We believe that therapy is a life-changing way to support your mental health. That’s why we do what we do here at Urban Wellness! However if you’re going to therapy every week, that’s one hour a week out of 168. What can you do during the other 167 hours a week when you’re not in the therapy chair? There are lots of ways to support mental health between therapy sessions, so you can take some time to find what works best for you.
Why is it important to tend to your mental health between therapy sessions?
Therapy is enormously helpful, and it can be an excellent place to learn new skills and gain insight into your patterns and relationships. We’ve talked about ways to make the most of your therapy sessions before, but it’s also important to use the time outside of therapy to support your mental health.
The majority of your time is spent outside the therapy room. Part of the purpose of therapy is to find new ways to cope with what’s happening outside of the therapy room, and the time between sessions is perfect for practicing that.
The work you do outside of the therapy room can be just as meaningful as the work you do inside. After all, real life is where you’re applying the lessons you’ve learned, using new coping skills, and responding in new ways. A goal of therapy is to help improve your day to day life, and
The time between appointments gives you time to reflect on what you discussed and process what you need to. Sometimes, what we talk about in the therapy room can be pretty heavy. It’s normal for that to weigh on you after sessions, and it can take some time to process how you feel afterward.
So, what can you do between therapy sessions to support your mental health?
The options are pretty much endless. Ask yourself what makes you feel fulfilled and rejuvenated. What makes you feel cared for and safe? If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some suggestions to start with after your next therapy session:
Therapy involves processing a lot of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. When you don’t have a chance to process those out loud with a therapist, writing things down can be a helpful substitute. Many people benefit from a regular journaling practice, especially in conjunction with therapy. Journal time gives you a chance to be really honest with yourself. You can learn more about your inner world and spot any unhelpful patterns that are no longer serving you.
A journal is also the perfect place to keep a list of what to discuss in your therapy sessions. It can be hard to keep track of everything that comes up between sessions. Writing it down not only gives you a chance to remember to bring it up, but it can help you start down the road to processing your feelings about what’s going on.
Practice what you talked about
The time in between sessions is the perfect time to implement some of what you talked about with your therapist. Is there a coping strategy that you can practice? Is there a conversation that you can have with someone about something you discussed in therapy? If your therapist had advice or insight for you, reflect on what they said and take their advice if a situation comes up where you can. Even if you don’t end up taking their advice, sometimes just knowing that you can do things differently is empowering.
Make time for self-care, including rest
Remember, you don’t have to be constantly working on yourself. We’re all doing the best we can, for the most part. Don’t beat yourself up for making time to rest and recuperate between therapy sessions. As we said above, therapy can be intense. We work through a lot in the therapy room, and it’s important to your mental and physical health that you get enough rest. Rest is when your body and brain repair themselves. It’s also just nice to give yourself a break. There are lots of ways to practice self-care, from making time for rest to making sure to fill your prescriptions before you run out. What makes you feel most supported when you’re struggling? See if you can provide that support for yourself.
Remember how far you’ve come
It can be frustrating to feel like change isn’t happening as fast as we want it to. Mental health work can be slow going, and so it’s important to remind yourself of the shifts you do see, even if they seem small or insignificant. Did you handle something more effectively than you expected to? Did you have that hard conversation you’ve been dreading? Have you practiced enforcing a boundary? Even attending therapy is an accomplishment in itself- it’s hard to prioritize yourself week after week, especially when the work gets tough. Sticking with it is a huge deal! Remember to be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come since you started your therapy journey.