• Mckenzie Dow

I'm no artist, but I sure do doodle...and self care in many other ways too!

Today I took part in SafeTALK training at UCD! The objectives of the training are to give people the tools to recognize when someone may be thinking about suicide and to know how to respond by listening and helping keep that person safe. The training facilitates the growth in how many people are suicide alert in communities throughout Ireland (and other countries too!) I was also really eager to partake in the training as someone I am very close to has recently been affected by the suicide of her best friend and having more suicide alert individuals could mean the difference between life and death for someone in the communities around us.

The training got me thinking a lot about my own mental health and self-care efforts as an individual, but also an aspiring clinical practitioner. Last semester in my counselling class we talked a lot about the importance of self care and I've been working very hard to continue the efforts in self care this semester as well. So, to inspire any of you future mental health professionals or really just any of you since self care is so important!

I used to be an avid journaler, but lately I have been more interested in drawing/doodling/water colour painting. You don't have to be artistically talented to get enjoyment from letting creative juices flow!

Some of my essential self care materials: fruit, art supplies, iced coffee and Fergus Nash

A recent doodle of mine, I like to do terrible calligraphy

Something else I like to do that is just for me is baking! I LOVE making cupcakes, cookies, Oreo balls, brownies, and anything else in between. Baking can be vigorous and is a perfect way to distract yourself from the stress of your life. Baking is so rewarding too because you can put so much love into what you're making and reap the reward of a tasty treat at the end of it all.

Another activity that I self care with is through nature! I am not a religious, but being in nature is one way that I do feel 'spiritual'. I especially get the most out of going to the ocean. I'm not one for a long day at the beach on a hot day, but on a breezy off season day the beach is amazing. I think one reason I love Ireland is because the beaches are never too crowded so it feels like off season all of the time.

My friend Andy on a recent mini-hike up Ticknock in Dublin

Self care can be as simple as making sure you eat regularly or going to bed earlier. These behaviours help your body and mind be resilient and well. Self care can look like meditation or reading more often or calling a friend that you haven't heard from in a while. It can be anything that keeps you happy and healthy and allows you to avoid burnout when work gets hard or to find resiliency when hard things happen in our life. It doesn't matter what your self care activities are, as long as you partake in them!!

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