6 Self-Care Tips for Therapists
Updated: Jan 5
If you’re in the helping profession, you are already familiar with supporting clients/patients on how to take better care of themselves. Ironically, therapists and other healthcare professionals may find it difficult to implement their own self-care practices. We may be so busy with the demands of both our professional and personal lives that self-care gets put on the back burner. Below are some tips to consider when working on self-care as a therapist.
Practice what you teach!
A huge part of our job as therapists is to support folks with identifying healthy forms of self-care and reinforcing practices outside of sessions. If you can confidently tell a client that something like deep-breathing works, make this a part of your regular self-care practice. Techniques may include journaling, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, grounding, and more.
Make sure your basic needs are getting met
Self-care does not necessarily require luxurious things like bubble baths, manicures/pedicures, massages, or shopping at the mall. While self-care should feel rejuvenating, it should also include the basic (even boring) stuff that we need to be well. These may include things like making sure we’re prioritizing sleep, drinking enough water, eating well, and getting some physical activity each day.
Keep learning and developing your coping skills toolkit
Even if you have a solid self-care plan down, it’s always a good idea to keep learning. There are plenty of books, courses, and videos that teach on the topic of self-care. Consult with fellow clinicians, ask your support system what works for them, or even scroll through Pinterest to get some inspiration. (That’s one thing that helps me!)
Develop a plan
It’s better to develop a tentative plan before you’re in need of some self-care rather than scrambling trying to figure out what to do to manage your stress.
Here are some examples of things that I plan out as part of my self-care:
Preparing my breakfast so that I can sit down to enjoy it each morning
Journaling in the morning; reading
Scheduled breaks during the workday
Spending some time outside
Reaching out to friends
Listening to Headspace app sleepcasts at night
Regularly seek clinical consultation
Clinical consultation does take a bit of time each week. However, this can be a great time to process any cases that might be weighing on your mind. I also love being able to connect with fellow therapists and be reminded of the professional and personal support that I have. I can recall times when therapists shared or asked about how others are self-caring, and it’s always a lovely way to collaborate on how we can take better care of ourselves before taking care of anyone else.
Seek out your own therapy
Similar to clinical consultation, individual therapy can also be a safe space to process issues related to work. However, unlike clinical consultation, therapy is the space where you can talk about anything. If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or generally overwhelmed with life, it can help to have an objective person to talk to and to collaborate with on how to work through these issues.
Question: How do you self-care?