I have already completed ten whole days of placement and I am both surprised at how fast this is all going and overwhelmed by the fact I still have twelve whole weeks left.
It’s all slowly becoming a blur; my eyes are growing more tired every day; my soul is carrying the burdens of so many who surround me; my mind is growing from the knowledge I am having the opportunity to grasp at; and my body is always looking forward to the weekends.
It’s exhausting; physically, mentally and emotionally.
My mind tries to keep up with my body and my body tries to keep up with my mind and it is all one big cycle of my body and mind chasing after one another.
It’s a lot to handle.
It’s a lot to deal with, a lot to face, and most days it’s all a reminder why I never really wanted to work in mental health.
In the same breathe, I am so in love with this line of work, with the people I am meeting, with the experiences I am having and with the knowledge I am gaining.
I have not, for so long, felt so inspired by a group of people, to research as far and wide as I can about mental illnesses, about substance abuse, about social work theories, so as I can learn and grow and discover more about working in mental health and, more about myself.
This second week of placement saw me submit two pieces of assessment, finish drafting a third, experience my first absolute 180 turn with a client and over the past 5 days I have just seen how things can go from 0 to 100 and back again, real quick. It’s been a week that has dragged me through the mud and I came out the other end tired and barely able to move.
Despite wanting a quiet weekend, I actually ended up being a taxi for both my housemates which led to a total burnout today-Sunday. I was annoyed, frustrated and tired, yelling how unfair it was that I had a job five days a week that was mentally and physically exhausting (and starting to catch up with me) and how I then had to come home to a mess because each person was blaming the other for it and refused to clean up.
So today, I decided to take myself out on a date-something I have never done in my entire 21 years and 11 months of living. I went to a book store I have wanted to go to for so long-and purchased six new books that I really do not need- before treating myself to a green tea at the cutest little cafe that I have also been wanting to try for a while. I then decided to just take a shot in the dark and do a yoga class that I had my eye on for the past week and it was the most relaxing, restorative hour of yoga in my life.
These four hours of listening to Busby Marou as I drove around to explore books and books on end, drink tea, journal, and refresh myself in a yoga class reminded me how important self-care is, and how important it will be throughout the next 12 weeks of placement. I hadn’t realised that it would be this significant, that I couldn’t just go for a 15-minute walk every day and feel okay. I know now that I am going to need so much more than that.
Therefore, I have given myself a little promise that self-care will be part of my every day routine for a lot longer than 15 minutes, because I deserve it.
I came up with a list (I’m a sucker for lists) of things that I want to make part of my daily and weekly self-care routine, including:
- reading for fun more often
- going for a walk every afternoon
- practising yoga at least three times a week-whether that be through a class or online
- drinking more tea
- leaving Uni work for during work hours
- getting enough sleep
- drinking more water
- journalling more
If I have learnt anything this past week, this second week of placement, it’s that I really have not been taking as much care of myself-physically, mentally or emotionally-as I should have been, and that self-care needs to become an essential part of my day-to-day life if I’m going to make it to the other end of this placement without feeling next-level exhausted and broken.
I was lost and looking for answers-
and found them in
(learning how to love)
Isabella Mente (from her novel, “7,300 Days”)