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Self-Care for Therapists: Part II

In my previous post, I reflected the necessity of maintaining healthy self-care habits for clinicians. Establishing a healthy work-life balance is beneficial to your home relationships, as well as your clients. I have provided a few tips as a way to help incorporate self-care techniques into your lives (this is beneficial for you readers who are not clinicians as well!):

Be Mindful: Take time for yourself to understand what self-care activities work for you. Be mindful of your own experience and know when its time to say “no.” Understand your boundaries, why you have them, need them, and how to enforce them.
Pencil It In: Hold firm boundaries. For me, I am a pen and paper kind of girl when it comes to my calendar. Crossing something off my to-do list is satisfying and motivates me to accomplish my tasks. Why should self-care time be any different? Scheduling self-care time into your day will make you more likely to do it. When I have something scheduled one evening (i.e. a workout class), and a client needs to reschedule, it is okay to hold that boundary and not offer up that hour of your evening- again, know when to say “no.” Understand that taking that time to help yourself will in turn help that client.
Take the Time You Need: Sometimes you might only need 30 minutes of self-care time where other days you might need 75 minutes. Be cognoscente of what you need and take it. Of course, schedules get busy but maximize the time you have. This might mean taking time to reflect on your commute to work or taking an extra 5 minutes in between sessions. Identify what you need and when you need it, then aim to incorporate.
Sleep Hygiene: I think sleep is huge for me. As someone who sees mostly couples, the majority of my clients want to come in after 5 because that is when both client’s schedules tend to match up. As therapists build their caseloads, it is easy to push back bedtime as a way to see more clients. Next thing you know, you are leaving work at 9 pm and have not eaten dinner yet. Maintaining a routine bedtime, even when that means cutting a movie or evening gossip-sesh with the roommate short, has a great impact on your overall self-care.
Exercise and Eat Healthy: Although this might be the hardest because when we are the most exhausted, the last thing many of us want to do is eat a salad and work out, staying physically healthy will have a positive emotional and psychological impact on our well beings and the relationships around us. Take the time to be healthy and treat your body well.
Treat Yourself: You might question why I put this here after my recommendation to eat healthily, but I find it important to notice that we all need a pick me up at times. My personal favorite is a peanut butter rice Krispie treat from Sweet Mandy B’s but the choice is yours. Taking the time to savor a nice treat and relax is self-care!

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