We had the good fortune of connecting with Becky Howie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Becky, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
As a Highly Sensitive Person/therapist, I take work-life balance very seriously. Before I became a therapist and coach, I spent 10 years in corporate and tech and I worked myself to the bone for many years. But I’ve learned that strategy doesn’t really benefit anyone, because if I burn out, then I’m no longer doing good work. Now that I’m a therapist and coach, that is not an option, and I practice the same thing I preach to my clients. I base my sense of balance on what I call my emotional sink. Imagine, if you will, that you have a sink which represents your capacity to handle the stuff that life throws at you. Certain things add water to the sink (these are your stressors) and other things drain water out the bottom of your sink proactively (these are your destressors or self care). If we can’t drain as much water as gets poured into our sink, then water builds up and, eventually, results in overflow – which is like an emergency release valve. That’s when we feel overwhelmed, maybe eat a bunch of chocolate, binge too much Netflix, drink too much, or even have panic attacks. I create balance by paying close attention to my water level, and when I notice it rising, I make adjustments so that I can keep it at a manageable level. And then I take all those lessons I’ve learned through practicing it in my own life, and pass them on to my clients to help them balance their emotional sinks too. Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started NatureWise Counseling, LLC because I wanted to be able to reach clients in a new way that I wasn’t able to do through my agency work. I particularly love working with Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) and helping them access their own innate resources for calming and balancing their systems by connecting with the natural world. HSPs in particular often feel a special connection to Nature, and I help them leverage that connection as a way to regulate their own often overstimulated systems through mindfulness and nature-based practices. If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to see all my favorite outdoor spaces. We’d tube the Boulder Creek, bike to brunch, park at Realization Point and go hiking around the top of Flagstaff so they could see all of Boulder and the Indian Peaks then set out a little picnic, go SUPiing at McIntosh Lake, hang hammocks between a couple shady trees and take an afternoon nap. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh gosh, there are so many! A couple that feel relevant to this example though are two of my favorite authors: Martha Beck (who helped me learn to listen to my own voice) and Brene Brown (who helped me embrace my imperfections). Along side every therapist I’ve ever had, you know who you are. Thank you for teaching me the boundaries I now teach to my own clients.