Getting Ready for Wednesday

I did something yesterday that I do occasionally - I took a day off completely for myself. My day off is something that I reserve for a day when I am well, but not in a therapy-type mood. I limit myself to one per year, and yesterday was that day. 

For the last two years, my sick time has dwindled. This was primarily due to a work injury and then a bout of pneumonia during that same year. All of my accrued sick time was taken with the recoveries that I needed for those two situations. We also haven't had any snow days during the last three school years - I get to take advantage of a deal that the teachers made a long time ago where if I am willing to work during snow days, I get to take that time off later in the year. Zero snow days mean zero extra days off. I am to the point now where I am past the halfway mark of the school year, and I still have 8 days of sick, personal, and non-contract time left (that is after yesterday's day off is accounted for...).

Anyway, yesterday was my day off. I played hooky, and it was wonderful! I spent some time straightening up my bedroom, putting Christmas presents away, finding places for things around me, and watching new television shows. I took a nap, went to a movie, and then ate Chinese food for dinner. It was a good day.

I am now getting ready to go into my regular life a bit more relaxed and ready for whatever I get into.

When I first started out as a therapist, I tried to save my sick time as much as possible. I would go to work with every single ailment that I came down with - and I would end up just sitting there, spreading germs to others, and not being very effective in my role as therapist. I have since come to the conclusion that working while sick is not the best thing for me or for my clients.

As I have grown as a therapist, I have realized that it is just as important to remember the mental/emotional side of my well-being as it is to take care of the physical/wellness side. Hence, "MJ's Day Off" every so often. I am not able to do it often, but I have found that the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is really true in my case. If I take some time to relax in a purposeful manner, I find myself able to pay more attention to my clients. 

I constantly read posts on social media about therapists who are feeling guilty about taking time away from being a therapist - whether it is due to illness or a need for self-care. I admit, I still have those twinges of guilt, but I am realizing that my clients understand that I am human (whether they like it or not), and that everything can be rescheduled to accommodate their situations - the same is true for my situations. I always leave things for my clients to do (one of the benefits to having my own music therapy room) just in case I am not available during their session time. I may feel a bit differently about all of this if I wasn't a center-based therapist, but I don't know. 

For me, the most important part of being a therapist is finding my personal balance. I have to find a balance between being a therapist and being a human. I find myself balancing work duties with home duties (work duties almost always win on that scale). I have to remember to nurture me in order to best nurture others. These are the thoughts that I have developed over my years of working...and working...and working.

As I finish this post, I find myself looking forward to the day ahead. It is supposed to be warmer than it has been in a long time - temperatures in the upper 50's. I have to present an idea to the social workers and counselors during a meeting this afternoon. I have centers to prepare for my clients, and I have documentation to do for Monday's groups and Tuesday's absence. At the moment, the cat is curled up on my leg, purring. I don't want to get up and go, but I know that it is time. 

Time to get ready for this Wednesday.


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