Hello! My name is Glenn Wallen and I am a Mental Health Practitioner and a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist at Birch Tree Center in Duluth, MN.

Part of the process of helping others in their recovery journey is to teach skills to support individuals in better managing mental health symptoms more effectively and assist in reducing the impact or severity of living with those symptoms so that we can have the best life imaginable.

It is especially important to me to care for my own mental health and try to lead by example in order to be an effective role model. How do I do that? I need to first believe in myself and the skills I am modeling, teaching, and encouraging others to try in their own lives. I often practice these skills and apply them to my own situation to see how they actually work.

In order to be effective in my work, I need to check myself at the door and try to leave anything that might interfere in my day where it belongs at home. Maybe this means clearing my mind by doing a mini relaxation exercise, deep breathing, or self-talk and shut the door for the time-being reminding myself that any problems or issues I am struggling with at moment can remain at home. Trusting in my past experiences that things will work out as they so often do.

We might ask ourselves the follow questions:

  • How my message is being received?

  • Do I need to change my approach?

  • Do I need to run this by my supervisor?

  • How is my body language?

  • How is the other person’s body language?

  • Is the person amenable interested in working with me?

  • Is there anything I can do better?

In closing, I would like to leave you with what I believe is the most important self-care gift we can give ourselves. When your shift is over, leave it at work! I learned this one night at 12:00 am about 11 years ago at the cabin poking a fire wondering how I might have handled a situation differently with a person I was working with. I then realized it was affecting my weekend and my enjoyment. Since that day I have practiced this skill faithfully and it has made a huge difference in my life and my relationships with my family and friends.

“No one can change a person, but a person can be the reason someone changes”

- Shannon L. Alder