Individual Therapy Bethesda MD

It’s hard to argue against this being the most beautiful time of year. The weather is cool and pleasant, the trees are transformed into stately sentinels bedecked in dazzling shades of red, orange, and yellow, apple-picking becomes a viable weekend activity, and all of the favorite seasonal foods are back (I’m looking at you, pumpkin spice latte).

But there’s another side to the fall season that isn’t quite so glamorous. For many of us, September marked the advent of a significant upswing in daily tasks and obligations. Meal-prep has become an absolute necessity, after-school arrangements need to be coordinated well in advance, soccer practice, piano lessons, and ballet recitals demand most of the space on the family calendar, work demands increase as the end of the fiscal year looms ever-closer, and you have to keep reminding yourself to schedule time to buy those plane tickets home for the holidays. Not to mention the national frenzy stirred up by the political, and literal, climate.

With so much going on, it is extremely difficult to avoid getting swept up in the hustle and bustle and trapped in the “daily grind.” In each of the above scenarios, the obligations and required tasks are very much externally focused. You do things for work, for your partner, for the kids, for your parents. But how often do you do things for YOU? No one else. Just you? If that question was presented to you on a survey, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that many of you reading this would endorse the “never” or “rarely ever” options.

And you wouldn’t be alone.

Most of us have no problem doing things for others. After all, it’s always nice to feel wanted, needed, and valuable. But rarely do we think about granting the gifts of time, attention, patience, and compassion to ourselves. There are tremendous benefits to making time for self-care, which involves engaging in activities that bring us joy, that recharge us, and that give us the strength to tackle our responsibilities feeling fresh and renewed. When you purposely take the time to be with yourself, for yourself, by yourself, you have the potential to reap innumerable psychological, physical, and emotional rewards. After all, if we’re running on empty, it’s impossible to show up as our best selves in our personal or professional lives.

So this fall season, I challenge you to create space to fall into yourself and rediscover what makes you tick and what brings you joy. Not sure how to do that? Read on.

Step 1: Take a few minutes right now and think about the things that bring you joy. When are you most happy? When do you feel most relaxed? What hobbies did you once have but have let fall by the wayside over the years? What activities give you the sense that you are fulfilling your life’s purpose?

Step 2: Make a list of all of the things you are interested in pursuing right now. If you carved out 15 minutes each day to do something just for yourself, what would it be? Perhaps you’ll buy that book that you’ve been meaning to read for years and commit to spending at least 15 minutes with it each night before bed. Maybe you’ll break out those paintbrushes and start your day with a 20-minute painting session. Perhaps you’ll decide to lace up your sneakers and begin an early morning run routine. Or perhaps you’d like to start a journey of self-discovery and want to pursue individual therapy. No matter what you decide, you should have at least 5 things on your list by the end of this step.

Step 3: Pull out your planner or toggle over to your calendar and intentionally carve out at least 15 minutes each day to engage in one or more of the things on your list. Since weekends tend to be a bit more flexible than weekdays, try to pencil in at least 30 minutes of self-care on Saturday or Sunday. Clearly block out these times in your schedule for at least the next 30 days. Yes, I am seriously asking you to put self-care your calendar just like it’s any other obligation. Your well-being is just as, if not more, important than anything else claiming space in your schedule.

Give this a try for at least the next 30 days. I guarantee that once you start intentionally making space for yourself, it will become an invaluable part of your routine. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you discover about yourself along the way.

Happy fall!

Shy Porter provides individual, couple, and family therapy — as well as premarital counseling — in our downtown Bethesda, MD office. Call 240-752-7650 ext. 6, or email her at [email protected] today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation.