WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: KIM TURNER
It always a pleasure to meet someone who shares a passion to help others. I had the pleasure to connect with Kim a while ago and I continue to be amazed by the work that she does in the community while juggling being a single mom of two and hustlin' with other projects as an entrepreneur.
HEY KIM, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I am a Mental Health Counselor, and I have been working in the field for ten years
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Absolutely….working to help others maintain their mental health makes me think about mine even more. If I were not working in this field, I don’t think I’d be as attentive to my mental health.
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
Managing work stress is difficult for anyone, but working in the mental health field, you have the added challenge of delving into other’s emotional turmoil as a matter of course. As a counselor, I am faced with many challenges when working with individuals. Boundaries are probably the most significant challenge. When working with individuals closely, you build rapport with them as they open up to you. I find myself seeking resources and working on their case after hours. When you have a passion for helping others, drawing the line is not as easy as it seems. The relationships you develop with clients are indeed rewarding, but it may also be a challenge to put them out of your mind at the end of the day to make sure that you keep your sanity.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
As I began to take on more tasks, I knew it was time to consider my mental health when taking on day-to-day activities. As a single mother of two, full-time counselor and student, there is never really a dull moment in my life. I haven’t always incorporated self-care, and when I did not, I found myself extremely stressed, even depressed. Integrating self-care is imperative if I want to keep going successfully.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I take time alone….I pray and meditate daily. Some days I have to unplug completely…no music, no phone, not even talking. When I unplug, I consider it as recharging. Dealing with the challenges of daily living can run you low. Therefore it is imperative to take a timeout, gather your thoughts and be ready to add to your greatness. Wellness is especially crucial because counselors are one of the primary instruments in their work.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
Working in a field where you are to help others be mentally healthy it’s important that you walk the talk and model wellness for clients. It doesn’t mean that I need to be perfect but being aware is essential. If I’m encouraging and apply interventions to aid in increased healthy living, I need to be able to do it myself. Performing self- check evaluations as well as checking in with other fellow counselors makes a difference. Counselor wellness and impairment are on a continuum from well to stressed to distressed to impaired; it is critical that we continually monitor where we are on that continuum and address any signs of stress or other factors that can lead to an unhealthy mental health state.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
Eustress at work looks like meeting deadlines. I often set my deadlines a little ahead of work deadlines. Setting my deadlines takes away the increased feeling of being overwhelmed. Working in the community and office can be stressful if the correct balance is not there. Eustress is developing a “cut off” time. Working on this cut off time has driven me to push harder. Eustress gives me that push to master a proper balance between personal and professional.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
I would say have an open mind. People can be very judgmental and have little to no knowledge of what is going on. Observing and being surrounded by different experiences in this field will have you looking at life different. Having an open mind not only helps you handle situations but it brings comfort to clients. Going into this profession with an open mind is everything. Learning is non- stop, so I would suggest to anyone to read books, attend training even those that aren’t required. No matter the stress factors involved, don’t give up.
ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WANT PEOPLE TO ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU'RE UP TO?
I stress to people daily that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In my area, I’m pushing for support groups for young females. Along with psychiatric services, I think having support groups will give young women a deeper comfort level when it comes to discussing their daily struggles. With current stigmas, we have to rise above the status-quo and dispel the rumor that those struggling with a mental health diagnosis are weaklings. We are strong and deserve to be in the best physical and mental shape we can be.
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?