take a few moments to explore your current thoughts and practices about self-care.

Therapist Self-care Self-Assessment

1. How important is self-care to you?
2. What do you need to refuel and refocus daily?
3. What shifts do you need to make to meet your self-care needs?
4. How would your clinical work be influenced if you were attending to your self-care?
5. How would your personal life be influenced if you were managing your self-care?

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The practice of self-care is an intentional, ongoing, and advantageous practice. Although the above-mentioned statement may seem obvious, it is easy to fall into a routine of daily life which may deny the energy needed to attend to caring for the self. Caring for ourselves deserves to be looked upon from the perspective of resource management. Likewise, therapists must continually develop and cultivate their most precious resource which is ultimately themselves.

By: Tequilla L. Hill

HillTequilla

10 Mental Health Tips for Students

student_mentalhealth_universityIt’s that time again – when the temperature starts dipping little by little, and back-to-school shopping supplies are advertised wherever you go. If you’re heading off to university or college for the first time, or are heading back for your last year of graduate studies, these ten tips will help you thrive and survive throughout this upcoming school year!

Students have the luxury to spend their days learning about (hopefully) what they are passionate about. University/college is also the place where you learn to push yourself intellectually and emotionally. Often, this can lead to burnout and exhaustion. We all know what happens when we reach that point… You sit in the library in front of your laptop, blankly staring at it, sitting for a couple of hours before finally getting started. Worse, you could spend your year feeling continuously unfulfilled, unbalanced and unhappy.

How do we prevent this?

You could use that time so much more wisely! Imagine if you could avoid burnout and intellectual exhaustion, instead thriving in both academics and mental wellbeing. We can take steps to prevent burnout mid-way through the semester. By implementing actions in your life that lead to balance and stress-reduction, you should be able to feel as though you’re thriving in both academics and mental wellbeing.

1. Connect with others

Make time for your friends and family. If you feel overwhelmed by how much you have going on, try scheduling a phone call with your parents instead of impromptu calls. This can help you feel like you have more control over your schedule. Prioritize friendships and staying in touch. Positive relationships with the people around us are incredibly healing and important for our mental health.

2. Take time for hobbies

A lot of people get to college or university and give up their hobbies. Love piano? See if there is a music room in your residence for you to practice! Love sports? Get involved in some intramurals! It’s a great way to meet friends and maintain balance in your life.

3. Contribute to your community

Volunteering in a new community can be one of the most rewarding acts you can undertake at university or college. If you’re living in a new city or town, it can help you get familiar with neighbourhoods and areas that you might not already know. Find volunteer positions that are fun for you! It’s an amazing way to meet like-minded people, and will look amazing on your resume once you’re finally finished school.

4. Get involved in your school’s extracurriculars

Getting involved in your school’s extracurricular activities, like mentoring and student counsel’s, are a great way to gain skills that can be applied to settings outside of the university or college. You’ll often be thrown into this new environment and learn time management, learn about long-term commitment, boosts your relationship skills and your self-esteem.

5. Take care of your (physical) self

You finally have the ability to live off of pizza and chips if you want! However, I can guarantee that a diet of soda and junk-food is going to leave you feeling sluggish and low-energy in no time. Make healthy eating a priority in your cafeteria and see what healthy options are available. You might also have access to an athletic centre at your school. Physical activity is an excellent motivator and de-stressor. In addition, exercising GIVES you energy, rather than draining you! So if you’re looking for an energy boost, try hitting the gym!

6. Get enough zzz’s

Sleep allows your brain to take in new information the next day, and consolidate memories from the day before. How are you supposed to retain all of the new information from your classes if you don’t give yourself enough sleep?

7. Make time for de-stressing routines

Take the time to meditate, do yoga, read your favourite book (for pleasure!) at least once a week. You might feel like prioritizing these isn’t important, but later down the road when you find yourself calm and collected instead of stressed out and nervous for your exams, you’ll be happy to have implemented these routines. In addition, it’s great to get a start on stress management techniques at an early age. Stress affects your physical health in addition to your mental health, so it’s important to keep under control.

8. Buy a day planner

If all of these activities and routines sound daunting to you, don’t worry! It’s completely doable! All you need to invest in is a trust day-planner. You can create blocks of time that you designate for stress management, intramurals, volunteering, friend and family time. You can ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a balanced week where you feel well taken care of and fulfilled.

9. Take a break

Make sure you give yourself periods of time where nothing is planned. Spontaneity can lead to some of your best school-related memories! You could end up exploring parts of campus that you had never anticipated, or go out with your friends to a new part of the city that you had never been. Make time in that schedule of yours for a little wiggle-room and flexibility.

10. Ask for help

Above all else, make sure you ask for help from a mental health professional who you trust. Having someone you trust to discuss your concerns, hopes and aspirations with can help to bring clarity, focus and drive to your year.

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey Mental Health Professional

How to Live with Balance, Not Burnout

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We often measure our day’s success by what we’ve accomplished. How many meetings we tackle, how many phone calls and emails we replied to, how much we’ve contributed to our work. We measure our self-worth based on how much we’ve succeeded in a given day. A day well done is a day filled with these ‘successes’.

What if we measured our success on a different scale. What if at the end of the day, we tuned into our bodies and asked ourselves if we were happy, calm, loved, appreciated.

Success in North America (and rapidly spreading to other countries) is measured on a meter that rewards long hours, hard work, and eventually… burnout. Burnout is that moment when you find yourself incapable of working any longer. You’re so exhausted, frustrated or sick that it is physically impossible for you to ‘succeed’ any longer. At this point, the only way to relax is to sit on front of a TV or computer screen for hours and ‘veg out’. This is not an optimal way to relax and recharge! The moments of your life that you spend relaxing and recharging should fill you with vigour, energy and happiness. These precious moments should not be spent mindlessly.

It is understandable that once people reach a state of burnout, they are not in a place to think of fun, enjoyable activities for themselves. They may not have the time, energy, emotional resources or even value of life outside of ‘productivity’. Imagine getting into a rhythm where your life is optimized to be a balancing act between this notion of ‘success’ at work, and success in wellbeing. When you have success in wellbeing, you will be able to thrive even more at work. In other realms, you will be able to enjoy your days more, laugh more and perhaps see beauty in places you had not seen before.

1. Allot a day of the week to your wellbeing

Plan a day in advance EACH WEEK where you spend the day on your wellbeing. On this day, give yourself a limit to how many times you check your email, reply to messages, and take calls. You could go cycling with your family, go for a walk by yourself, take a yoga class… Anything that makes you feel energized.

2. Find a creative outlet

Did you love painting in high school, but gave it up as you got older? Have you been yearning to learn how to play a musical instrument? You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on this. At the beginning of the week, set aside an hour or two at the end of a day to immerse yourself in this activity. It will act as a great de-stressor, a motivator, and inspire you in other aspects of your life.

3. Get support where you can

The more you burnout, the less you engage in meaningful discussions with other people. Do you have a friend or partner who you can talk to regularly? This is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding burnout. A lot of people have trouble finding someone who they feel they can talk to about important aspects of their lives. They may not want to burden a friend or family member with their problems. Make time for your friends, partners and family members regularly. If you need additional assistance, mental health professionals are there to help you work through your problems in a judgement-free, supportive setting. Find someone who you feel comfortable with!

Learn to balance your life, and that’s true success.

 By: Kaya Quinsey

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How to Balance Personal Care and Raise a Family

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in Toronto

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in Toronto

When I first started my undergrad studies 13 years ago I attended school with a famous retired movie actress from London, England.  She one day asked me out to lunch and took me to a very swanky restaurant in Toronto and gave me the best advice I have heard till this day.  She told me all about her life as an actress and then when she married and become a wife and mother.  She told me “Dayana always remember, if you don’t take care of yourself first, then you won’t have anything to offer your children when you are spent”.  At that time I was 20 years old and the world was my oyster.  Marriage?! Please!! I was never getting married or having kids!! I was going to go to graduate school, be a famous psychologist (in my mind) and raise my three dogs!  However for some reason those word always remained.

Now let’s flash forward 13 years later.  I currently have three children all under the age of four, one dog, a husband, a house to maintain, a private practice to work in and I’m applying for my Ph.D. next year.  Needless to say my “never getting married or having kids” theme went out the window with raising my three kids instead of dogs at this point.  However the one thing that has never changed for me regardless of how busy I have become is remembering to take care of myself.  Don’t get me wrong at times I have completely forgotten about myself when life became too hectic.  However all it took was one look into the TTC subway window doors for me to say “wow you should have really combed your hair this morning”.  For anyone who rides the subway, you completely understand what I am saying here.  My friend calls it the “subway window check”.  That when you begrudgingly cram yourself into a tiny tin subway cart and turn around to stare out the window and you catch the first glimpse of what you really look like in the morning.  Or more like what you really look like to the world.

Part of raising a family means having very little time for your self. Nonetheless, part of maintaining a healthy attitude and outlook on life is providing personal care for yourself in order to maintain a beautiful mindset.  Beauty at the end of the day is a mindset.  No amount of makeup or clothes you wear will ever make you feel beautiful if you don’t already believe that within your inner self.   However how you look and physically feel about yourself does play a big role on your attitude and outlook.   So lets look at four areas where small changes can help!

Time

No matter who you are, what you do for a living or how many kids you have; we all have the same amount of time in a day, 24 hours and no more.  How you divide your time and how you manage it is up to you.  Part of what happens when you start providing no personal care for yourself is when we stop carving out time to do this.  Make sure you take time out during your busy day or week to do something awesome for yourself.  My children normally nap during the day from 12pm-2pm.  During this time I will read a book, nap, paint my nails, do my hair, pluck my eyebrows or whatever needs to be done on me.  I don’t always get to do this all the time, however when I do get the time I take advantage of it.  Dishes will always need to be done and laundry will always need to be folded.  But if I look more like the disheveled house maid and less like the one that owns the house, well then maybe I need to take a step back and re-evaluate my time.  Since time is limited for everyone scheduling in a “you” day even if it be for an hour can really make a difference.

Sleep

There’s an old saying “manage your time or someone else will manage it for you”.  I use to love to sleep in.  Sleep to me is the best thing ever created.  However once I had children, I realized that my sleep schedule was now being dictated accordingly to my children’s sleeping patterns.  Someone once told me “you can either accept the fact that after having kids you will never truly have uninterrupted sleep for a while, or you can fight against it and frustrate yourself even more”.  Once I realized the truth in this speech, I gave up the idea of sleep on my schedule and readjusted my thinking and time frames.   I can’t say I get 6-8 hours of sleep at night.  Last week I got 4 hours in two days because of work and the kids.  However, I can say that I no longer carry a negative mindset about sleeping.  I now realize that my sleep will be affected for a while and the best thing I can do is adjust my attitude towards it.  I also bought really good concealer to cover up those dark under eye circles on days that I don’t get much (or any sleep) like last week!

Beauty

Beauty is really skin deep.  However with all that being said, if your outside reflects more like you have been hit by a tornado of sharks (hey I saw the movie) then few people will approach you thinking you have actually been hit by a tornado of sharks.  When I was growing up my mother always said “Dayana the day you have kids you will cut your hair short in order to save on time”.  I have three kids and the youngest is 9 months old.  My hair touches my lower back.  I have no plans of cutting it soon.  Sure does it take time to wash, dry and style? No doubt.  However I know short hair does not suit me and I will not affect my own self esteem simply to save time.  Instead, in the last four years of raising my children I have made it a point to always crave out time during the week to keep my appearance reasonable. Sure at times I have not always looked the greatest, but those days have only been far, few and in between.  If I can take time out to shower, eat and dress and then I can also take a few extra minutes to comb my hair and slap on some lip gloss.  Your appearance speaks volumes about you.  The last thing I want is people wondering if I live an unhappy life because I constantly look like I rolled out of bed. Rolling out of bed is not a look.  Period.  How you see yourself in the mirror reflects greatly on what is going on inside you mentally.  So pay attention to your appearance as your children see it as well.

Mindset

Your mindset is either your greatest weapon or worse enemy in keeping up with your personal care. If you believe giving up all rights to yourself and devoting them solely to your kids and household will benefit you then be careful, as everyone burns out with no personal care.  This is like the workaholic who never stops working and neglects themselves for the sake for other duties.  Everyone crashes and burns when they “don’t stop to smell the roses”.  My kids need all my love and attention and I make sure to give it to them.  However if I offer nothing to myself and I am spent with nothing to give them, then what exactly am I am offering them if I am all burnt out?  This is how frustration, resentment and depression can potentially set in.  In my practice I have seen many parents burnt out because of lack of personal care.  Make sure to always take care of yourself, there is only one of you and many people depend on your better wellbeing.

By: Dayana Romero

Dayana Romero