One Day Per Week

My school schedule is fully in effect as of this weekend. I no longer have the luxury of three-day weekends that I get during the summer months. I now have only one day per week free from work-related responsibilities (mostly). Even this day occasionally has work-related responsibilities, but I do try to limit them to things that I love or volunteer to do rather than the full-time job things that happen that I am asked to volunteer for (there's an event this evening, as a matter of fact, that I declined because it was on my one day off and would affect my other job tomorrow morning).

I get to plan on not having plans today. That is a good thing for me. I have nothing that I have to do, except for cleaning the kitchen of course, that never goes away. I'm even enough caught up with the laundry that I don't have a full load to do this weekend. That's good.

Saturdays are my self-care day. For me, self-care includes time to sit on my bed and read books for fun. Self-care includes making visual aids and developing course content for my website. Self-care includes brainstorming and practicing the ukulele. Saturdays are my day to nap when I want to (and I ALWAYS want to).

I've developed this day as my self-care check-in day through my years of being someone who likes to be busy. I can get into times when I overschedule myself, so I make an effort to limit my obligations to others on Saturdays. I do what I need to do for various organizations, but I'm not available at just any old time - I stick to the morning for any appointments so I can nap (did I mention that I love napping??).

Saturday is the day where I do most of my work for my own interests and well-being. I emphasize my own creative process and will often spend some time making ideas come to life. I always feel more engaged during Saturdays than I do any other time of the week because I am here for me.

Now, I have the luxury of having a day where I get to do whatever I want to do because of my life situation - I answer only to myself - but I think it is important for every therapist to find some time to be focused on self rather than focused on others.

I am part of a group on Facebook called the Helping Collaborative. It is run by someone I used to babysit (that is really weird to me), and it is a group of people who are in helping professions that get daily prompts to think about how we do what we do. I am a lousy group member - I don't contribute lots - but I get very good reminders about what it means to be a helper and finding my balance in a taking world. It is wonderful to be part of something that is not music therapy. It really reminds me that we music therapists are not alone in our journeys. Others struggle with the things that challenge us - credential recognition, funding issues, misrepresentation, advocacy, self-care, burn out, etc. I recommend that we all find someplace like the Helping Collaborative that allows us to be part of a group of other professionals - perspective is important.

I have also asked the art therapist to make some time for official peer supervision at work. We've decided to make our supervision time happen on Fridays over lunch. Our administrator gave us the time away (it is coming out of our prep/planning time) without even blinking. I am hoping that we can use that time to not only check in on each other, but to engage in some creative expression. The art therapist is a singer, and I am an artist, so I think we could do some interesting work through our modalities as well.

It is important to take time for the nurturing of self as well as for the nurturing of professional. So, I am off to go back to sleep or at least to spend some more time in bed doing what I need right now. When I am finished with the reclining part of the day, I'll clean the kitchen. I might even go out somewhere, but I probably won't - there is nothing that I need to get right now.

I'm off to do some active self-care. Happy Saturday, all.


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