As therapists, we spend a lot of time teaching our clients about self-care and creating a balanced life that we often forget to practice what we preach. Many therapists go into the helping profession and forget to create boundaries around their own well-being.
Trust me, I get it! I remember when I just graduated college and had a passion to save the world and found myself saying YES to everyone and everything. Eventually, this led to burnout and compassion fatigue. I was overworked, irritable, exhausted and passion-less (making up words lol). From that moment, I learned to embrace self-care and create boundaries.
Burn out can be a dangerous place to be and many therapists don't even recognize they are in that current state. We spend so much time pouring into our clients and taking on new challenges of being in the mental health field that we often neglect our own needs. It's okay to take the superwoman cape off. It won't stop your #BlackGirlMagic flow! So, here are a few tips you should do to prevent (or decrease) your chances of getting compassion fatigue.
Yes, we all know getting a good night rest is beneficial. Try your best by getting 8 hours of sleep each night. Also, download the "Sleep Sleep" calming app on your phone if you're struggling with falling asleep.
2. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy.
Self-care is not only about relaxing, your physical self-care matters too. Aside from drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day, try meal prepping to plan healthy, balanced meals in advance. Try reducing your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and replacing unhealthy meals with more fruits and vegetables.
3. Practice gratitude.
Write out a daily list of things you are thankful for to keep the positive thoughts flowing. It's easy for us to get caught up in the negative things that are happening around us. From meeting deadlines, crisis with clients, paperwork, etc. it's easy to lose track of the things we should be grateful for.
4. Create a self-care regimen.
That's right! This is your challenge! If you've ordered the Therapist Planner in the past then you are aware of the monthly self-care strategies you are challenged to create. This time, I am challenging you to create your self-care road map -- a strategic self care plan that is realistic and measurable. Your self care plan must include strategies for emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual and social self care. (Don't worry, I will blog more about this topic and go in-depth about self care).
5. Take lunch breaks.
Say no to eating lunch at your desk or rushing to eat in between your private practice clients. I know so many therapists who will see back to back clients and forget to eat during an 8 hour work day. Remember food fuels the brain (at least that's what I tell myself).
6. Be present when you're spending time with family and friends.
So often, we are in the same room with our loved ones, but glued to our phones answering calls, replying back to emails, dealing with another crisis, etc. Put the electronics down for a little bit and spend time with those around you. Be intentional with doing check-ins and checkups with them too.
7. Take a vacation.
Vacation or a staycation! Whatever works for your budget. Vacation is a great way to rejuvenate, refresh, relax, but also revive your dreams and purpose-- please do your best to limit the amount of work you are doing. When I take vacations, I find that it leads to new ideas, visions and inspiration for my business.