Episode 183 Self-Care Practices You Might Not Have Heard Of Part 2: Solo Episode By Chris McDonald

May 29, 2024

How can you begin to incorporate unique self-care techniques into your practice? How can you begin to expand your self-care toolkit and elevate your overall well-being?

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • In today’s episode, we dive back into some lesser-known self-care practices. We will look at 7 more self-care strategies that you can incorporate into your practice today!

Episode 173 Self-Care Practices You Might Not Have Heard Of Part 1

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

Outdoor Labyrinth behind Millbrook Baptist Church, 1519 E. Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC 2760

The Horse Shoe Farm

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Self-Care for the Counselor: A Companion Workbook: An Easy to Use Workbook to Support you on Your Holistic Healing and Counselor Self-Care Journey … A Holistic Guide for Helping Professionals)

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Transcript

Chris McDonald: Ready to go deeper with your self care practices? On this episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast, I explore with you unique self care practices that go beyond the usual advice. Discover surprising and innovative ways to nurture your mind, body, and spirit that you might not have heard before. In this solo episode, I share lesser known techniques and ideas that can transform your wellness journey, from unconventional relaxation methods To novel mindfulness practices.

This episode is packed with fresh ideas to elevate your self care game. Tune in and expand your self care toolkit with these hidden gems on today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. Thanks for being here. 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.

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling podcast. This is a solo episode on self care practices you might not have heard of. Take two, part two. So if you remember, I think it was back in March, I released part one. If you haven't heard it back on episode 173. I suggest you go back and listen to it. I highly recommend it.

There's some really, really good recommendations in there. But for today, I have seven more self care practices you might not have heard of. A continuation. And I gotta tell you, researching these today, again, this can just be a whole podcast on self care practices you might not have heard of. There is so much out there, y'all.

I'm telling you, I sound like I'm from the South. I'm really from New York state, but living in North Carolina, I guess it's growing on me because I do tend to come out with y'all sometimes, but for real, there is so much out there and so many things I've learned along the way as I've tried to help myself on my own self care journey and did my research for my book, Self Care for the Counselor and my workbook guide recently that I published in February.

So many things. So just listen today with an open mind, open heart. I'm not going to go too much into what is self care because I kind of go into that in the first one and all the whys and that. So I'm just going to kind of jump in today and get to the point because that is kind of who I am. And my values is not to beat around the bush and just try to get to what the message is.

But I'm so glad you're here joining me, but thanks for tuning in. I hope you really get something out of this and I would love your feedback too. So of course, you're always welcome to send me an email. Let me know. what you think of this episode at chris. holisticcounselingpodcast. com at the end of this episode, if you feel like this was helpful, but let's get started.

Let's roll with it and let's start. So I will do my best not to shuffle too many papers. You won't believe what I have in front of me. I should take a picture of this because I have stuff everywhere. So with all the research that I've done and different ways that I try to take some notes. Because I do try to prep for my solo episodes.

I am not a person that can wing it. For anybody that knows me, I'm an INFJ and apparently from my friend Ashley tells me that means that I plan things, which is true. I do try to plan and I'm not planning every word on this podcast, but I do try to get some idea of what I'm going to tell you today, which means that there is a lot of information in front of me.

So I'm going to try to let this go smoothly for you. So this makes sense. And I'm going to actually include some information from my workbook today. I'm going to read part of that for you and include information on how you can get your own workbook to write it. So if you do have your workbook, make sure you have that with you so you can even use some of the pages in there to take notes.

So then you can have all your self care practices in one place. How cool is that? But if not, you can have notebook, paper, take notes as you go. Or, if you'd rather have the show notes, you can use that too. But without further ado, let's go to number one. I thought I would start with this first. I know not everybody has control over their schedule.

Whatever part of your schedule that you do have control over, I feel like we need to start with schedules because That impacts your self care as a counselor, therapist, whatever, however you identify yourself so much. This can make such a difference in your energy level, body, mind, and spirit, holistically, how you're feeling emotionally, physically, everything is impacted by your schedule.

If you are overrun, If you don't take breaks, if you're going, going, going, you're going to be exhausted. You're on the road to burnout. You're not going to be as available to your clients. You're going to be on the road to impairment. You are not going to be as present for yourself or your clients or your family.

So number one for me, I believe for every counselor out there is looking at your schedule. Now, what does that mean? Really be mindful as much as you can. How can I? Set up my schedule to best account for my own rhythms. What do I mean by that? For me, since I left the school system, I do not want to get up at 5 a.

m. and start at 7. 30 in the morning seeing clients. I used to have to do that when I worked in the high school. Yeah, it was nice to be done at 3 o'clock, technically. Were we ever really done at 3? Probably not, but school was done at 3. But I don't want to do that anymore. What I found with that schedule is I was exhausted all the time.

My body was just like, no, we're not doing this. I was so hired during the day and I had to take naps often when I got home. So I don't want to do that schedule at all. So my first client usually starts by 10, sometimes nine on Fridays. I have one day a week with nine, which is fine because I end early on Friday.

So this is how my schedule usually goes. Mondays is my podcasting day, content creation day, course creation. Tuesday through Friday, I see clients. Tuesday through Thursday are my more heavy days, but I only see 4 to 6. Now, 6 is rare, so technically 4 to 5, usually, Tuesday through Thursday, depending. But the way I do my schedule, because I do course creation and podcasting and other streams of revenue, I see a couple clients in the morning, depending on the day, and then have a gap in the middle with a few hours, and then see a few in the late afternoon into early evening, ending by 6 at the latest, sometimes by 5, depending on the day.

And that's my day. It works for me. It may not work for you. I know some people refuse to work after five. Good for you. But I have a lot of clients I would never see. And I really want to keep seeing those clients. So I end by six. That's okay. I don't do it every day, but I like my schedule. And it works for me and my, and my rhythm.

And I got to tell you most of the time. I get my sleep, I don't have to get up super early, and I have my energy. This works for me. Mondays, I don't feel like I have to rush to go to bed early, because I get up when my body wakes me up on Monday morning. I do my yoga in the morning, my meditation, breath work.

If I have time, I do a little reading, take my time, maybe sit on the porch with my coffee and my cats. And that's my schedule. I usually have time in the morning that I do some exercise, some kind of movement practice. Most days of the week. And of course, yoga, most days. What works for you? That is the question.

And that goes back to values. What is important to you? What do you want to include each day? Is it important that you are there when your kids get home from school? Do you want to have time for your partner? Do you prefer to have one day off a week for paperwork or just a floater day like a Monday or a Friday?

I know a lot of people do that. I prefer the Monday. It kind of works for me because the way my Friday works, I may start at nine, but I end my last client is usually done by three. I will not work late on Friday. I get clients who call up. Hey, can you see me Friday night? No. That's where I draw the line.

Absolutely not. Or people that want to see me on the weekend. Nope. I don't care if you pay me double. It's not going to happen. Okay. I have firm boundaries. So again, I think the scheduling also goes in line with your boundaries, setting firm boundaries with your schedule and what works for you.

Unfortunately, many therapists get in their compassion too much. Oh, but they need me. Oh, but there's no other counselor to see this kind of client and their issues. Oh, I can take just one more. Oh, I guess I can just. Push this time slot open that was closed. Well, what's going to happen, right? If you keep pushing that window open, you're going to get resentful of those clients.

You're going to get more exhausted. You're going to move towards burnout. You're going to move towards being impaired as a therapist. You are not helping anyone. You're not doing any favors for anyone. So it's important to stick to your boundaries on what you can see each week. Now, I know not everybody has that option if you're not in private practice, I get it.

Especially if you're in agency work or a group practice where you're required to see a certain number of clients. Just do what you can with your schedule. So if they allow some flexibility, just see what can work for you. If they require something as far as numbers, maybe you can start a little later or end at a certain time.

If you're not sure, ask. See where the flexibility is. Now, the other thing about scheduling is taking time off. Here's a question for you. How many weeks do you take off for vacation each year? Did you hit a pause? I know a lot of therapists are like, what? Weeks? I'm lucky I get a few days off. Not cool. So everybody needs to have some time off more because Here is the mistake I made last year.

So I ended up not having a full week off. I had extended weeks off. I had one week, we went to DC, we went for a Saturday through a Thursday, but then I had work on a Friday, had something for work on a Saturday. So I didn't have a full week. And then I had 40 weekends spread out. No full weeks. Guess what happened?

By the end of the calendar year. I was burned out. I was not feeling good. It did not work for me. Don't do that. I don't recommend it. For me, I know I need to have some of these full weeks because you cannot fully relax with four day weekends. At least I know I can't. You really need that full week just to let your hair down, unwind, have that disconnect.

If you can get out of town, do it. Even if you got to go stay with a friend or family member, if you can't afford a full vacation somewhere. Take that time. Now this book I read is called Rest. I gotta look up the author, but it's a really good book. I highly recommend it. I'll put it in the show notes too.

They recommend taking one week off every three months. So that's my goal for 2024. I've done that so far. We are into May. I did take a week off already. And I went to Aruba. Full week. Made sure not to skip out on my time off. And it's, it's just phenomenal when you do that. You feel so much more rejuvenated.

But you can check in with yourself. Am I feeling fully rested, right? After I take this time off, if I only do four days or a weekend, compared to a weekend, or just like Memorial Day, like if you just take a three day weekend. Now, I've also heard of some therapists who take two weeks off every three months.

I haven't done that yet. I would have to figure out how that could work in my schedule and with my clients, I see, but I could see how it could work. And this person just lets the clients know ahead of time. Hey, this is what I do. And the way that he worked it was he told his clients, this is how my schedule is.

This gives you a good opportunity to practice your coping skills because I know it becomes it. an issue for some therapists and oh, my clients need me and I don't want to leave my clients hanging. But I have found when I've taken time off that clients are supportive and they recognize the need for self care.

And that's what I tell them too. This is my time for self care. We are modeling that for them. So that is so important. Also taking mental health days, taking a day. Just because. Just because you can. One a quarter as a goal. If you can only do once every two quarters, do that. Do what you can. But make that a priority.

But don't make it a day that you're running around doing errands. That's not a day off. Make it a day of nothing. Get a massage. Rest at home. Read the book on rest. Do those things like going to the pool in the summer and just be. Be present. Or consider alternative scheduling. So if you had thoughts of doing like therapy intensives as a therapist, if you don't know what those are, that's new, the up and coming.

So that's something that I'm looking at considering offering in my practice. So these are what I've heard is like offering a mini retreat to clients. So instead of the once a week for extended period of time for clients, you offer three hour to five hour intensives where You can offer modalities like your EMDR, brain spotting, or whatever modalities you use for a longer period of time so that you can go a little bit deeper.

And I think you can offer whatever you want in these intensives. I know a friend of mine offers these for couples for like six hours. So you can offer higher ticket prices. You can make a little more money, but then you're offering more deep work. So then you can offer that and maybe have a little more time off for yourself.

So there's lots of benefits to that. That's why I started this as number one. So I'm going to leave that with you. How can you schedule more time off, more vacation time? I try to take about five weeks vacation a year. Try to make it work, work for you. How could you make it work? What, what could you do to make it different for you?

Number two, this is a fun one. This is actually something I have tried. This is called labyrinth walking. What is that? You may ask. So think of a labyrinth. So it's not a maze because mazes have dead ends. Labyrinths, you walk one of those and they all go to the same space, right? So you're going to keep walking till you get to the middle and back out again.

And these date back for, oh my God, ancient times. Labyrinths have been around 4, 000 years is what I found online. So there's. It allows for spiritual transformation, psychological help for people. Many people use labyrinth walking for centering, contemplation practices for prayer, or just kind of a mindful walking or meditation.

And what I learned is you can start it. By getting grounded, you could even use yoga to star stand in mountain pose, do some breathing, ask a question. So what is something that you want an answer to? And if you want to add spirituality into it, ask your spirit guides or the universe, just throw it out there and then walk slowly, focusing on the question or just focusing on the walking.

physicality of it, noticing your feet. As they hit the ground, noticing the breath or noticing your hips as you're walking in the labyrinth, just noticing the breath period. That's all. Or you can just do a prayer or chant or just focus on movement through the labyrinth. And that is it one foot at a time.

So it's not a race. There's no set time that you have to do it a certain amount of minutes. It's just that mindfulness, being present, being there. I did this when I went to a yoga retreat in Hendersonville, North Carolina, at a horse farm. I got up early. I thought I'd give it a try. So it was a very small one, overlooking the mountain view, cool morning, had my sweatshirt on, my backpack on.

I can't remember if I asked a question. I was like, I'm not sure if I'm doing this right, but let me give it a go. So I stand at the front, just did some slow walking. And I gotta say. It was just very peaceful. I felt very calm by the end. And once you get the middle, you just walk slowly out of the labyrinth.

And the benefits of this practice, of course, is less stress. It helps to release the mind, calming the mind. Helps to bring some balance in the nervous system. Brings you more in that self reflection place. And again, I think this is one of those practices that you just got to try it and see how it settles for you.

So, in North Carolina, I only know of two labyrinths. So, this was the one that I tried at Hendersonville at, I'm going to have to remember the name of the farm in a minute. I'll put it in the show notes after I try to remember. And there's also one in Raleigh at a, behind a church off of East Millbrook Road.

I will also see if I can remember. the name of it and try to put it in the show notes as well. And I'm sure there are more across the country and in other countries. So that might be something to look up to Google that. Where can I find a labyrinth near me? And just see if you like it. If this could be a practice for your self care.

Because you never know. Sometimes we got to step outside our comfort zone. And try it. Like I said, sometimes just doing these things can make a difference. All right, and I want to make sure to put the name of that book, Rest, in the show notes as well, so I'll make a note. So for those who are new to, this is my book, Self Care for the Counselor.

It's a companion workbook to my book, Self Care for the Counselor book. So I'm just going to read a little bit from my book. One thing I put in there is I talk about energetic practices. Now, what do I mean by that? So everything is energy. When we're around clients with heavy energy or even family members, friends, general public, energy can stick sometimes.

It can attach to us. And if we don't find ways to protect ourselves or release it, it can stay with us. Just like when you've ever been around someone who's depressed and you leave and you're like, Oh, Why am I feeling depressed? What is that? And let's say you came in and you were feeling content and happy, and now you're not, that's when you need to release their energy.

It has attached. So in my book, this is what I say. In order to fully protect yourself holistically as a counselor, it's essential to find ways to protect your energy and release negative energy of others, if you don't. You may struggle with others, energy attaching to you and negatively impacting your mind, body, and spirit.

It is key to engage in some of these practices on a daily basis for best results. When you start to notice a sudden shift in mood or energy, try one of the following. So here's a question to ask yourself. Oh, by the way, this is number three, as far as practices, managing energy, energy clearing, ask yourself the question, is this mine or someone else's?

And then wait. So it may not be an immediate answer, but you may notice the answer coming up. And then you can say, say it forcefully in your mind. I'd let go of any energy that is not mine and send them loving kindness. So we can disconnect from the energy, but we don't want to be mean about it. In other words, we can say, I let it go, but screw them.

No, we don't want to say that we want to say, but I still send them loving kindness and wish them. Well, In some way. And if we say it forcefully, it may not be in that immediate moment, but if you wait, all of a sudden you'll be like, Oh wait, I feel that energetic shift. And I'll tell you a quick story about energy.

I had a client I had seen when I was working at an agency before, and I swear to you, every time I saw this person or she called me like to change an appointment, I would feel her energy and it would hang out for days. I kid you not. Something about her vibration or energy, and I couldn't shake it. It would just hang out.

And I would get so depressed and feel so down. And it took so much inner work for me to get back to emotional regulation. And I finally had to refer her out because I could not manage it. It was just the weirdest thing. I don't know if certain people's energies just does not connect with you. If you've had that experience, let me know.

Uh, so anyway, just know that that definitely can happen. And one more thing, as far as managing energy, you can do, and this is something you can do in your mind to say to yourself, repeat over and over, not my energy, not my energy, not. My energy, you can create, create it as a mantra for yourself, and this will help put up a energetic block for energy.

That's not yours. You can also even imagine an energetic shields coming up, you know, blocking that, but allowing the good stuff coming in, letting light and love come in, but not the bad stuff, the negative stuff. We don't want that to come in. We don't want to hold that. close to our hearts, right? I hope this is all making sense.

And there's more in my book, a book about managing energy. I also have in there a chakra release meditation. So I have QR codes in the workbook that you can utilize, which I think is really cool and helpful. So that's number three, clearing in, managing energy. Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed as a counselor?

Do you struggle to be consistent with your self care practices? You are not alone. Introducing the ultimate tool for your well being, created by a fellow counselor. The Self Care for the Counselor Companion Workbook. Designed specifically for counselors like you. This fillable workbook is your first step towards rejuvenating your practice and your life.

Embrace a holistic approach to self care with strategies that easily blend into your hectic schedule, from interactive activities to enriching bonus content. This workbook is packed with resources to guide you on your journey towards self renewal. Plus you gain exclusive access to video and audio resources for meditation and yoga practices to enhance your experience.

Start prioritizing your well being today, go to hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook. That's hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook to discover how your journey to self care begins today. So number four, this one will make you smile, maybe giggle. If you're a little older, you might remember this from the 60s, tree hugging.

You might picture some of the hippies hugging trees to block them from being cut down for deforesting, that kind of thing. But guess what? They had something that could be beneficial to our self care. Trees are very helpful to us in the environment, as you know. And as they do more research, they really can benefit our overall well being much more than previously thought.

In a 2019 study in Iceland at Derby University, they found that people that had close proximity with trees had significant impacts on their emotional and physical well being in the study. And the people were able to shift from their sympathetic arousal to parasympathetic. Amazing, right? Just being in proximity of trees.

There's something about being in the presence. I think everybody knows this, just being outside can improve our mental health. And of course, much, most of the time we're inside, especially if we're working, unless we have a job where we're outside working. That shift of being outside can be so helpful, but what about tree hugging?

How do we do it? What does that mean? And it sounds kind of kooky for to some people, but if you want to get closer to the trees, it's about building that relationship with trees. So even going in your own backyard, so going in proximity to a tree, introducing yourself, getting to know just like you would a person.

So not jumping on the tree and hugging it, we can just get to know it. We can admire it from afar first, recognizing it. We can go up to touch it, feel the bark, admiring it. Colors, leaves, gently leaning against the tree, feeling the energy of the tree. Being present and then gradually moving into maybe we could have the physical touch with the tree, maybe the hugging if that's allowed.

Asking the tree for that, will it allow that? You know, I was, I heard some recent things about trees that they communicate with each other all the time. And they help each other out. They have these intricate roots and they're always helping each other out, giving each other nutrients and water. I mean, how cool is that?

They have their own intricate community and energetically they help each other. And every time that I see communities of trees being cut down, I feel sadness. It just makes me sad. Like how much we're cutting them down. And a lot of it too, is just like, just for what? For more office buildings? Like, Really, for a lot of things that we don't even need, I think of how magnificent they are and how long and the longevity of these trees, how long they've been around and what an integrated part of the earth they are, the power they have.

Now, energetically, if we want to get into that holistically, one thing that I was taught is that we can go outside near a tree and ask it to help us. We can say, give what you wish. And take what you wish. So if you're feeling a lot of stress, ask the tree to take some of that, and that can give you some of its energies, positive energy back.

Can take some and give some. And you can do the same for it. Give what you wish, take what you wish. I've done this outside before and it's really helpful. I actually had a friend who did some energy healing while we were outside one time. She actually, we both leaned against a tree while she did this energy healing.

Oh my god, it was the most profound experience. And it was the most amazing healing I've ever experienced in my life. So don't discount the power of the trees and how much they can be healing. Really get to know those trees near you and see how this works out for you. So that's number four, tree hugging, or if you want to call it something else, if that sounds too weird, tree hugging, name of something else, the power of the tree.

Maybe that could be something different. Number five, binaural beats. I had an episode of this with Wayne Altman. He's got a whole business on binaural beats in episode 124. If you haven't checked that out on the power of binaural beats, and these are what you listen to with headphones. So if you don't know what they are, what I'm talking about, so check that episode out.

It's pretty cool. So listening to two tones at once is what they are. They're slightly different frequencies at the same time as a binaural beat. I'm not an expert in this in any way, trust me. I've listened to some before, but with really amazing results. So I've listened to some recently for my chronic pain and I'm telling you, I had such good days after listening.

I actually got to listen again because I'm having a chronic pain day today and I want to. Do that again, because it really made profound changes in my, I don't even know if it's a felt sense of pain or what it does, but it helped me. So the frequency is called Hertz and this is, there's different kinds of frequencies.

So I'm just going to read to you about this, the brain and the binaural beats, because I can't explain it because this is again, not my area of expertise. So the brain interprets the two tones as a beat of its own. The two tones align with your brainwaves to produce a beat with different frequency. This frequency is the difference in hertz between the frequencies of the two tones.

For example, if you're listening to a 440 hertz tone with your left ear and a 444 with your right hertz tone with your right ear, you would be hearing a four hertz tone, if that makes sense. When you listen to binaural beats, your brain activity matches the frequency set by the frequency of the beat.

This is called the frequency following effect. This means you can use binaural beats to entrain your mind to reach a certain mental state. This is based on WebMD. Pretty cool, the power that we have. So there's five different brainwaves that affect binaural beats. So, um, there's lots of different binaural beats out there, lots of ways you can get these.

There, I think there's some on YouTube and there's some other subscription programs like Wayne Altman has. So Delta are one through four Hertz and this is the lowest frequency state that can help with deep sleep, healing, pain relief, meditation, anti aging. There's Hertz that's four through eight that helps with meditation, deep relaxation and creativity.

And There is Alpha, which is 8 through 14. Helps with relaxation and focus, reduce stress, maintain positive thinking, increase learn increase learning capabilities. There is Beta, 14 through 30. Helps with focus. analytical thinking, and solving problems. And then gamma, which is 30 through 100, which is increased cognitive enhancement, attention to detail, and helping in memory recall.

Maybe I need to do more gamma. My memory is not so awesome over 50, so I know that can be a normal response aging at times, dropping in estrogen, and all that fun menohaus. I would love to learn more about that. So no, there's a lot of good benefits. Reduced anxiety, improved mood, help with meditative states, improve sleeping.

So there can be a lot of really cool benefits. So that might be something to think about giving it a go and trying and just see for yourself how you react to binaural beats. So that is number five. Number six is Mudras. So, you know that I can't give you self care without some kind of yoga, right? So I love me a mudra.

Mudras are just hand positions in yoga And you've probably seen them the most familiar for most people is an Anjali mudra, which is prayer pose, right? So palms together, hands together, fingertips together. That is the most simple of The hand positions, sometimes it's just the fingertips touching like that and they symbolize lots of different things.

They can help with nervous system regulation. Sometimes it may help calming sensation or might be energizing or something else. We never know. They can be create different things that can be used along with breath practices. Sometimes it can be equal breath, like inhale for exhale for or extending the exhale.

Or it can be used along with an affirmation or chanting. So there's lots of different ways to use mudras sometimes along with the asanas or physical postures of yoga. Sometimes you might've seen this. This is also a mudra for those on YouTube. So I'm using my forefinger and thumb touching. This is kind of like the okay sign.

This is, I forgot the name of this mudra, but this is also a mudra and the other fingers are just up. So that's kind of like the traditional, like meditation. You might've seen before using both of these, right? If we were sitting cross legged as a mudra, but just sitting with that, right? Using breath can be calming.

It's kind of something to do with your hands. I'm going to show you a muja right now. It's one of my favorite ones to use. It's called Diana, D H Y A N A. So go ahead and get comfortable. If you're driving, don't do this while driving. You can just listen or pause this and do this when you get home. So, sit either in a chair or on the floor, and bring your left hand over your lower abdomen, keeping the palm facing upward towards the sky, and then bring the right hand on top of the left, so that it's like this.

So it's right on top. So the back hand is over On top of the left hand. So it's kind of cupping it and then you're going to touch both thumbs together. So it becomes like a little triangle together, keeping the thumbs pointing upward towards the sky into a triangle formation. And you can just focus on the sensation of the thumbs touching of your hands together.

To me, this feels very grounding. As a sensation, just having my hands in this position. You could do this in between sessions, just to settle yourself, ground yourself. You could do this as part of meditation practice. A lot of people use, um, mudras as part of meditation. Could be used at the end of the day, just to settle down, settle your mind, and be present.

You could use this as an affirmation. I am present. I am here. Or whatever other affirmation you might want to use. You can breathe in for a count of four, pause for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, inhale for a count of four, pause for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four. This time we'll inhale for a count of five, pause for a count of five, exhale for a count of five.

And one more time, inhale for a count of five, pause for a count of five, and exhale for a count of five.

And let the breath go. Bring your mind back to the sensations of your hands, just noticing how they feel. Come back to your affirmation, I am present. I am here. I am witnessing this moment. And you can let that mudra go. And just check in, notice how you feel after that. So many different things you can do with mudras.

I think it's really fun. I do have a mudra card deck. I'm not sure they sell it anymore, but it's really fun because they have a hundred different mudras you can learn. But if you don't have access to that, you can also look online and experiment. Try some mudras. It can be a fun way just to kind of make that a part of your daily practice to try different mudras with breath, chanting, or affirmations, or as part of meditation.

So that was number six, and, oh, and the benefits. So what are the benefits of, Using this mudra, so it can bring some calm, some relaxation, helps the body's healing response, reduces negative emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, can help improve quality of sleep, can help clear thought processes. Help with concentration.

Help you feel more focused. And there you go. Very cool mudra to try. All right. So last one. So that was six was the mudra. Number seven. So this is a very fun one. This is something I've tried in the past year was to keep a list on my notes app on my phone of places I want to visit locally. and worldwide.

And to me, this is a self care practice because I think it's really fun to keep an open mind and to keep that exploring mind open, right? Because I think it's, it's easy to get caught up in our own world and places we're used to going. But once I will see things on Instagram, Instagram or hear from people.

I put it immediately in there and then I go back every so often. I'd be like, we have nothing going on for a month. What do I want to, where do I want to go? What would I like to try? What could be fun? And then I'll be like, oh, look at this local place. Now, the cool part, because you could also list it as what are some day trips I could go to?

What are some restaurants? I also list restaurants, activities. What are some fun places to try? I think there's like an indoor mini golf locally. I want to try things like that, new restaurants that are opening. So there's a lot of way to do this places in the world, like a dream list. I call it a dream list instead of a bucket list.

I don't know. I've always called it a dream list. People I know say bucket list, which is fine. But to me, dream list feels a little bit more positive things that I dream. I like that better. So keeping that in mind kind of keeps the positive energy flowing, right? Takes you out of the counselor role. into your personal self, into dreams, and then plans, right?

How can I get there? Which could lead to manifestation. So if you want to get to that trip to Bali or Ireland or wherever it might be, how can you get there, right? How can you visualize it? How can you make a plan? Or maybe that's part of your retirement. Now that would be cool. I know for my retirement, I want to go to Tahiti because I know it's very, very, very far.

Why not do that when you're retired, when you have time and make it. a process to get there so I can stay in California for a little bit and then go to Hawaii for a little bit. That's my plan. I really want to do that. I always thought tahini looks so amazing. I want to stay in one of those huts on the water when you wake up and you just walk three feet and jump in the water.

Oh, I love it. My God. Wouldn't that be amazing to do that? Oh, so think about what about for you? What would be cool for you? So let's start local and then expand your imagination. Where would be amazing for you? So that's my top seven. I know this was a little longer than the other episode, but I really wanted to give the number one I think was most important.

So let me just run through real quick. Hopefully you took some notes. Number one was your schedule. Unique schedules and vacations, time off, number two, labyrinth walking, number three, clearing and managing your energy. Number four was tree hugging, or if you have another name for it, power of trees. Number five was binaural beats.

Number six was mudras, which are the hand positions. Number seven, list of places to visit or things to do. as part of self care, because that would cover recreational self care, right? That could also cover social supports, because who could I ask to do these fun things with, right? Or who is a friend I haven't seen or family member in a while and would like to go to these places with.

There you have it. So fun. And again, like I said, this could be a continuing series of self care practices you might not have heard of. Continuing on. Yes. Whew, that was a lot. Very fun. I really enjoy researching these for you. I hope you got a lot out of this. And if you're wanting to dive deeper into your self care practices, then look no further than my workbook.

And I shared some of that with you today in this episode. on energy practices. So my self care for the counselor companion workbook guide will guide you through practical exercises that promote balance in body, mind, and spirit, and you dive deeper into the world of holistic self care with interactive supplementary activities, bonus content, as well as links to video practices, including meditations, massage, self massage, and yoga.

yoga. The workbook provides easy to use strategies that are not only practical, but profoundly beneficial from developing healthy sleep routines to starting a meditation practice to managing energy effectively. So get ready to level up your self care. Check it out today at hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook as hcpodcast.

org forward slash workbook. And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you out. 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 SiteCraft Network.

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Feeling stressed? My Self-Care Companion workbook is designed to guide you through practical exercises that promote balance in body, mind, and spirit. The Workbook provides easy-to-use strategies that are not only practical but profoundly beneficial. 

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