This month is Counseling Awareness month and as I began writing this post I had a few topics I considered writing on, but putting spring colored nails to keyboard I realized that what's coming up for me at this moment is reclaiming my peace. After the March madness that ensued (no pun intended) it is definitely time to get back in balance and move forward with the hope of all the great things that are coming. The month of March was like your little cousins that came to visit; they came, made a mess, and just left you there with the responsibility of cleaning up. As frustrating and disappointing as it feels when things don't go our way we need those moments to help us learn things about ourselves, others, and the world around us.
The first day of spring to me felt like a breath of fresh air, given all of the madness that lead up to that point. It was on that day that I truly began to see a perspective shift in myself (yes, I'm a therapist, but I'm also human). Spring serves as a time of renewal; letting go of those dead ways of thinking/being, dead relationships, dead ends (yes, this is a hair reference haha), etc. and provides an opportunity to bloom into something new. Just as much as we need and want the good times, the bad or not so great times serve a purpose as well. I'm from Upstate New York and winter for us was always terrible (you want to see some snow, take a trip to Buffalo in winter!) and I looked forward to Summer because that meant warmer weather, time outside with friends, bbq grills smoking in the backyard, and getting wet (before I was too "grown" to get my hair wet). What would summer have been without the experience of Winter? I can honestly say that most likely I wouldn't have taken full advantage of the good weather if I didn't experience months and months of heavy coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and long johns (for those of you who haven't lived this life, long johns are thermal underclothes). I say all of that to say that life is unpredictable, messy, confusing, scary, beautiful, insert a plethora of adjectives here, but the key to navigating this journey is to constantly be checking in with yourself and ensuring that you are doing what needs to be done to maintain your peace.
When you find yourself thrown off balance, you reflect, evaluate, and then take action in order to get back on track. So when I say reflect, I mean let yourself FEEL the feelings. Oftentimes we have been taught to run away from that, but leaning in to how we are feeling gives us information we need in order to know how to move forward from the feeling. The key is just not to let yourself stay there too long. When I say evaluate, I mean determine what's causing the feeling. Which leads me to the step of taking action. Taking action is the hardest part because that means we can no longer give excuses to faulty ways of thinking, negative relationships, unhealthy work environments, etc. Action means it's time to decide to do what's most important: TAKE CARE OF YOU (that means some people are not going to be happy and some things just aren't going to get done). As a therapist, I am constantly talking to my clients about taking care of themselves on a daily basis whether that means taking time to disconnect from social media, indulge in a favorite TV show, go for a walk, enjoy a delicious meal, or just give themselves permission to pause for a moment and as much as I say this to them I have to remind myself of the same. So taking care of ourselves not only means doing the things, but it also means being honest with ourselves and giving grace when we forget, are unable, are unwilling, etc. and know that we are human. We may not be perfect, but we all should be constantly striving to be better because when we know better we do better, right?!