8/3/2020 0 Comments
If your car exhaust was rattling, would you take it to the garage, or would you wait until it fell off before getting it repaired?
Most people would want to take it to the garage as soon as possible as they know that if they left it, it might lead to more damage and a higher bill.
And yet a lot of people only think of coming to counselling when they’ve reached rock bottom. It’s seen as a last resort.
But you don’t have to reach a certain level of struggle for it to be ‘ok’ to have counselling.
Counselling is really good self-care. It’s a way of helping yourself when you’re starting to struggle, and putting it off could mean you will struggle for longer.
As with the car exhaust analogy, counselling can be about prevention - nipping it in the bud before things get too bad.
In fact, nothing has to be ‘wrong’ with you to see a counsellor. Counselling can be one of the most positive things you can do, and if you want to feel better, why wouldn’t you go to counselling?
The cost is sometimes seen as a stumbling block, but think about it as an investment in yourself. You’d pay for your car to be serviced, so why not pay for yourself to have a mental health MOT? I know it’s not cheap, and only you know what you can afford, but imagine being free from what is troubling you and how much difference that would make to your happiness.
Counselling can help you to:
Improve your confidence Improve your relationships
Silence your inner critic Create better boundaries
Overcome anxiety Process a traumatic experience
Understand yourself better Feel calmer
Sleep better Feel less stress
Improve your communication Learn to say no
Make positive changes Have a better work/life balance
Laugh more Relax more
Increase your self care Be more assertive
Be kinder to yourself Understand your needs
Eat/drink less Improve your libido
Counselling is the ultimate self-care for those of you who want a better life.
So what’s stopping you coming for counselling? Let me know in the comments below, or if you’d like to ask me more about how counselling could help you, visit my Contact Me page and send me a message.
“I’m just not good enough”
How often have you said that to yourself when you’ve struggled with a task or things haven’t gone your way? Or maybe it’s a label you carry around with you every day?
But what is it to be good enough?
You may have had a productive day yesterday, and so you ‘reward’ yourself for being ‘good enough’, but today was a different story…. You didn’t get much sleep last night, the kids were playing up this morning, you burnt the toast for breakfast… all of this meant you were cranky and tired and didn’t get as much done as you’d have liked, so you ‘punish’ yourself for not being ‘good enough’.
The outcome of both days may have been different, but if you take into account all the things that happened today, you were ‘good enough’, just as you were yesterday – it’s just the circumstances that were different.
Maybe all you could do yesterday was get out of bed and sit on the couch – that was your ‘good enough’ for yesterday. But maybe today, even getting out of bed was too much to manage – that was your ‘good enough’ for today.
This time, the differing circumstances could have been anything from being in physical pain, feeling emotionally drained, or just generally not being in the mood to get up!
‘Good enough’ doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It’s a non-judgemental acceptance that what you do, or who you are, is ‘enough’, whatever the circumstances.
And, as we’ve seen in the examples above, one day’s ‘good enough’ may be different to another day’s ‘good enough’.
Our concept of being good enough (or not) comes from judging ourselves against a set of criteria based on expectations (either our own or other people’s). It’s like we have a checklist in our head, and it’s only if we can tick off all the boxes on the list, that we deem ourselves to be good enough. If not, then we declare ourselves to be not good enough.
But what if you feel you’re not ticking any of the ‘good enough’ boxes?
Then it’s time to closely examine what is on your checklist (a counsellor can help you do this, if it feels too much to do by yourself). Ask yourself:
This can be a long, and sometimes painful, process, so take your time with it, and remember to look after yourself and offer yourself kindness, forgiveness and understanding throughout – and always ask for support if it feels too much.
It may not always feel like it, but whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever the situation, you are good enough. No exceptions!
If you have any comments on this post, I’d love to hear from you, either by posting a comment below or by contacting me privately via the contact page.
Self–care – everyone is talking about it, but what actually is it?
Self-care is anything that allows us to switch off, relax, and recharge our batteries (mentally or physically).
We wouldn’t let our mobile phone run out of charge, and yet how often do we ourselves function on empty? We run around trying to juggle a million different things, often trying to be everything to everyone, and yet, even if we do manage to tick off everything on our to-do list, we’re left feeling exhausted – and then start all over again the next day.
You may be reading this and thinking you don’t have a choice, and self-care feels like another thing to add to the list of things to do today. But you do have a choice, and even taking 5-10 minutes for yourself can make all the difference.
It’s so easy to put others first and forget to look after ourselves, or maybe think we are being selfish if we do. But I always think about the safety message on aeroplanes which asks us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help others with theirs. Basically, if we don't put ourselves first, we're in no position to help others!
Remember, self-care is never selfish – you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Taking time for yourself, whatever that looks like, is a priority, not a luxury.
What does your self-care look like? (For me, it’s a long walk, a cheesy feel-good film, or singing along to my favourite songs). Let me know in the comments below.
And if you have any specific questions about self-care and how to make it work for you, head over to my contact page and send me a message: Contact Me
We’ve all felt anxiety at some point – the sweaty palms before a job interview, the butterflies before a first date, the dry mouth before making an important phone call, but for some of us, anxiety can be something we live with every day and can be so debilitating if can stop us from living the life we want to.
I have anxiety myself – not a claim you’d expect a counsellor to make, but I’ll telling you this to let you know that it can affect anyone at any time, and there is no shame in it. It’s not a guilty little secret we need to keep hidden. In fact, the more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes, because it is a normal response when we are unsure, uncertain, or not feeling in control.
As I write this, in May 2020, we are currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life as we knew it has changed for the vast majority of us, and if there was any time to be unsure, uncertain or not in control, then this is it! So it should come to no surprise that a lot of us are feeling anxious at the moment.
So, we’ve acknowledged we’re feeling anxious, now what can we do about it?
Well, as anxiety can occur when we feel we’re not in control, we can help lessen the effects of anxiety by finding things in our lives that we can control.
Here are some things you could try:*
*Disclaimer alert! This is by no means a definitive list, and I’m not saying that if you do all the things on the list, you will be ‘cured’ of your anxiety! It is merely a list of suggestions that may help reduce your feelings of anxiety to a more manageable level.
As I said in my disclaimer earlier, this isn’t a ‘do this and your anxiety will disappear’ type of list, and if you really are struggling with your anxiety, then I recommend seeking help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
And if you are in crisis, call NHS 24 (111), the Samaritans (116 123), or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87).
So, have any of these things on the list helped you? Or maybe you have your own suggestion to add? Leave a comment and let me know.
And if you have a more specific/personal question to ask, head over to my contact page and drop me a line: https://www.beckystokes-counsellor.co.uk/contact-me.html