Self-Care for Practitioners in the Caring Industry
We all understand the value of self-care, but often those of us in caring professions find it very hard to walk the talk. As part of a new partnership with PESI UK, Counselling Directory offers five tips for ensuring you are getting the replenishment and support all practitioners need, from regular peer get-togethers to being clear of your own boundaries
As a practitioner in the caring industry, you, by nature, can relate to wanting to help others and strive to reduce their suffering with your professional skills and attitude towards your job. These are wonderful qualities to have – and are often what makes a successful therapist. But, sometimes, the caring industry can take its toll on its professionals.
As demanding workloads and emotionally charged sessions can become impactful on a practitioner’s own mental health, it’s essential that the individual delivering care and support in a professional space has access to their own set of self-care tools.
Counselling Directory, a leading marketing platform for professional therapists, details five ideas to help you maintain essential self-care and a mentally healthy practice.
1 Meet with other professionals to reduce isolation
Monthly meet-ups, networking events or even a weekly coffee are excellent opportunities to reach out to other professionals in your industry. Share ideas, find inspiration from each other and act as your own peer support group. Individuals in your industry can offer insight from a different perspective and empathetic suggestions to help with your own difficulties.
2 Spend time with loved ones
Making regular contact with your loved ones can be the perfect remedy if you’re feeling all-consumed by work. You’ll feel connected to another community that has different perspectives and realities – and this can help to put your own perspectives into place. This can be even more rewarding if you can reach your loved ones face-to-face.
3 Access your own personal support
The odd tricky day can weigh heavy on you and, over time, this can build up to affect our own wellbeing or develop into more serious conditions, such as secondary trauma. Accessing personal therapy can provide a welcome interruption to your own practice, and allow you to focus on your needs in both a personal and professional capacity. It offers you a safe space to talk through any difficult experiences that you may have come across in your own clinic.
4 Be aware of your own boundaries
Setting boundaries is intrinsically linked to self-worth – a topic you may have experience in with your own clients. But, when it comes to oneself, it can be hard to determine (and stick to) a set of boundaries. For example, it can be difficult to enforce these boundaries when a client is perhaps calling you outside of work hours, or when you are on holiday. But boundaries are essential for your mental wellbeing, health and energy.
Start by identifying behaviour in the past that you felt inappropriate or uncomfortable. This will help pave a way for your first boundary. Perhaps chat to a colleague who may have been in the industry a long time, and have some suitable, professional resources or alternatives that you can offer when you feel a boundary is being overstepped. In this industry, boundaries can often be considered on a case by case basis, but it’s helpful to have a framework of emotional, moral and legal boundaries in place.
5 Learn to let go of a desire to rescue all
You can offer the most successful support from a cup that is full, rather than one that is almost empty. It’s important to be realistic with the expectations you place on yourself. You can’t offer support to everyone, but you can signpost other services or therapists that may help without giving away too much of yourself or your time. It’s OK to give yourself time to replenish your energy and mind; it’s what you need and are entitled to.
As a professional in a caring industry, recognising the need for self-care and actually performing self-care are essential in order to support yourself and your business. As you would say to others, be kind to oneself.