Counseling the Health Counselor

November 3, 2009

It has been a while since my last post, but I am BACK and ready to share what I’ve been up to. I recently made a return to Stage Management, working with the New School for Drama. I met a lot of really amazing people and learned that there are many things I do still love about being a Stage Manager. But it was a demanding schedule, and it proved to be more difficult than I anticipated to balance my responsibilities between the show and my counseling practice. And then my own diet and lifestyle priorities??!! Whew. Well – I have had my go at the luxury of time for almost a year now, so it was good for me to be reminded what it can really take to pursue a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a very busy schedule. I am happy to report that it IS possible after all! 🙂

But…was I the “perfect” role model of health over the past couple of months? Absolutely not. I had my moments of battling with myself in front of the vending machine even when I knew sugar would not give me nearly the amount of energy as the salad I had stashed in the office fridge. I found myself scarfing down food on a break no matter what I know about how digestion starts in your mouth and that you will feel fuller by eating slower and enjoying your meals. And I stayed up until 2am watching TV because “winding down” was apparently more important than getting an extra hour or two of sleep.

Thing is…I can’t feel ashamed because I faced these challenges. I am a Health Counselor, yes. But I am human, too. And what I’d rather do is celebrate my successes and share with you the two most important things I focused on in the hope that they can benefit you when you find yourself biting off a little more than you can chew:

Define your priorities:
Yes exercise is important. Sometimes sleep is even more important. And, to me, having healthy food available is just about always the most important. When I found I had a free morning, I made sure to take a yoga class. When I needed an extra hour of sleep, I took a different train that meant a longer walk to work and picked up a meal from a healthy restaurant on the way. When I was sure I wouldn’t have time to exercise or find a healthy meal on the go, I got up early enough to pack my own food and made sure to take a few extra trips up and down the stairs. (In fact, I made it a point to always take the stairs no matter what!) I have been well versed in the “all or nothing” approach throughout my life, but I’ve learned that my health issues of the past were greatly rooted in the “nothing”. Now I know that, while sometimes you can’t do it “all”, achieving good health starts with the individual choices you make each and every day.

Get Support:
I give HUGE credit to my brother for getting me through this time. Since he is living with me these days, he was an amazing support when it came to taking care of the apartment and the cats. He picked up groceries at the co-op. And he offered to pick me up at work on the nights when I had the tightest turn around to the next day. I am also grateful to the Production Supervisors at the school, who saw their PSM burning out pretty fast and agreed to hire an additional assistant. What a relief! I realize now that I’ve always had some issues around delegating tasks, sharing the load, and asking for help. Now I have fully cemented the idea in my mind that not only is it okay to ask for help, it is absolutely essential to finding balance in your life.

So…take a moment today to ask yourself:
What are your priorities and how will you make time for them?
Who can you turn to for support and when will you ask for it?

I’ve spent the past year learning how to counsel others. I have to say it was a fabulous experience to reconnect with what it takes to counsel myself. After all, what is it they say on airplanes? Put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to assist others. Wise advice. But not just on an airplane.

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4 Responses to “Counseling the Health Counselor”

  1. Angela Says:

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re back 🙂

  2. Amanda Says:

    Patti, what a great post, and so important! As New Yorkers we sometimes feel we can tackle it all, and then we end up crashing and burning (and with the swine flu!)
    Prioritizing is so important. i always ask myself: What’s important now? Along with, what does my body say?
    Keep up the great work, and welcome back to the blogosphere!

  3. Sue Says:

    Patti,

    So glad I met you during Richard! one, because you were a great stage manager but two, you give great advice on how to deal with a crazy new school schedule!

    This is so what I needed to hear, Thanks!

  4. Patti McCabe Says:

    Thanks ladies! So glad to know this resonated with you. Packed schedules are indeed the status quo in NYC. But it’s really how we approach our own needs that allows us to achieve our goals. Even now that the show is over I have to keep that in mind every day.

    Thanks again & I hope you’ll keep reading! 🙂


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