My clients will recognize this question or some variation of it.  I believe one of my most important tasks as a counselor is to remind clients to tend to themselves between sessions.  Often, at the end of a session, I will ask what clients plan to do to tend to themselves this week. I have a few categories I like to cover:

  1. What will you do for joy? Will this be walking, sex, blowing bubbles, laughing with your kids or partner(s), or some other activity?  
  2. How will you create time and space for feelings? This could look like journaling, pondering the feelings wheel (feelingswheel.org) and identifying a few feelings happening that day, making feelings-based art (not necessarily pretty art), putting on a sad movie to get some crying going, or any number of other activities specifically meant to allow space for feelings.
  3. How can you plan to make sure you eat, drink water, get some joyful movement, and sleep?

It can be easy to keep putting one foot in front of the other and drag ourselves along through our lives without tending to ourselves. We are tender to our pets, kids, partner(s), co-workers, friends – seemingly everyone but ourselves.  We need to knock that off because this is the one life that we get to live and expand and experience joy amidst all of the minutiae and suffering of life.