counselling in Swindon by Gilly Chapell

the Basics of self care

​If we had a physical injury, we'd see a Doctor, maybe a specialist at the hospital, maybe we'd get a cast for a broken bone to protect the injury, followed by a clear plan from the specialist as to how to care for the injury and what exercises to do to improve our mobility.  Emotional health needs a similar approach.  So when we hit an emotional storm we need a caste to protect us from further emotional injury which comes in the form of self care and self compassion (being kind to yourself). If symptoms persist the therapist is your specialist to assess your emotional injury and guide you back to recovery. So a great place for clients to start is looking at their physical health and you can start today by looking at some of the basic gifts we can offer ourselves...


  • Do we allow ourselves to get a good 8 hours sleep?
  • Do we drink at least 8 glasses of water spread evenly during a day?
  • Do we eat at regular intervals and if we asked a nutritionist would they consider we eat our 5 a day and a good balance of fresh food?
  • Do we look after ourselves with a regular twenty minutes exercise?
  • Do we feel in balance between rushing around to meet the needs of others and satisfying our own needs?
  • Have you got sight of who you are (your identity) and what morals and principals you lean on and inspirational higher beliefs or spiritual glue keeps you together in difficult times and leads you forward in life?
  • Are we getting the right nutrients... e.g. sunlight, (vitamin D) and vitamin B6 which supports our emotions and energy, probiotic capsules to take care of our stomach to reduce bacteria & fungus build up which release toxins which can cause mental health symptoms?
  • Can you sit quietly and be OK with your own company, without the need to distract yourself, flick through your phone, listen to music or watch TV... Keeping yourself busy is a good sign you may be distracting yourself from the full force of strong feelings that are desperately in need space to be noticed. If you can not I wonder if you have considered why not? It is difficult feel emotionally balanced if physically we are neglecting ourselves. On a first initial session when clients are not really sure where to start or what to share this can be a good place to start.


If you are doing the basics and still experiencing difficulties, then you can look at the ways in which experience is filed.  Sometimes when our lives become filled with rigidity or chaos it can indicate our internal filing system is not working efficiently.  Siegel, (2012:373) refers to main filing systems where problems can occur. 


  • Sometimes we become over identified with thoughts and feelings allowing them to takeover the individual person.  This emotional state becomes the only thing the individual can identify with and rather than having a feeling they become over powered by it.  This can happen with many feelings but obviously when stuck in a mode of anger and frustration it can quickly leave a path of destruction.
  • Sometimes the way the filing system has developed over years leaves individuals prone to tendencies of outbursts and dysregulation. Mending this filing provides much needed resilience.
  • Sometimes the front part of our reasoning, logical or concentration brain looses touch with the part of the brain which experiences feelings and emotions, so we are left either unable to identify with our feelings or so overwhelmed by them that there appears to be no logic available to talk us down from experiencing intense emotions leaving us often overwhelmed.  This can be a constant state or a switching between states also seen in problems of post traumatic stress.  Resolving this can help you stay within your window of tolerance.


These are just some of the indicators that our filing systems need to be sorted and reorganised.  This sounds like a big job but in therapy you often find just by talking about one or two things which are taking up a lot of space it allows you the band width to tidy up most of the chaos then it is your choice how much else you reconstruct.


​What's really important to you really matters and if it is important to you then it really matters to me... and you do not need suffer in silence or to go alone on this journey.


I'm truly hoping for you to get in touch, share your thoughts, I'm just a message away... and I do reply promptly!