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  • Fe Robinson

Self-care needs to flex with time and circumstances

All good things come to an end, and as usual I’ve completed my work with several clients in the last month or so. A key theme of the end of therapeutic work is forward planning. We explore how they can maintain a self-care regime that works for them. We consider what the signs are that a client might look out for that would let them know their mental health was declining. We explore what they can do if they notice a decline, what resources and support they have that they can bring to bear.

It’s important to note that all of this is personal to each client. There is no one magic formula that will work for everyone. There is not even a magic formula that will forever work for any one of us. It’s more important to have a variety of self-care approaches, a breadth and depth of ways you look after yourself, that you can flex as and when your circumstances or needs change.

Clients often talk about every-day things like getting good sleep, eating well and being hydrated. Most will have exercise and physical activity in the mix. Connection is another theme essential to most people, connection with other people, connection with nature. Hobbies and interests provide good protection for mental health, and if it's the right environment so does work. Increasingly meditative practices play a part for people, whether this be meditation, yoga, prayer, t’ai chi or any other similar practice.

We each need to know what it is that energises us and maintains / lifts self-esteem. These things are important to hold to; although we also need to hold them lightly lest they become sticks with which to beat ourselves when we do not do them. Not too loose, not too tight, holding to looking after ourselves but being flexible about the ways we do that as our needs morph and change.

Self-care is not a fad, its not new, and it will never not matter. In the current environment socio-economically and politically many people are feeling more pressure, and have need of increased resilience to address this.

If you are struggling and in need of support to boost your well-being, psychotherapy may be useful to you. I practice online with UK clients, and in person in Darlington in the north-east of England, for support, feel free to get in touch.

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