My very first post, for my newest project titled “The Self Series”, is here!
In my previous blog post, I wrote about why I started this project in the first place:
to bring people inside and outside the mental health field together to share powerful life lessons on topics we all struggle with but rarely discuss openly. This project is to create a community of people who are comforted by the connections provided to form new friendships or find support that’s rooted in personal growth and self-development.
And even though it’s taken some time between the announcement of my project to now, I finally did it! Today I’d like to introduce my beautiful friend, Julianne Schroeder LPC, RYT, as my first guest. Julianne and I met while we were both working at an eating disorder hospital in DFW almost 2 years ago. She was a huge influence on me as a professional counselor and as a friend. Her passion for helping others and the messages she stand by could not be more aligned with my personal values. And her support through my journey to launch this is unwavering so let me share with you her in her own words what her thoughts, perspective and experiences are when it comes to self-care.
Hi Julianne! I’d love to start off by giving you an opportunity to share “your story”
ie: who you are, what it is that you do, and how you got to where you are today:
J: “Blending yoga therapy, talk therapy, workshops, speaking, and teaching, my mission in life is to create mindful connection, compassion, & confidence in others. At the core of it, I want others to realize they’ve always been enough….because I believe it, truly. We are our own worst critics, and when we get beyond that we can step into ourselves and show up in the world in the ways that we are meant to be.
As a therapist, I’m obviously inclined to go back to my childhood and start there… I’m kidding, but not really. I promise I’ll keep it relatively brief. My parents both modeled and valued being of service to others, and I am deeply appreciative of the ideals they instilled in me. Identifying as a natural “people person”, I have always known my future would involve helping others in some capacity. I refined my career aspirations as I witnessed struggles of those close to me, along with my own experiences.
Fast forward (quickly, please!) through those teenage years ridden of insecurity that nobody wants to revisit, to my college years. I was an Education major and realized the greatest teachers believed that students ultimately have the knowledge within themselves to solve hard problems if given the opportunity to explore. Adopting that same philosophy, I felt drawn to the inner work and exploration that must happen for people to succeed in the most challenging subject of all– life.
Speeding up to today, it’s 100% the truth when I say I wouldn’t be where I am in my business and life without the unending support & opportunities afforded to me by my support system. I frequently reflect on how blessed I am to have such incredible family, friends, mentors, and colleagues that have encouraged me in my moments of doubt and celebrated in my successes. I’m not minimizing the countless hours I pour into being the best therapist, yoga teacher, workshop creator, etc. that I can be, yet I can say without a doubt, it’s the people I have met that have made all the difference.
If there’s one thing I stand and live by, it’s the belief that connection with others get us through life, and because of my connections with invaluable people, I am where I am today.”
With “self-care” being such a buzz phrase nowadays, what does it mean to you personally?
Self-care, at the core, is an unwavering belief that your needs matter and that you deserve to take care of you in whatever way you need, without guilt or justification.”
What are some ways that self-care shows up in your life?
J: “Self-care for me shows up in a variety of ways. For me though, the key is flexibility in my self-care. Sometimes it’s saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, people, & things that bring true joy into my life. Sometimes it’s saying ‘no’ in order to preserve myself. Sometimes self-care is thinking about long-term needs (aka the not always ‘fun’ adult responsibilities like being financially responsible) and sometimes it’s honoring short-term needs (i.e. not over-committing myself or taking a nap).
Personal self-care may be doing yoga, because that brings me compassion, gentleness, and respite which I need. Other days it may be wanting to feel strong in my body and making time to hit the gym & weights. Sometimes it’s getting outside to a picturesque spot because nature is my refuge, meditating, praying, journaling, or it’s sleeping in on the weekend without setting an alarm.
My relationships are a big part of my self-care as well. So if I find that work or an imbalance of anything else continually impedes on my ability to show up as present & giving in my personal relationships, then I know I need to make some adjustments (i.e. take on less projects, clients, limit work hours, etc.)
I think you get the picture. I’ve learned to honor ALL my needs in the moment, making self-care flexible and dynamic.”
I’m curious as to how the topic “self-care” is addressed or brought up in your therapy sessions? I think it’d be great to hear from a mental health professional the impact that
self-care can truly have on an individual!
J: “Self-care comes up pretty regularly with my clients. Self-care may be showing up for yoga therapy, counseling, or a workshop. A lot of my clients struggle with putting themselves first, and I truly understand them as I can easily get caught up in being in a role as always being a ‘helper’. It may be reminders & myth busting about how self-care isn’t selfish, and how it helps them be their best selves for others.
With clients we may also talk through past & current experiences that make it difficult to take care of themselves, and then make small self-care goals. With any lifestyle change connected with value and worth on a deep level, starting small helps to make more consistent change in beliefs and behaviors.”
What message about self-care do you want to share with the world?
J: “To keep it short and sweet, but powerful beyond all belief, is a quote which I hope resonates with everyone.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” -Bhudda”
What stigma about mental health do you disagree with and what would you replace it with?
J: “The biggest stigma about mental health I disagree is the idea that you have to really be struggling with serious issues in order to benefit from taking action to improve mental health. I approach it from an overall wellness perspective: just like many can easily see the purpose in investing time in fitness, their careers, relationships, etc, it’s necessary to pay attention to our mental health. The fact of the matter is when our minds & ability to manage emotions are optimal, then the rest of life functions better.”