This is best viewed in a dark room. If you have a break in the day before getting off work..debrief this way before you hit the road for home. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did this just for you. *insert deep breathing here*
*Counselor Chris P does not own any rights to the meditation video*
Do something incredible for yourself. From enjoying the colors of the trees with a walk on a trail. To taking funny pictures with your family or cooking for college games with a whole lot of people at your home messing it up! Or my most favorite thing is the spa day! Go get those toes or nails done. Don’t Forget to unplug!
Self Care is the best care!
Counselor Chris P!
Comment, share or read about how counseling4counselor.com creates a safe space for one to vent their frustrations, their needs and praise reports even anonymously if needed! I’ve been there. Many times co-workers cannot help and supervisors definitely cannot help.
I’ll be waiting right here,
Peace and Blessings,
Counselor Chris P.
Come sit with me by the Cascade. This photo was taken in Pearisburg, VA a small rural town at the most popular hiking spot in Southwest Virginia called the Cascades. The falls are so gorgeous. The water stays crisp and cool around 40 degrees on even the hottest day. When I moved to Virginia back in 2012, I had never been hiking a day in my adult life. My first hike to this beautiful swimming spot, rest area, sacred haven and snack break opportunity was not an easy one. It’s two miles up a mountain where no cellphones work, where there are steep rock stairs, water rushing through rocks, sometimes slippery terrain and high elevation. Then there was me…an amateur at all of it. Within 10 mins I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew. I was in the company of three people and two dogs who had been up those two very steep miles many times before. They were fit individuals and I have no idea HOW and WHY they asked me to go. I felt foolish…but not undefeated. I was going to get up that mountain even if it took me passing away 405 miles away from my nearest kin.
While on my way up, one person out of the three individuals and two dogs, stayed back with me coaching me along the way. She made me feel like it was ok to stop and rest, stop and take my time, stop and cuss, stop and care for myself, stop and realize that I had never done this before in my life. I was overwhelmed, breathing hard, praying and cussing(bad combo I know). It just felt like a lung relief to say “shhhhhh***!!!!” aloud. I remember the date in my head. 4/14/12 because that was the day I thought would be written on my tombstone from running out of oxygen..on a mountain in the middle of nowhere with people I had just met!
All I could see while making my climb up the mountain was the backs of the other two people’s heels. I envied the two dogs for their extra legs and their energy! OMG. I did finally make it up to this beautiful Cascade after a 1.5-2 hour struggle. Right before arriving to the waterfall, people who were walking back from the water encouraged us by saying, “You are so close! The water is just around the corner. Can you hear it?” Of course all I could hear was my heart beating, but they were right. When I arrived I felt a cool wind blowing on my face and as I looked up, I was greeted by the most beautiful sight I had ever seen outside of google images. I immediately felt much relief and was energized by it. We took about an hour break on the rocks, gazing at the waterfall, rehydrating and breathing. The hardest part of the hike was over.
My take away was that I was glad I took that new experience. I would never take it back. Matter of fact, since my first hike, I took about six more trips up that mountain at various times until I moved back home in 2014. I could think of many friends back home, who would’ve looked at people sideways if they’d mentioned hiking with the phrase, “do you want?” So I stepped outside of my comfort zone literally.
If it wasn’t hard work then I’m not sure how well I would’ve appreciated the beauty of the waterfall. I had to learn to care for myself and not compare my hike to those who it came easy for. A lot of times while we, the helping professional, are at work, we feel incompetent about the work we are doing because of our salary, poor management, our student loans are higher than our salaries, or even our client’s repeating behaviors cause us to feel this way. We can be tired, overwhelmed, stressed and full of anxiety over our case notes and diagnosis and this does not even include our personal lives . Hiking was a physical and mental demonstration to me that I literally could not catch up with the other two people and the dogs. My body would not let me push! I was at my limit so many times. I was so thankful for the one who coached me through it. I think I would’ve cried, sat down and quit if she was not there.
How many of us have a coach/cheerleader for our work or even our personal lives? We may wear on our friends or spouses who do not understand our psychological jargon although they try. Counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, case managers etc can lead a life that is isolated from others. You maybe the only person at work/school that is apart of the mental health team or your work may require your office to be from your car for hours a day. It is not always easy, just like climbing the mountain was not easy for me. I have seen people fall into bad health, substance use or having to take psychotropic medications just to function for work. Why? Historically we have felt that is not ok to be a counselor that needs help. A counselor/therapist that at times may need to stop and rest, stop and pray, stop and breathe, stop and realize that you literally can NOT go any further. Your body will not let you push. What will you need/take at the times when you can not breathe? A coach/cheerleader, a team, a website( cough cough), an off day or two and most importantly some oxygen!
Now onto the beauty part…the beauty of working so hard at joining in other’s journeys is just like that waterfall was to me. I felt the cool wind on my face, looked up to see my present..For those of us in the helping profession, the beauty can be an ex client who has returned to give you an update on how well they are doing. One of my ex clients, a young student went to Afghanistan as a Marine. When he returned home, he became a firefighter. I was invited by his grandmother to come visit before he was deployed overseas. When I arrived to their home, his friends knew exactly who I was because my student talked about me a lot. They told me stories about how they wished they had a counselor when they were in high school. They were a bit jealous of my kiddo when he transferred schools, started making better grades and graduated from high school. They knew he was getting the right amount of care. Unfortunately, my kiddo was in a motorcycle accident a year after he returned from his tour of duty and was killed. (Client death is a topic for later). Even after his death, I was found on social media by a guy who served in the Marines with my kiddo overseas. The guy shared with me what my kiddo had shared with him. The story of his counselor he had that changed his life. He said, if it were not for Counselor Chris P, he would not have been able to serve our country. This knowledge of my work not being in vain, my troubling times up that mountain with my kiddo was my waterfall experience. The moment I looked up and felt the cool wind hit my face then exhaled to take it all into my spirit.
And you see, the birth of counseling4counselor.com has been in the making for a long while. Thanks for stopping in. Don’t forget to share, comment and follow! Remember the best care is self care!
Peace and Blessings,
Counselor Chris P
Check out the author and creator. Counselor Chris P
I have thought about doing this website for a few weeks now, so you can say I have been in labor!! Today I thought it was necessary to go ahead and deliver this big ole baby! It means so much to me to have you come visit my darling new baby and wishing her well! Thank you! Let me tell you all the plans I have in store! You should look forward to posts about how to care for yourself as a person in the helping profession. Most workers have unions to that actually fight for them in case of injustice, others have corporate perks like a wellness plan or appreciation dinners and bonuses/raises to look forward to. The helping profession most of the time does not come with those perks. The perks are just being home at the end of a long day and eating or finding the couch. There is no room in the budget for extra or perks. Who are you to ask for a bonus!? Hahaha “We are a grant funded organization, so is your position with our non profit agency. We are a small, barebones employer with high rate insurance for basic healthcare. We are on a spending freeze..we haven’t bounced back from the recession..No drive your own car to the client’s house, that’s in the contract”..Which one have you heard?
There are no corporate days out of the field to rub elbows with the high pollutant folks. There are no appreciation steak dinners that celebrate why YOU are so awesome at what YOU DO! Wait..but there are pizza days at work or the potluck once every so often. Did you sign up to bring your dish on this non paycheck week? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little perturbed by being shown appreciation with snacks that will cause me heartburn. Where’s the steak/salmon for that rough on-call weekend?! Do you know how many miles I put on my car for this job?? How many hours I was snatched away from my family due to this work environment?
Awww..the baby is getting fussy right now. It must be time for a little nap. I have to go calm the baby down but we will return. Happy Birthday to my new precious Counseling4Counselor.com. Send some shout outs to her when she awakes!