When was the last time that you took five or ten minutes out of your busy day to check in with yourself to see how you were feeling? With everything that we all have going on these days, it is rare that we find time in the day to look inward and focus on ourselves. As a busy graduate student, I can attest to the rarity of finding such time. Between classes, my practicum, homework, babysitting, and trying to have a social life, I barely have time to cook dinner or do the other household chores that I oh so often fall behind on. However, after presenting my final presentation yesterday for my expressive therapies class, I have learned the importance and necessity of each of us taking this time for ourselves.
For our presentation, my partner and I decided to do a series of self-esteem building exercises. We started off with open-ended prompts, then led the class through a self-esteem relaxation, and ended with a journaling exercise. For my part of the presentation I conducted the self-esteem relaxation exercise, during which I led the class through a guided imagery and recited a series of self-esteem building affirmations. I put on a meditation sound track, dimmed the lights, and guided my fellow classmates into a place of deep relaxation where their self-esteem was explored and strengthened. Following this exercise, I had my classmates draw a self-portrait and then we engaged in a discussion about the experience.
Since starting the program in the fall, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the guided imagery and relaxation exercises we have done. I was first introduced to meditation and relaxation through my yoga practice, which is something that I have enjoyed for years. Most recently, as we have been discussing the importance of mindfulness and self-care, I have begun to explore meditation and mindfulness more and I have increased my practice of these relaxation exercises. As therapists in training, we find ourselves in positions where our optimal mental health is imperative to helping others reach that same place. Practicing mindfulness meditation has been of great benefit in providing myself with the time and space to look inward and focus on myself. Through this practice I have been able to become more aware of my feelings and emotions in the present moment.
I urge all of you to try and take some time out of your day to focus on yourself. Even if just for five minutes, find a quiet place, relax, and check in to see how you are feeling. I think you will be surprised at how receptive your mind and body is to this self-directed practice. Lastly, I included the link below to the site where I retrieved the self-esteem relaxation if any of you want to check it out!
Happy relaxation ☺