It has been a stressful week. My usual go-to coping skill is distraction. I will do everything in my power to keep busy. Idle time equals time to think. I was like the Energizer Bunny except there I was a point I would not keep going. This coping strategy only worked for so long. Sooner or later, there is nothing left.
A number of my friends, family, colleagues, and clients fall back on this strategy. Just earlier this week, I was on the phone with a client’s mother. She was telling me how concerned she was about her son who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. She went on about how his symptoms are worsening and that she cannot keep this up. Prior to this conversation, I also found out that her husband (my client’s father) was arrested for a DUI. This resulted in the mother transporting her husband back and forth from work each day and driving across state to check in on her son. I stopped her mid-sentence and asked, “What are you doing to take care of yourself?” She started balling her eyes out. In the midst of the nonstop chaos, she had forgotten herself. She had not given herself a break.
It is okay to take a breather. In fact, it is essential for self-care and self-preservation. For myself, this meant scaling back on my workload and household chores for the time being until I started feeling better. For the mother, I suggested talking to her friends, drinking coffee in the morning, or reading the newspaper. The activities range from stopping to take a deep breath to taking a month-long vacation. Rest and relaxation provide us with time to reflect. It gives out bodies and minds time to repair. It allows our well-beings to replenish lost energy. It gives us balance to counteract the constant flow of everyday routine.
Moral of the story: Give yourself a break.
-The Caring Counselor