Thinking of seeing a therapist? Start here.
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
So you are thinking about seeing a therapist. Honor this feeling. I'm not coming from a bias perspective because I think therapists are amazing, but from a perspective that I live by, honoring the ideas, thoughts, feelings and notions that come from your head/heart. There is a path for you and the map comes from within yourself. Even if you are confused about this world, especially when this journey turns into a bumpy scary path, if you honor your heart you are going in the right direction. If your heart wants more support and you have a desire to call a therapist for a co pilot on this journey, by all means…search away. But, can I add a disclaimer? I'd like to share 5 basic things to keep in mind to get the most from therapy.
Humans need to sleep 6-8 hours a days. Kids needs to sleep 8-10 hours a day. Fact. You might be a super human and you have lived off 4 hours a sleep a day since your youngest was born. Awesome, but your not functioning at your highest potential. It takes 48 hours of lack of sleep to start to experienced hallucinations. It is a basic need for your body to function. I promise you if you make an intentional effort to sleep 6-8 hours a day, you will start to feel better, even if it is a little tiny bit.
Again, basic need. We were not meant to live this sedentary life. You sit all day, indoors with artificial light and recycled air. We are not experiencing the energies of the environment. We are slowly suffering from this disengagement from life. To keep yourself energized, you need to move your body, preferably outdoors at least 3 to 4 times a week. You need this for your body but also for your emotional health. The boost of chemicals in your brain and your body get a jump start with all the movement you create. If your excuse is, “I am way too tired to exercise”, this means you need it the most.
I always thought we were made up of 70% water, however my super smart scientist friend told me we are 99% water, for optimal functioning. How much water do you need to contribute to your body? Don’t count your coffee, your soda or your tea. These liquids are actually dehydrating. Water is not only essential for your skin, brain, organs and blood, increasing your water intake will improve your gut issues, increase your energy, and improve your immune system. Did you know some say that with minor infections, such as the first sign of an ear infections, we should be able to flush out infections with just water intake? Water is one of the most powerful resources of the world and we all have the conveniences of this in our homes. Take advance of this resource.
Yup, baths improve your emotional health. Am I blowing your mind? Better yet, Epson Salt baths are an excellent way to release toxins from your body and engage intentionally in relaxing your body. This is 1 cup Epson salt, ½ cup baking soda and a few drops of any essential oil. Draw a bath as hot as you can stand and allow yourself to sit in this bath for 40 minutes. The first 20 minutes is for absorption and the next 20 minutes will be for detoxing. During the detoxing phase of the bath, you will probably experience intense sweating. Don’t worry, this is suppose to happen. Try this bath one time a week for 4 weeks and evaluate if you have improved your sleep. Side note: if you are taking detox baths, you should refer to tip 4, increase water intake.
Eat Food from the Earth
Believe it or not, we are all connected; people, trees, animals, plants, water and air. We are all creating, consuming, reacting, absorbing. This cycle has been measured and studied through numerous fields of science. We have found that plants hold the answers to many of our ailments, injuries, nutrients. Aloe soothes our burns and our harvest produces our nutrients. Our earth is providing for us...all we need to do is pay attention. So next time you go to the supermarket, shop on the outside perimeter of the store instead of all the interior isles and find food from the Earth. Last time I checked, there is not an Oreo tree out there ( but Jeez, that would be sweet)!
Your mental health is not going to function properly if your body is not functioning properly. This is a fact. Even if you can improve one or two of these aspects, you will have started to take control of your emotions. There is always a solution to our issues but usually it is a gradual process of adding and subtracting things from our lives to improve our emotional health. Now is the time you can start your own journey, one step at a time.
Karen Peabody, LICSW is a therapist and business consultant for social workers and therapists interested in starting their private practice. She founded Forgewell Solutions in East Bridgewater, MA. Her office is a great place to start a private practice. Visit her FOR THERAPISTS page to learn more.