Topic Tuesday: Self-Care

Broll GA Picture (1)“In Case of Emergency: Break Down” (By: Cassie Broll)

Self-care is one of the fundamental principles counselors are taught. There seems to be at least one assignment in every class I’ve taken that is supposed to teach us the importance of taking time for ourselves. Although self-care is important, it’s a lot like eating vegetables. Just because vegetables are healthy doesn’t mean we always eat them.

I would love to say that I make sure I take time to take care of myself. Unfortunately, most of the time, I don’t. I especially don’t take time the weeks I probably need to the most, like this past week. My husband had an emergency surgery late Monday night, I fell behind on my schoolwork, and I fell behind on sleep because no matter how comfortable they try to make you in a hospital, it is still far below a cozy room at a Marriot. I also realized that I had a ton of practicum work that was due in a few days, when I had mistakenly thought it was due next week. It was one of those weeks where it seemed like everything was going wrong and needed my attention right away, and I had no energy or time to take care of any of it. Normally, I would lean on my husband and we would get through the week together, but a voice in my head kept saying that I couldn’t lean on someone recovering from surgery.

I knew I needed to take time out to breathe. I would love to say that I did. Instead, I ended up having a complete crying fit in an empty office at work after I was locked out of my work computer because of typing the incorrect password. Of course, it wasn’t the password I was having a huge, traumatic, cartoon crocodile tear breakdown over, but rather the accumulation of the stresses over the past week. I felt like an idiot. Ever since Monday night, I had been fighting back tears of fear, anxiety, and exasperation, and it had to happen at work, of all places.

It is an unwritten rule of life that you cannot have a breakdown without someone there to witness it, and this was no exception. Within a few minutes, my manager had found me. I kept apologizing to him for my breakdown. He insisted that I stop apologizing, and reassured me that it is okay. Words cannot describe how much I needed to hear that breaking down was okay. Then, in his Ron Swanson-like, all knowing wisdom, he gently told me to breathe, and take as much time as I needed.  He then sent me home early, so I could give myself time to catch up on sleep, homework, or whatever else I needed.

On the drive home that day, in between kicking myself for my massive breakdown over what I felt was nothing, I thought about the concept of self-care. I always thought of it as doing things like yoga, or meditation, or exercising. Really, self-care is taking time to do whatever your self needs, even when it needs time to let yourself cry and get the emotional release you desperately need, or eating a whole container of Ben and Jerrys. It also doesn’t hurt to have a friend in your life who will make you take care of yourself, even when you don’t want to.

About the Author

Cassie Broll is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health program at Lipscomb University, as well as a proud anorexia survivor. She and her best friend/husband moved to Tennessee from Minnesota 3 years ago, and are loving everything the South has to offer (Cracker Barrel mac n’ cheese-amazing!). She loves chocolate, animals, and has proudly completed several Netflix marathons. In her spare time she can be found hiking, reading, or curling up with a good book and her two cats, Maui and Perry Berry.