“I think it would be a lie if I said I do not get affected.”
It was a heartfelt admission from Thong Shu Yi when asked if she has ever been affected by the negative energy. Being a person passionate about her work, Shu Yi, like everybody else, tends to put her work, or in her case, her patients first. During her time working as a counsellor she realised that she falls into the usual hustle and bustle of her daily assignment often neglecting her self care. By forgetting to care for herself, it has often made it difficult to maintain a healthy mindset.
Shu Yi also revealed that just because she is a therapist herself, doesn’t mean that she couldn’t seek professional help as well. When she discovered that she has fallen into the well of dark emotions, she quickly put herself under professional supervision, and even under the supervision of her peers, stopped work to focus on odd jobs like part-time teaching to allow herself that time and space to rediscover her path.
“Having a group of supportive people, in and out of the field is incredibly important to me.”
When asked what she does as a daily exercise to remain mentally strong, she states that her best pick-me-up is a good book that she is familiar with. Reading a book that she has read a while ago acts as a renewal of her motivation to why she has chosen her current work path that she has decided would be her bread and butter since she was 15 years old.
“Motivation is an emotion, which means it is fleeting and I think it is important for us to remember that. Most often than not we beat ourselves down for not feeling motivated, then we wait around for it to come, except it doesn’t. It is like a writer having a creativity block, nothing is going to happen from staring at the blank canvas for 48 hours. So it is important to have a “strategy” to sometimes take a break and then get back to it.”
Shu Yi believes that there are 4 main points to staying mentally strong; self- awareness, self-compassion, having a strong support system, and an established coping mechanism or routine. One should always be aware of one’s emotions without judgment (e.g, I am weak) as our emotions and thoughts are what help us understand our experiences better and it even helps expand our perspectives. “Instead of asking “why”, we could learn to ask “what am I feeling?”, “what are my thoughts about this circumstance/ experience?”, “How is this affecting my emotions?”