I mentioned last week that I had struggled with the fact that I had been so busy living - going to see Esther Perel speak in London which I blogged about here - and taking a trip to France, where I plan to move to one day - that I felt bad for falling behind with my blogging schedule and social media presence.
Part of the way that I work to differentiate myself from the multitude of other therapists in Bristol is about anticipating the wants and needs of my clients. I've done things like work into the evening to accommodate those who work full-time jobs - interestingly this is not something that many counsellors choose to do. I have an instant online booking facility where clients can check my availability without needing the back-and-forth of an email exchange and can book independently of me. I offer online counselling via a telemedicine portal for those who don't live locally to my office (and this is something that I shall be focussing on in the next few months). I will also shortly be offering email counselling for those who prefer to write their thoughts rather than speak them.
And I blog. Because I love to write, but also because I enjoy sharing my thoughts with my past, current and present clients and this can spur conversations in sessions, or encourage someone to make contact to work on a particular subject with some confidence that I have some knowledge of the subject that they would like to talk about.
So when I don't blog, when I don't share my thoughts and interests - I feel as though I am letting others down. It doesn't feel great. But when the reason that I'm not blogging or posting on Instagram is that I'm living my life, doing the things that make me feel good as an individual - then I need to notice that the price that I'm paying for having the space in my life to travel or spend time with friends, or even rest - is necessary and proper. That I should be okay with sacrificing my schedule and routine some of the time - when it is in service of my other long-term goals and my mental or physical health.
Today I start my third set of intensive French lessons with Alliance Francaise. I've studied with them before when I lived in Devon, and it was an obvious choice for me to go back to them for an intensive course in preparation for my one-day move to France. The "problem" is that it takes 2 hours out of my regular work hours, twice a week. After reflecting on this I'm now comfortable that this is in service of my other goals in life, and that to live to work, rather than work to live is not the ethos that I want my self-employed life to embody. Are they words that you can say that you live by too?
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.