Do you take time to consolidate?
I like to finish things; I struggle to stop reading a book once I’ve begun and have stuck with too many TV shows until the bitter end. Sometimes this can be a helpful trait, like when I’m studying, but sometimes the desire to get to the end means I can be impatient with the process. When I do finally get there, I often find that what I thought was the end, was simply the start of the next bit. One more page becomes one more chapter becomes the whole book or when I have this qualification becomes this job becomes this promotion. There can be such pressure to keep growing and changing that sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is time or space to stop and appreciate where we are.
If we buy into these ever-moving endpoints, we may leave ourselves at risk of ending up in burnout and unable to move forward at all. To prevent this, we need to build in periods of consolidation, where we can take stock of how things are. This is something that can happen quite naturally in therapy following a big shift and then a period where it can feel like nothing is happening. These times can feel frustrating, like we’re stuck or not getting anywhere because they often come with a slowing down. But they give time to consolidate and embed the changes already made and prepare the groundwork for the ones that will follow. I often talk to clients about therapy not being a smooth journey with consistent change, but one that is bumpy with lots of stops along the way.
The more I’ve come to understand myself and my own needs, the more I have realised how important these periods of nothing are to me and how often I need them. I’ve also learnt that it isn’t just for my wellbeing, but also because it is what allows me to do my job and support my loved ones in the way that I want to. What these periods looks lie varies for everyone, for me it could mean a day on the sofa re-watching my favourite moves, taking regular time off from work or my daily yoga practice. I’ve had to learn to listen to myself and take note of what I need, something I have been doing this week. As part of this process, I have made the decision to not take on any new clients for the rest of the year, however I hope to be able to offer some additional spaces in January.
What does consolidation look like for you?