Self-Care for Therapists: Prioritising Your Own Wellbeing to Better Serve Your Clients
Not only is self-care critical for your own wellbeing, but it also has positive outcomes for your clients. As Michael Hyatt said, “You can’t take care of anyone else unless you first take care of yourself”. No client wants to see a therapist who is tired, uninspired and burnt out.
The good news is that self-care does not have to be grand sweeping. It can be, and by all means, I encourage all of my clients to book a holiday or a getaway by the sea and have something to look forward to.
However, it's vital to look after yourself in the days and weeks leading up to your holiday. Often what happens is that we crawl to the finish line, worn out and exhausted. When we finally do stop, we drop, as the sheer exhaustion kicks in. By making some small incremental changes, when it’s finally time for your holiday, you’re in good shape and can actually enjoy it.
Small achievable self-care steps will make a huge difference to your wellbeing when you allow yourself to do these on a daily basis. Some examples include:
Come to your senses
Take moments throughout your day where you connect with your senses. Drop into the present moment – right here, right now - and see what you can feel, hear, see, smell and taste.
You can do this before you get out of bed, before and after a session with a client, at the end of the day or when you are having a cup of tea.
Consciously focus on your breathing
We all know this one, and many of us teach it to our clients - but how often do you do this for yourself?
Extend the out-breath so it is longer than the in-breath, or simply take one big breath before reacting or responding to the next thing on your plate. One good deep breath can make all the difference to keep you in the present moment.
Imagine breathing in a colour that represents calm and peace.
You can also use a mantra here, with one of my favourites being “breathing in peace and calm, breathing out stress and tension”.
Ensure you take a lunch break
Eat your food mindfully without the distractions of your phone or computer screen, go outside for a walk around the block, or take your lunch outside and take in the greenery that surrounds you.
Set a healthy boundary with your phone
Do you really need your phone switched on all of the time?
Consider turning your phone off once you finish work for the day, or have a different mobile number for work and personal.
Be mindful of how much time you spend on your phone or on social media, as it can foster a sense of numbing or zoning out.
Listen to your intuition
What do you need right now? Sit outside in the sunshine for 5 minutes in between appointments, nourish your body with a yummy snack, or give yourself permission to be spontaneous when you get a cancellation.
Start the day with an intention
Shift your mindset by saying to yourself something like:
Today, I will have a good day.
Today, I will be present and caring.
Today, I am grateful for all that I have in my life.
Today, I am open and flexible.
In the grand scheme of looking after you, this list of small things are actually big things. When implemented daily, it’s the little things that make a huge difference.
Taking care of you is not selfish; it is self-care. Failing to look after your physical and mental wellbeing is not only damaging to you, but also to your clients and those around you.
You matter! You are amazing! So to keep being amazing, and look after you.
Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.