What to Do in Between Therapy Sessions

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While therapy is a major step toward your mental well-being, the time between sessions can sometimes be challenging. You might encounter daily triggers that are tough to handle or find it difficult to maintain the progress you’ve made. These struggles are a normal part of the process, and knowing how to navigate this period can make a significant difference in your journey.

Here, we offer practical tips and activities to help you manage your mental health between therapy sessions, providing the tools to thrive when you’re not in the therapist’s office.

1. Reflecting on Your Therapy Sessions

Reflecting on your therapy sessions is crucial for reinforcing your progress and deepening your understanding of yourself. Reflecting helps you internalize the insights and strategies discussed during therapy, making it easier to apply them in your daily life. 

Journaling Your Thoughts and Progress

Journaling is a powerful tool for processing your thoughts and tracking your progress.

Tips for Effective Journaling:

  • Set Aside Time: Dedicate a specific time each day for journaling, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes.
  • Be Honest: Write openly about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment.
  • Include Details: Note both positive experiences and challenges you faced.
  • Reflect on Application: Consider how you applied techniques from therapy in real-life situations and the outcomes.

Reviewing Session Notes and Homework

Staying engaged with the material from your therapy sessions is crucial for reinforcing what you’ve learned.

Tips for Reviewing Session Notes:

  • Regularly Review: Set reminders to review your notes regularly, such as once a week.
  • Highlight Key Points: Identify and highlight the main takeaways from each session.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your notes and homework assignments in a dedicated notebook or digital file.
  • Break Down Tasks: If you have assignments or goals from your therapist, break them down into smaller, manageable steps to stay on track.

2. Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is a vital component of maintaining your mental health between therapy sessions. By taking care of your physical, emotional, and social needs, you can create a supportive environment for healing and growth.

Physical Self-Care

Taking care of your body is essential for overall well-being. Simple physical self-care routines can make a significant difference in how you feel.

Simple Self-Care Routines to Follow:

  • Exercise: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, even if it’s just a short walk. Yoga, stretching, or a quick workout can boost your mood.
  • Nutrition: Eat regular, nutritious meals and stay hydrated. Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Sleep: Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to support your mental and emotional resilience.

Emotional Self-Care

Managing your emotions and stress levels is key to maintaining mental health. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help you stay grounded and calm.

Techniques for Managing Stress and Emotions:

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Spend a few minutes each day focusing on your breath or engaging in guided meditation. Apps like Headspace or Calm can be helpful.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Use deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and body. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
  • Engage in Joyful Activities: Spend time doing activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, or engaging in a hobby.

Social Self-Care

Healthy relationships and social interactions are crucial for emotional support. Balancing social activities with alone time can help you maintain a positive outlook.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships:

  • Spend Time with Supportive Close Ones: Surround yourself with friends and family members who uplift you.
  • Communicate Openly: Share your thoughts and feelings with trusted loved ones. Honest communication can strengthen your relationships and provide emotional support.
  • Set Boundaries: Protect your mental and emotional health by setting boundaries. It’s okay to say no to social activities that feel overwhelming.

Balancing Social Activities and Alone Time:

  • Schedule Social Activities: Plan regular social activities that you enjoy, whether it’s a coffee date with a friend or a group outing.
  • Allow Time for Yourself: Schedule time to recharge and engage in solitary activities. Find a balance that suits your personal needs and preferences.

3. Implementing Coping Strategies

Coping strategies are essential in between sessions for managing stress and maintaining mental health. These techniques can help you navigate triggering situations and sustain the progress you’ve made in therapy.

  • Identify Triggers: Be aware of situations or thoughts that trigger stress or anxiety. Recognizing these triggers can help you prepare and manage them effectively.
  • Apply Techniques: Use coping skills you’ve learned in therapy, such as grounding techniques, positive self-talk, or cognitive restructuring, to manage your responses to stress.

Staying Engaged in Hobbies and Interests

Engaging in enjoyable activities can provide a much-needed break from stress and enhance your overall well-being.

  • Try Something New: Explore new hobbies or interests that you’ve always wanted to try. This can provide a fresh and exciting way to spend your time.
  • Join Clubs or Groups: Consider joining clubs or groups related to your interests. This can help you meet new people and stay socially engaged.

4. Seeking Additional Support

Sometimes, maintaining mental health between therapy sessions requires seeking additional support. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can provide extra encouragement and guidance.

  • Joining Support Groups: Support groups offer a safe space to share experiences and gain insight from others facing similar challenges.
  • Finding Local and Online Support Groups: Check with your therapist, local hospitals, or community centers for information on support groups in your area. Many organizations offer online support groups, which can be convenient if you have a busy schedule or prefer connecting virtually. 
  • Reaching Out to Friends and Family: A strong friends and family support network can be invaluable for your mental health. Don’t hesitate to lean on your loved ones for extra support.

Tips for Communicating Your Needs to Loved Ones:

  • Be Honest and Open: Share your feelings and needs with your friends and family. Let them know how they can support you.
  • Set Boundaries: Communicate your boundaries clearly to ensure your interactions remain supportive and respectful.
  • Express Gratitude: Show appreciation for the support you receive, which can strengthen your relationships and encourage continued support.

5. Preparing for Your Next Session

Preparation can enhance the effectiveness of your therapy sessions by ensuring you make the most of your time with your therapist. Here are some strategies to help you get ready for your next session:

  • Setting Goals for the Next Session. Having clear goals for each therapy session can provide direction and focus.
  • Identifying Topics to Discuss. Think about recent experiences, challenges, or successes you want to discuss.
  • Note Any Concerns: Write down any concerns or questions about your progress or therapy techniques.
  • Prioritize Topics: Rank your topics by importance so you can address the most critical issues first.

Wrapping Up

Maintaining your mental health between therapy sessions is crucial for ensuring continuous progress and overall well-being. Your journey is unique, and your efforts between sessions are just as important as the sessions themselves. Use the resources available, lean on your support network, and remember that every step you take is a move towards a healthier, happier you. 

Keep going, stay motivated, and know that you can achieve well-being and recovery. If you need additional support or resources, don’t hesitate to contact Onyx Behavioral Center. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Remember, consistent, small steps often lead to the most significant changes.

Written by: Onyx Behavioral Health Admin

The Onyx Behavioral Health Editorial Team includes content experts that contribute to this online publication. Editors and mental health experts review our blogs carefully for accuracy and relevance. We reference authority organizations such as The National Institute of Mental Health and NAMI for the latest research, data, and news to provide our readers with the most up-to-date mental illness and recovery-related content.

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