Episode 159 How To Step Up Your Holistic Game: Solo Episode By Chris McDonald

Dec 15, 2023

Is your holistic journey getting stagnant? How can you stay attuned to your needs and make intentional choices that align with your overall well-being?


In today’s episode, I will discuss how you can reignite your holistic game, both personally and professionally. I’ll also go into detail on some reflection questions to ask yourself and why they are important.

  • What am I missing?
  • What needs to be subtracted?
  • Are you taking on too much?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What areas are you able to “get into flow?”
  • What area of your life have you been ignoring?
  • What can you improve on?
  • How can you bring more body, mind, and spirit modalities into your daily routine?

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The Art of Breath: How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions with Chris McDonald, LCMHCS


Chris McDonald: Are you feeling bored or stuck with what you're providing in therapy? Or maybe you feel like you've gotten away from the holistic routines you love. If so, this episode is for you and I'll be sharing some reflection questions to help guide you to understanding where you are, what is missing and how you can build up your holistic game, both personally and professionally.

Let's take this journey together. On today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist.

I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Hey, listeners, and welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. This is going to be a solo episode. As I went for a walk this morning, I was thinking, I don't even have a topic. I had to think that up, but it just came to me. I love walking. It really helps my creativity and ideas just come to me.

I don't know if I'm connecting into universal energy or my spirit guides or somehow it just makes me more open, but I keep getting all these wonderful downloads as I'm walking. So this episode is called how to step up your holistic game. So I'm going to be talking about. How you can help yourself both personally and professionally.

And I thought this might be helpful to give you some ideas for self reflection and some things you can do, especially if you're feeling stuck. Or maybe you've been doing the same thing over and over, and initially you were super excited and loved it, but now it's kind of feeling stagnant. So if that's you, this episode is for you.

So an example that's happened to me, so I love yoga, as you know, but guess what? I got trained, I did some seated yoga from 2015, then I got my yoga certification by 2019. That's great. And it's so fun and exciting when you do something new. And I couldn't wait to share with clients and build my personal practice.

But I found by 2022, I was kind of like, I'm kind of getting bored of the same asanas and breath work and really wanted to expand my horizons and also with meditation. Because I've done meditation for a while now and I don't think people talk about this, that sometimes it just gets a little boring. I like to stoke the fires a little bit, learn something new.

And yeah, yeah. Sometimes it can be a little bit isolating too, because I had not built up my full community, right, holistic community by 2022, so that's still in process. I feel like I have more connections now, but sometimes it's just good to kind of step back for a moment, get into your objective mind and see which areas might need a little booster, stepping up your holistic game.

Because I think there are so many benefits to doing this. Using more holistic modalities with yourself and your clients. Because again, I think for you as a clinician, remembering how much it can help you to be centered, grounded, more patient. Remember, building that resiliency in your brain, in your mind, so that you can handle more of the stressors that come your way, so you can stay more within your window of tolerance and not be so reactive to things.

So it's kind of keeping your zen on the way I like to look at it. And also this energy. of groundedness, centeredness can be picked up by clients in session. So they can also feel that, that co regulation and feel calmer themselves because they were with you as a calm presence. So it can make you more effective in sessions.

So there's a lot of benefits personally and professionally. And if you are feeling more grounded. your outcomes are just going to be so much better with clients. So I think that it's like connecting with that higher vibration as a clinician and personally too, because we can't separate those. Those are interchangeable.

To me, learning more and continuing to learn and up level our holistic practices brings something a little bit extra to our lives and who we are as a person. We can always learn more, I think. And just to share an example, Recently, the past month, it's, I think I've been a little bit more burned out. I've just had that kind of dullness with doing therapy and just all different parts of what I'm doing professionally and business wise.

And I realized that my anxiety was increasing. I just had a really busy fall and didn't decompress or downtime. And I really need a lot of downtime as an introvert or I just get crazy. It just really affects my. nervous system if I don't have enough time to decompress and just being on the go so much and I traveled two weekends in a row in October, it was just too much for me.

I've had better planning now, so I'm in a much better space, but I did notice I've gone gotten my own therapist in the meantime to help me through this and she's a blessing. Oh my gosh, so much. What I realized is that I'm just. Wasn't being mindful, I was moving away from mindfulness practices and going too far in the future with my anxiety.

And, you know, as I step into this realm of teaching therapists, yoga and how to integrate to sessions that has brought up just a boatload of emotions. At times, self doubt, imposter syndrome, so many things and really need to try to work through that. Um, the anxiety was just really getting out of hand. So as I've worked through brain spotting and my own therapy and, and just being open to receiving downloads from Spirit, I just feel like I've been able to get myself.

more connected to myself, really doing reflection on where I am and where I want to go. Because I think there has been some shifts inside of me in a good way that, you know, I can really see more opportunities for myself than I ever imagined. This is 2023 as a recorder. This is a big year for me because this is 10th year since I left the school system as a school counselor.

And I. Had only just started to put together my business, didn't have an office space till 2015, never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be able to have a podcast to make money off of, or be able to offer yoga to therapists and. I've been able to do so many different things, which I love. I love teaching.

It's just really, really fun. And to see the results of that is amazing. But I think the lesson in all this is we all can get off that present moment awareness and sometimes further away from that than we want to. And that impacts us body minded spirits so much. But the good news is we can get back and I used IFS on myself and realized my executor, my director and my brain part was in super duper overdrive and just hitting the road and one in like, almost like beating me up, just like here, you have to do it.

No, you're not doing it this way. And. Just putting a course together, it just got to be too much with this part of myself. But once I told it to settle down, to back up a little bit, not completely, because I need them. I need you. I appreciate you. And I thank them. So giving gratitude to those parts, even if sometimes they go into overdrive is important.

Cause they do have your best interest in mind. So I appreciated that. I told him I appreciate them and thank them and give, send them much blessing because I wouldn't be where I am without my executor in my brain, but you could be a little nicer and be a little bit more supportive, which I feel like it.

Things have shifted some and through brain spotting, I've been able to feel calmer about all of this because part of who I am is I like to be prepared and I think that might just be part of my anxious nature introversion. I'm not sure, but I like to, I always got projects done ahead of time for school.

I always would monitor my time and organize everything. I still do that in my private practice to also in my podcasts. Now that I think about it and planning ahead. Just makes me feel more in control of things. But as I start this course for therapists, I'm creating it as I go, which is amazing. I'm so pleased and happy I have these wonderful clinicians signed up with me.

But then my big picture brain looks at, Oh my God, you're beating for 10 weeks. And you have to start from scratch and starts to panic. And the executor goes into overdrive and it's like this vicious cycle. And, and sometimes I get that little voice of imposter syndrome. Like, who are you to do this? And do you really have the credentials?

It's like that self doubt, just kind of, I sunk into that for a little while. I'm not going to lie, but I've been able to bring myself out of it. I'm working on myself with this and getting back to that mindful awareness. Cause, and it makes me feel a little bit. Contradictory because I teach it to clients to be more present and I realized, well, geez, I wasn't being as mindful, but that's okay.

Nobody is perfect. We all have our downsides. We all get away from, I call it the light of wellbeing. So finding your way back to the light is okay. I know that comes in waves. Sometimes you might be high on that, the light of wellbeing for a long time, but then, you know, life happens, right? Unexpected happens, can throw us off.

So finding your way back. So what about you? Are you in your light of wellbeing? Or are you struggling? So always checking in with yourself is important. So I have some reflection questions I'm going to go through for this episode. So one question is, what am I missing? So allow that to sink in for a moment.

Is there anything with your personal holistic practice or professionally in sessions with clients? Is there something that you'd like to learn more of? Is there something that you'd like to add? Or take away and there's no judgment, it's all okay. We all need to try to do what's in our best interest and that is aligned with our light of wellbeing.

So for me, I started to get that restlessness in 2022 and began looking for yoga courses from other teachers because I think learning from different teachers is really helpful. So I did take one last year in 2022 that helped, but it was only a one day training, which is great. But then it's like, Oh, And that's it.

It's over. So then I moved on to a 60 hour program right now for mindful movement training, which is just so amazing. And it's been a wonderful training integrating Qi Gong, somatics and gentle yoga all together. And I'm learning so much. It's really kind of boosted my energy again and my drive, ambition, whatever you want to call it, my inner light.

With all this, so as I'm learning new things, it's kind of taking that boredom away. So I don't feel stuck or just like now what I just feel like that process of learning and implementing with clients, some new things and new perspectives on movement has really been beneficial. So first question, what am I missing?

Next one. What needs to be subtracted? So for me, this has really, this is like a punch to the gut this fall because I realize I've of course taken on too much if you know me at all. I have my hands in lots of different areas, which many times I am managing okay. I really do. I really have good systems in place, but things kind of fell apart a little bit.

this fall. So I've realized what I don't want. One of those is a group practice. This has been something I never actually wanted for myself. I kind of fell into it. And the first few clinicians I hired in 2018 were phenomenal, just phenomenal. And they didn't require a lot of my time, to be honest with you.

They were very self sufficient and did wonderful work, very talented clinicians. They were both clinical supervisees. And I had said at the time that Oh, I never want to hire anybody who's not a supervisee because I don't know their skills. But then I went against that. And now I have one person working for me.

She's got wonderful skills and it's been great, but I've tried to hire another clinician and another, and they've both not worked out. So it's just been a course in learning what I don't want. Because I'm just not passionate. The passion isn't there. And I, I really went into it just as an alternate stream of revenue.

And I, you know, I have a lot of colleagues who love group practice, are excited about it. And they talk about doing team building and all these cool things. I'm just like, eh, I just, I'm not there. It's okay though. Not everybody's meant to do that. So after this last clinician left, I made that decision.

That's it. I'm closing as a group practice and going back to solo practice in 2024. So I feel good about it. I'm not upset about it. I feel. At peace, I feel resolved. This is a good thing. I'm ready for this because I am able to make money through other ways. I don't have to rely on a group practice, just all the bits and pieces that go into that.

It's just, it's not for me and I'm not going back. No, it just caused me so much stress. It felt like this pressure and it was always there. that I had to find all these referrals. Now, granted, my practice has picked up a lot the past couple of years, but still it just, there was so much effort and time and money spent to keep it rolling.

And I don't want to do that anymore. I want to find my joy and stay in my light of wellbeing. So there we are. So what needs to be subtracted? So I've taken that out of the equation coming 2024. I am doing a little less networking. I think I got a little caught up in that in September. I really loved to network and to meet with other people, listeners from podcasts, but it was wearing me out.

I think too, I did too much. So I'm going to do less of that. Still have it because it does give me a sense of connection, helps reduce isolation, but now I can't, I have to limit. I also am a meditation teacher. I make content creation for Insight Timer and the Aura app, but I've stopped doing that for now because it's too much.

Because what I've realized in this journey is if you add something big, as far as an alternate stream of revenue, or let's say another job, something's got to give, or you're going to give out. What can you subtract? Because you can't. Do everything and then sometimes it's overload, it's too much to keep up with.

So is there something that you're not passionate about that you need to let go of? Think about that. And I recommend journaling. I'm a big journaler. I love to journal, get my feelings out and recommend that to clients often. Are you taking on too much is the next question. Which is kind of similar to the subtraction.

They kind of go together. If you're taking out too much, what can you let go of? What can you subtract? Where do you want to be? Really rethinking your goals. This is a great time to do it. As I record, we're going into December, into the new year. So of course, New Year's always good, but really any time it's okay to do that.

See what you can do to set yourself up for success. How can you open up space for what's most important to you? A lot of times we have floating in our mind, oh this is so important, this is my value. So when do you do that? Not very often. Like art for me is very important as a self care, but I have not done, I'm gonna admit.

It's been far and few between this fall, but I'm changing that. I'm going back to opening up space for that because that creative side of me just craves it. And it just brings me back to homeostasis. It does something with connecting to, I think is it the right side of the brain that's creative and just soothes me and I'm able to get into flow.

So what areas are you able to get into flow with? Cause that is just so amazing. It's an amazing place to be to get into flow. It's such a good part of self care if you can do that. Another important question for you, what area of your life have you been ignoring? So holistically, maybe it's your finances.

Maybe you're keeping up with looking at savings and investing, but then you got away from it. And now you're like, Oh, geez, where am I financially? Or maybe it's socially that you've kind of let your social life go. And feeling that sense of isolation. So really tuning into that. I know my meditation has taken a hit.

I've not been doing as much. I try to do it every day, but, uh, this has been, yeah, like I said, a lot going on this fall. I'd like to improve that and do a little bit more. And that's what I'm working on now. What can you improve on and how can you do that? So that's the next question to think about. Maybe it's getting trained more in something.

Remember to keep up with our scope of competence. We also have to keep training in these modalities. We can't, it's not a one and done. We always should be staying up to date with trainings and consulting, getting consultation when you can. But maybe you need a coach. I know through my business, I've had several coaches and they all offer something different and unique, which is.

Awesome. Sometimes we need that, that person, that go to person. Kind of miss it now I don't have one because I would be able to say, Oh, I don't know what to do about this in my podcast. Let me ask my coach or my business coach. Let me ask this business question. So when that's gone, I mean, I can reach out to colleagues.

I've got plenty of those, but still, it's pretty cool to have a coach. Do you need more supervision or consultation to kind of improve yourself professionally or holistically? Are you connecting with other holistic therapists? I think that is essential self care if you're in the holistic realm, because many people are scared to come out of the holistic closet.

So getting perspectives from other therapists in the field, learning new techniques, building that referral network, as well as socially, just finding those people that you have so much in common with that you become friends. Which brings me to community connections. As I'm getting older, I realize the benefit of having community.

Feeling like you fit in somewhere. And for those of you who just work from home, you gotta work extra hard at this, I know, because I work from home most of the time, and I have to be intentional, and that's why I do so much networking, or I try to, without burning myself out. Because that's when I feel connected.

But now that I go to the office one day a week, I connect with the therapist there. That helps me. Sometimes I'll meet someone after for coffee. Just, just to kind of sprinkle it in throughout my week. So what can you improve on? That was that question. And one last question for you. How can you bring more body, mind, and spirit modalities to your daily routines?

What could that look like? Which may go back to the area of ignoring, right? Maybe you really enjoy moving your body, but have just gotten away from it. That's okay. No judgment. How can you bring more of it? And think about expectations. It doesn't mean that you have to do, let's say, movement. As an example, you know, P90X every day for 90 minutes.

That's, that's unreachable for most of us. Could you do five minutes? Sometimes I've just gone up and down my stairs for a few minutes just to, to build my legs up. So it can be these small movements throughout the day that can add up and be beneficial. Doing a short yoga flow at lunchtime or something like that.

What about bringing more holistic to your sessions? Is there something that you used to enjoy that you've gotten away from? Or maybe you need to find some new grounding strategies just to spice things up. One thing that I am loving that I've added is using affirmation cards for clients at the end of sessions, especially my in person sessions.

The clients are so excited about it. I feel like it, it's a shift in energy because it's out of the ordinary. It's not like your typical, let's just sit and talk. And they, it's like a surprise because they're always like, Oh my God, this car is exactly what we talked about. And it often is or something for them to reflect on, even if it's not.

So how can you spice things up is a question, right? But adding more of these holistic modalities to sessions, maybe there's an area that you've been wanting to have. Like an expressive art or something out of the traditional therapy realm. Just talk to people in the field. Look up people, get out there and do it.

So that brings us the end of another episode. I hope this was beneficial. And one thing that might be helpful with this episode is to go to the show notes and copy and paste the questions. So that could be good reminders for your journal time and reflection, and hopefully help you to step up your holistic game, both personally and professionally.

So I have a question for you. Are you ready to take your journey as a holistic therapist to the next level? I'd like to personally invite you to be part of our growing community of like minded individuals who share your same passion for holistic therapy and the importance of investing in self care.

Come on over and join my Facebook group, the Holistic Counseling and Self Care Group. It's a welcoming space to connect with other holistic therapists, to ask questions, share experiences, and exchange ideas. Don't miss out and join today at hcpodcast. org forward slash holistic. That's hcpodcast. org forward slash.

holistic group. And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love. Until next time, take care. Thanks for listening. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only. And it is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal financial counseling or any other kind of professional advice.

If you need a professional, please find the right one for you. The holistic counseling podcast is proudly part of the site. Graph Network. Graph Network.

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The Art of Breath:  How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions 

Have you been wanting to integrate breathwork into your sessions but are unsure how?   Or maybe you want to refine your technique? Join me on a remarkable journey as we delve into breathwork techniques and how to integrate them safely and ethically into sessions. 

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Self-Care for the Counselor - a holistic guide for helping professionals by Christine McDonald , MS,NCC,LPCS