13. The Importance of Self-Care with Recreational Therapist Shaunna Nordstrom

Shaunna Nordstrom

Recreational Therapist

Self-Care and Relationships

Recreational therapist Shaunna Nordstrom has worked in residential treatment centres, mental & behavioural hospitals and rehab facilities. She provided services to patients of all ages before leaving the profession to become a full-time mom. We discuss the importance of self-care and Shaunna reveals how her background in recreational therapy has helped with the various relationships in her life, including with her three children.

Benefits of Recreational Therapy

  • Discover what’s missing. Where’s the need? What in my self-care am I lacking? Rec therapy could be right for you if (like one of Shaunna’s clients) “you’ve been so busy that you don’t know what your likes and interests are anymore”.
  • Greater autonomy. And control of your life. Develop the skills to be able to do it on your own. Learn to plan, set and reach your goals.
  • Better quality of life. Essentially this is what it’s all about. Activity-based learning to enhance your quality of life.

A lot of people are like, oh… is rec therapy like physical therapy? Is it play therapy? Is it music therapy? Art therapy? It’s a little bit of everything. We focus on holistic health. So every aspect of health – spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, social – and what’s going to ultimately get us the best quality of life.

Shaunna Nordstrom

Create Time for Yourself

Self-care needs to be an essential part of all of our lives. So, now is the time to figure out:

  1. How much time do you need for self-care?
  2. How can you make sure it happens?

Everyone’s different. So take a few minutes to imagine what your ideal self-care routine would look like. Do you need 30 minutes every day? Do you need more? Do you need less?

  • How much time do you need?
  • Schedule that time (daily, weekly)
  • Plan what you’ll do during that time
  • Make it happen!

Making yourself a self-care schedule is important. “Now this time is blocked out. Nothing else can take this time”.

And Shaunna has found that if she doesn’t plan what she’s going to do during her “me time”, it no longer really fulfils her self-care needs. If she doesn’t plan anything fun for herself, she might just get some of her to-do lists done and it’s no longer as therapeutic.

If you’re not taking care of yourself, how are you really going to be happy? And then how are you going to be able to help other people as well? You have to take care of yourself first to be able to the help others. And so, I would say all of rec therapy is basically bringing about self-care and taking care of yourself. It’s figuring out: where’s the need? What in my self-care am I lacking?

Shaunna Nordstrom

Fitness Tips

Exercise every day. Or just move – as recommended in Episode 3 of the podcast.

Even if it’s walking, even if it’s low impact… anything to boost your endorphins I think is really helpful. ~ Shaunna Nordstrom

Movement could even be part of your daily self-care routine. Brainstorm 10 ways you could move more in your life.


  • The Book of Mormon And we’re not talking the musical! Shaunna recommends these scriptures as inspiration for everyone. Yes, even those of us who are decidedly secular (like me). I’m all for being open-minded and exposing yourself to different philosophies. So, why not give it a read?

Style Notes

Yoga pants are Shaunna’s must-have article of clothing.

Listen to the full episode to hear how the “yoga pants” Shaunna was wearing when we chatted had… turned into shorts!