As a counselor we invite people to become more open to us, total strangers. And what do they do? They open up to us, telling us somethings that have never been expressed to even their closest loved ones.
I have a confession about the lack of self care that I was giving myself most of last year. Some of you know that I have been working on becoming a licensed professional for sometime now. It cost a lot, it takes a lot of energy, studying and stress. I think I should be an MD judging by the hoops I’ve had to jump to become an LPC-MHSP. Thank Goodness that I did not have any children during this journey, nor a husband. Why does it matter if I am licensed or not? Well when you’re not licensed it limits your financial potential and one is not able to practice independently. Now the frustration is that I am so close that I have to wait a few more months and the anticipation is killing me.
Anyway before the start of 2018 while I was on a break from work, I reviewed my eat out budget..or the lack thereof between the months of August-December. I estimated that the amount I ate out came to about half of one of my credit cards. I was SHOCKED!! And my health showed that I was not caring for myself. Why did I decide to do just Aug-Dec months…because I was in internship. My days were 10-14 hours long. I’d leave the house at 7:30am and return at 8:30/9pm. I saw patients at my job and then saw clients at my internship during those months. I was worn and never did meal prep, didn’t cook and I stopped working out in September right after the death of my dear sister friend.
There were so many life circumstances that hit every month in 2017. Whenever I’d bounced back from one, something else came to hit me in the gut. When December came, I completed internship and I was excited to be able to take the holidays off from work. I was exhausted. There were times I had patients talking to me and I’d feel faint, dizzy or just blah. A counselor’s job can be tiresome and days off are essential for self care and mental wellness.
On my days off I slept so well. I was able to grieve over not having boo thing since he moved overseas…I spent time with my family. I took a few days away to Memphis where it all started in college. I got to spend time with my bestie, my sissy in West TN. On NYE I went to church with my bestie, then later that night traveled to the store to pick up my materials to make my gratitude/accomplishment board and my vision board. NYE looked a lot different than it did in 2016, but I was ok with it.
I checked into my hotel and it was so extremely cold in Memphis, the coldest NYE I have ever felt at least in my adult years. I was glad to be indoors and in the comfort of my hotel room. I made my accomplishment board while Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy were freezing their tails off to help the world bring in the NY. By the time New York had their celebration, I celebrated as well on EST and then went to bed…I couldn’t wait on CST. I slept the best that night and didn’t get out into the NY until after 1pm.
The best thing about being in Memphis is the vast amount of shopping that is not available as much in Nashville. The even better part about being in Memphis is how close it is to Mississippi where the sales tax is almost 5% lower. So I spent my NY shopping in Mississippi on a cold yet beautiful January 1, 2018. I hadn’t shopped in a very long time. It felt good, but I also realized that eating out had caught up to the kid.
January 2nd came and it was time to return home, but I met my mom in Jackson for breakfast then headed home. Once I got home, I realized my pipes had frozen. Thank God the maintenance man was close by to unthaw my pipes so I could wash. Later on that night I completed my vision board and was/am mighty proud of it.
Jan 2nd after making my board, I vowed to work on the goals that I’d glued onto my board. Saving money is one thing on my board and to do that, I lowered my eating out budget. Rather than $330 a month, I would spend $100 or less, preferably $75. I am proud to say that in January, I only at out 5 times which one included when I was in Memphis and when I returned from Memphis. I am so happy about making that change. I had forgotten about the joy of cooking for myself. I am back to watching my food intake and will return to exercising this week. I am kinda excited about sweating and earning the best body I can get.
Has life gotten any easier since the New Year…umm, it’s better than having to go to internship and class..but I’ve had somethings that have caused me pause…yet I am taking better care of myself. I got my hair washed, deep conditioned, trimmed and flat ironed in January..new paint on the nails and a brighter smile just because I know that God is good.
I preach self care all of the time to my patients, but I had been failing at it. *side note* Counselors, or anyone.. if you work a job that tells you that you can’t take paid days off until you are a 12 month employee. RUN as fast as you can! This is my problem as we speak. Anyway, I preach self care to patients and other counselors but I fail at it several times over. I’m a work in progress. And hope you are too.