Amy Sketcher is an awesome child psychologist based not too far away in Coffs Harbour! I was lucky enough to get the chance to pick her brain into what she does for self-care and how she incorporates mindfulness into her everyday life.
We would love to hear about your mindfulness/self-care journey! What helpful changes have you noticed along the way?
Years ago I used to think of self-care as a luxury, and an almost self-absorbed concept of bubble baths, massages, and facials, which at the time I had neither the time to allow, or money to fund. I now know that notion was totally ridiculous. I think as I have grown, read, explored for myself, and walked with others on their journey I have come to a fuller understanding that self-care is just such a broad term for what fills your cup back up again, and it looks different for every single person. When your cup is empty you not only have nothing for yourself, but you also have nothing left to give to others, so in many ways, self-care is the furthest thing from selfish and a necessity rather than a luxury.
How do you apply a self-care perspective to fit self-care into your life?
I have to mentally and tangibly schedule in self-care sometimes, I know that doesn’t sound very dreamy but life gets so busy with work, social life, church, and other commitments that if I don’t block out time in the diary for me it just doesn’t happen. I have my regular routine self-care like exercise, eating well, certain social catch ups that are set, but I then like to carve out time to phone my bestie living in another state, or to be on my own with no plans, just have solo time thinking and doing nothing, or taking a night to do something for me like a face mask and hair mask. My self-care is broken into the routine self-care, and the spontaneous/ free self-care and both are equally important.
Which stress-busting tools have you noticed work well for you?
For me, I find the best stress-busting is done physically, and socially- combining the two if possible! It might sound cliché but I have ALWAYS hated exercise, in the past, I did it because I knew it was healthy and good for me but I used to dislike every moment. I have tried literally everything from gyms, to team sports, to group classes and it is only recently I have found what works for me so stick at it people! I now do personal training with a really great trainer and friend, combined with yoga weekly. I really notice when I miss my sessions cause I can feel the physical build-up of stress wanting to burst out of me.
How do you express your creative self in your work/parenting?
In the past, I used to think I wasn’t a creative person cause I don’t have the ‘traditional creative’ outlets like painting, music, etc. I have found however that creativity looks different for every person and it is more about expression then talent or skill. As a Psychologist, I find my creativity is at it’s highest when I am working with kiddies and trying to find a way to teach a skill or explain a complex concept. I love exploring this and the feeling when you think up something different, or find a new way to do this; whether it is drawing little comics strips to explore social skills, or seeing who can blow the biggest bubble to teach slow breathing.
How do you stay motivated to care for yourself?
I am not sure it is a case of staying motivated or surviving. Taking care of myself (or self-care) is just a way of being now, and without it, I find it really hard to function well, and get through my weeks. Obviously, there are times in life where I need to amp it up, or when it takes a backseat but overall it seems to find a balance. I have gotten pretty good at recognizing when I need to make it a bigger priority and now know myself well enough to listen to that inner voice (or body that is getting sick or tired) and put self-care back in a prime position again.
Have you seen a therapist? If so, what did you learn about your self-care?
YES! I am a therapist and I have seen a therapist before too. I think sometimes there is still a stigma around accessing support. This is heightened when you are in the industry, cause there is the additional factor of ‘you know all this, you should be able to sort yourself out’ but honestly having someone else to talk to, that you can trust, who will give you unbiased discussions without judgment is really just a wonderful thing. I think that one aspect of self-care I have learnt through therapy is simply that it is ok to take time out for yourself, it is ok to have needs, and it is ok to seek out ways to meet your needs, and it this not a flaw in you but rather it is a basic part of being a human being.
Share your thoughts on values-centred living
Values- centred living is really the key to living a flourishing, and healthy life. It is important to remember though that values centred does not mean perfect happy life- but rather a knowledge of where your priorities are, and a strengthening of your resilience to tackle the tricky phases we are all thrown time to time. Knowing what is important to you at your core can really support you to live your life in alignment and give a sense of knowing to the direction you take and goals you develop.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with women coming together for a cause, as a collective.
I am not sure if this fits in this space, but each fortnight I meet with a group of girlfriends for what we call Bridge nope not the old people card game. It’s just us doing dinner, catching up, chatting about our faith, lives, struggles, achievements and all round just being each other’s cheerleaders. It became a really important and lovely part of my life when I moved to a new area and was trying to find where I fit in. Since then it’s also given me a lovely opportunity to welcome others into our group to find a home away from home, in the same way, that I did when I first started going to Bridge.
Thank you, Amy, for that insightful interview! It’s not often that we get a perspective of self-care from a therapists point of view! I love how Amy found a way to make exercise work for her, we all know the importance of exercise but it may just take some time to find something that works for us! Amy is right on the money when she says values centred living does not mean happiness 100% of the time, but rather, learning how to overcome those more difficult stages in life that everyone, even therapists, happen to go through!
If you want to know more about Amy and her awesome practice, head over to her Instagram @seasonalliedhealth and give her a follow!
If you would like to learn some important self-care skills, we will be running another online self-care course in the near future and would love to see you there. Book online via: themindfulcollective.co/online-courses/