Bethany Elston Q&A

What types of self-care activities would you recommend to clients during this holiday season in light of the continuation of the pandemic?

I have found that for me and also for my clients, ideas or past habits of self-care abound, but the road blocks to self care right now can look like low energy, a mental load that’s past capacity, and for those with family or roommates the catch-22 of being lonely but never alone.  On top of all of this, the ever evolving restrictions are tasking our brains with a high amount of flexibility and living with constant uncertainty, which makes being proactive challenging.  One way to navigate this to work at scale: truncating things or doing them in smaller bites (doing shorter workouts, making simpler meals, doing some stretches between meetings, reading a poem instead of “committing” to a whole chapter of a book) makes it easier to commit to carving out some space every day for self care. The second and perhaps harder goal has been to cultivate self-compassion, which can manifest in what we say to ourselves: “I need to put on my own oxygen mask before I can be available for others,” “This is a difficult time for everyone, including for me – I can help myself by being kind to myself and acknowledging my need,” and “It’s okay to take this one day at a time.”

Bethany Elston, MA, LCSW

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