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Jun 20, 2013
The Little List of Self-Care Tips for Online Counsellors

 

A friend has been preparing to teach a university course on trauma to counsellors and we’ve been discussing our ethical responsibility to engage in self-care.  Which led me to re-examine my own self-care practices.  Besides all the “usual” ones – what I noticed is that doing online counselling requires an additional set of physical self-care strategies.  Ones that, sadly, until recently I had been neglecting.
 
Here’s a few of the self-care tips I have re-discovered.
 
Ergonomics
 
I have been reviewing the proper desk height and computer positioning using the Mayo Clinic guide.  Hmm…looks as if I need an office makeover.  
 
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/office-ergonomics/MY01460
 
Though one thing I have done correctly (ergonomically speaking) is this – I have an awesome completely adjustable chair.   Well worth every penny I spent on it.
 
Other people I know who do this work sit on a balance ball.  And one person I know has a standing workstation.   It’s about finding what works for you.
 

I like this self-care suggestion – Arrange your workspace so it is comfortable and comforting.  I have shifted things around in my office so that when I do look up I see something that is visually appealing or that serves as a reminder.  For example, years ago a colleague gave me a small round wooden box with a picture of an otter on top.  It sits right in my line of view when I glance up.  It’s beautiful and I smile whenever I see it.
 
The all-important stretching!
 
I need to set timers to remind to stop and stretch or change my position every so often.  When I am “in the zone” and focussed on what is happening on my computer screen I’m not paying attention to my posture.
 
Mayo Clinic has a great set of videos on workplace stretches
 
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/office-stretches/MY00921
 
This short video clip shows a couple of forearm stretches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri77PezkEr4
 
Some acupressure suggestions for releasing neck tension.
 
http://lifeafterpain.com/info/trigger-point/self-treatment-trigger-points-neck/#
 
And every once in a while I need to stop and try this yoga relaxation pose– even if it’s only for a couple of minutes!
 
http://life.gaiam.com/video/how-do-relaxation-pose-extra-ahhh-factor
 
Mini-breaks
 
I definitely need to pay more attention to finding simple ways to take mini breaks during a workday.  I have been setting a timer [did I mention I love timers?] to remind me to get up, step away from the desk and go for a walk or sit outside.  
 
Staying hydrated
 
Seems so simple and yet so easy to forget!  I make sure I have a glass of water close at hand. 
 
Bottom line – It’s about paying attention to my energy,  acknowledging when I’ve done enough for the day and stepping away from the computer.
 
Oh and I really like this person’s self-care suggestion. “Cranking iTunes between clients and shaking it all out, head to toe, booty ‘n’ all”.   I think there may be more office dancing in my future.
 

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc.  http://www.therapyonline.ca 
 
 
 


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