Counselors and therapist, in most cases, have spent a huge number of hours learning ways to help those who are hurting and/or those who are trying to find a better way to do life. Unfortunately, counselors usually do not have space in their schedule for immediate same day bookings, to help those who need immediate relief. Therefore, make sure to leave a message. So then, what’s a frazzled, desperate soul to do? Below are some therapy exercises you can do at home while waiting for that next appointment.
First, don’t hesitate to lock yourself in your bedroom or bathroom and just cry. Cry loud! Loud, sobbing tears that release that pent up energy that is causing you so much anxiety. Now, if you are like many of us who feel as though we have cried our last tear and just have no more left, keep reading. Unfortunately, the anxious energy is still present even though crying seems impossible, so go for a walk, a speed walk, a jog, an all out run. Do something (that will not harm yourself or others) to release that tension. If moving feels impossible, then scream, as loud as you can while tensing up your entire body. Now, let your muscles relax, slowly, while taking three deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel the air fill and leave your lungs and feel your muscles let go, one by one from your toes all the way to the top of your head. With a slight bit relief, let’s move on to exercise number two.
Next, take a notebook, your favorite journal, or if you don’t have one, borrow your kids notebook, they should have one somewhere. Go ahead and start writing all the stuff that’s in your head. The good, the bad, the ugly. Just write it all down. It doesn’t have to be pretty or even make sense. In fact, it can go all over the page in big letters or small. In cursive or print, you can even write it in short hand if you know how to do that. When you’re finished you then have a choice. You can read it, throw it away, burn it, save it, tear it to pieces, or all of the above. Whatever makes you feel the best. At this point, you should feel slightly more relaxed, and your head may even be a little clearer. Which brings you to the best part. Personal self care.
Do something for you. Take a bath, give yourself or go get a pedicure. Paint your nails. Cook something. Sit on the back porch and eat an ice cream bar. Just do something that brings you (even a slight bit) of joy in this overwhelming time. Know that you are not alone and that there is at least one person who thinks about you once a day. You are loved, you are strong, hold on to hope and embrace the fact that your victory is right around the corner.
Kristy Palacios, LPCC
Kristy is a counselor from the Northern Denver Metro area that specializes in providing counseling for women that are struggling with depression and anxiety and trying to find direction and purpose in life.