It's the most wonderful time of the year - apparently. But that doesn't seem to fit with the conversations I keep having in therapy. People keep asking me if it's normal to feel overwhelmed by the holiday season, to feel done with it already, to feel wearied by the constant treadmill of give and take. They ask me why, if it's supposed to be so wonderful, do they feel so anxious about it, so broken down by it. Why, when everyone is telling them to be happy, they feel the opposite.
Hello and welcome to my blog! I've been thinking about setting up a blog for a while now, and the end of the year seems like a good enough time to start. In this post, I want to talk a bit about how I try to keep myself functioning at a level where I can care for other people, in a world that can be stressful and daunting at times.
Being a clinical psychologist can be a challenge to my own physical and mental well-being. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. Being able to connect with people from so many different walks of life, with the goal of helping them to do things they thought they would never do again, is an incredible way to spend your time. But it does have its downsides, which have often been minimised in the past. In more recent history, there has been an acknowledgement that mental health workers don't exist in a vacuum, and that keeping ourselves well is an important part of our responsibility to our clients and to ourselves. You can't drink from an empty cup, or so the saying goes.
Here are six different ways that I try and keep myself on an even keel. Life is stressful, and I don't always succeed, but as long as you keep trying you're already part of the way there.
Dr Sarah Blackshaw: Clinical Psychologist, blogger, tea drinker, interested in dinosaurs and shiny objects