Stretching and balancing in summer 2022
This summer is all about stretching myself: working with more clients, learning new therapeutic methods and practices, supporting my husband as he starts a new job in NYC. I’m also working to find balance in my “new” career as a full-time therapist. As my calendar fills up and my days get busier, it’s more of a challenge to find time to do the things I love and need in my life, like cooking, swimming, and spending time with my family, friends, and pets.
Last month I attended the Cape Cod Institute in Orleans, MA, to take a week-long course in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). With classes in the morning only and my afternoons and evenings free to enjoy the Cape and relax, I had no problem finding balance between learning and self-care. The course was amazing–eye-opening and empowering in many ways–and it set me on a course to developing my skills as an ACT therapist. I was truly engaged in learning and growth every morning at the Institute. I spent afternoons relaxing and swimming on the Cape’s amazing beaches, exploring cute little towns, walking and taking in the vistas, and reading for pleasure.
In the evenings, I felt a bit lonely. I was on my own in an Air BNB, away from my husband and animals for five nights. This loneliness was something that I don’t experience much and I noticed an old pattern creep in: zoning out in front of the TV while eating dinner (and dessert!) After a couple of nights of being a couch potato, I started to think about what I was learning in the ACT course about opening oneself up to difficult emotions and allowing oneself to stay present in the emotions. I asked myself: Is being a couch potato consistent with what is meaningful to me? A night or two of snacking and TV is great but is that how I want to spend these free evenings? After sitting with the lonely feeling, I found myself more able to offer myself both some compassion and some inspiration to make better choices. For the last few nights in Orleans, I took myself out to lovely seafood dinners, found out from local folks where to find the best view of the sunset, painted my nails, and took some time to reflect on where I was (personally and professionally, as well as geographically.)
By Friday, as the course wrapped up, I was ready to go home to see my family and return to work. I had stretched and found balance in my week on Cape Cod and was ready to share what I’d learned with my clients.