Relax! You’ll Be More Productive is a recent New York Times article that highlights the many benefits of introducing self-care practices into the work place.
Despite what our workaholic culture may say, people are not machines and our bodies and minds are not meant to be “on” 24/7. This quote is a great reminder of this:
The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.
So before you power through the next work hour without lunch, consider taking a few moments to refuel first. Balance out your energy expenditures so that you can receive as much as you give. Restoration over exhaustion!
This featured image is a magazine photo collage I created with this very idea in mind. Breathe, stretch, and schedule in time to restore your mind, body and soul each and every day. This small investment in time will not only benefit you, it will increase your creativity and productivity on the job. Bonus!
I’m excited to announce that I am offering a free book study on Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. This is a great opportunity to actively jumpstart wellness and self-care resolutions for the new year! In addition, connect with like-minded peers and prepare for the author’s upcoming Austin workshop, A Day of Transforming Trauma.
I had the pleasure of meeting Brene Brown at the Texas Conference for Women, where she promoted her newest book, Daring Greatly. This title was inspired by a wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Yes…busting through the fear of failure is true vulnerability…and is worth doing, no matter what the outcome.
”I’ve known many people who have spent years exercising daily, getting massages, doing yoga, faithfully following one food or vitamin regimen after another, pursuing spiritual teachers and different styles of meditation, all in the name of taking care of themselves. Then something bad happens to them and all those years don’t seem to have added up to the inner strength and kindness for themselves that they need to relate with what’s happening. And they don’t add up to being able to help other people or the environment.
When taking care of ourselves is all about me, it never gets at the unshakable tenderness and confidence that we’ll need when everything falls apart. When we start to develop . . . unconditional acceptance of ourselves, then we’re really taking care of ourselves in a way that pays off. We feel more at home with our own bodies and minds and more at home in the world. As our kindness for ourselves grows, so does our kindness for other people.”
-Pema Chodron, Taking The Leap (2009)
This quote gets to the heart of why I am leading REFUEL: A Support Group for Helping Professionals to Strengthen Self-Care Practices. I am creating a filling station for the over-worked helping professional. Each week we check in, make art and then process it together. As a result, we feel heard, valued, and truly refueled for the challenges ahead. Come join us! The next three groups are: July 11, 18, and 25. The cost is much less than a massage or even a tank of gas.
On my drive to work on Saturday morning, I was literally running on empty. With the fuel light on, I was racing the clock, trying to cram as much as I could into the little time that I had before my morning group at the treatment center. Fortunately, during group I was able to slow down and be present for others. It was a beautiful spring day and we had group outside. I even made some art! But alas, after work I was back to the grind. I had just a little time left to refuel the car and then my stomach. I ate as I drove to get yet another errand done before I had to report back home to my primary job at home as Mommy.
Running on empty…this is a chronic condition we all battle, especially helping professionals. Once we get our work done, THEN we can rest and relax, right? But the problem is, our work and responsibilities are never ending! We defer self-care for when when we have more time, energy, resources, etc. But the reality is that this time rarely comes UNLESS we schedule it.
So we are chronically running on empty and not making time for self-care. We can beat ourselves up about this or we can accept it and work with it. One gift of being empty is that we have the choice to fill ourselves up with what we really want. What do you want? I want a weekly sabbath, a dedicated time for me to slow down and focus on my own self-care. I want to make more art for myself. I want to reconnect with other helping professionals who are struggling with this very same issue and create a healing, creative place where acceptance, support, and inspiration happen. Wanna join me?
I’m excited to announce that this summer I am launching REFUEL: A Support Group for Helping Professionals to Strengthen Self-Care Practices. It is a filling station for the overworked and costs much less than a tank of gas. It meets six Wednesdays this summer from 10-11:30 at my office in North Central Austin. It is an open group, so you can come for one session or attend all six. Please pre-register to secure your spot (each group is capped at 6).
Welcome to Airhart Therapy! I specialize in art therapy for school-aged youth through adults, offering a variety of expressive therapy techniques (art, sand tray, journaling, creative writing and play therapy) in addition to traditional talk therapy. My passion is self-care and wellness for all, including helping professionals who often struggle with finding the optimum work/life balance. I offer a creative, client-centered and solution-focused approach to therapy that benefits people of all ages. I welcome you to my website and invite you to read more about my art therapy practice!
Ruth Airhart, Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Art Therapist