Self-care is essential for therapists and other mental health professionals. Our resilience and mental health are key to helping others and longevity in the profession.
Think about how often do you tell your clients that self-care is non-negotiable?
Hopefully, you tell them that as often as you practice it yourself.
When we have a change in our lives, our habits change as well. With so much change in recent years, you may have focused your attention on others instead of own self-care.
The challenge for us is to keep self-care at the top of our priorities and remember to do it!
Here is a list of self-care tools that we live by and teach to our clients and in our trainings with mental health providers and school districts.
Self-Care for Therapists & Mental Health Professions
- Recognize the role of anxiety. It can help to say, “Of course, I feel anxious, I have never been through this before!”
- Accept that the future is uncertain. It always has been, but anxiety can trick us into believing that we cannot enjoy our life when there is so much uncertainty.
- Practice mindfulness. Feel the ground under your feet, connect to your breath. It doesn’t take long to re-center yourself.
- Find the positives and the things you value in your life. If you haven’t done a gratitude practice before, this would be a great time to start!
- Exercise most days. Moving your body has many benefits from balancing serotonin to giving us an adrenalin boost. Just do it!
- Don’t “should” on yourself. That critical voice is never helpful. When you hear yourself saying, “I should have…”, shift to self-compassion instead.
- Make sure to get enough but not too much sleep. Many of us used quarantine to get caught up in our sleep or on Netflix. By now you may have figured out that the lack of consistency with sleep can have a big impact on mood and functioning.
- Limit social media and compulsive information checking. We dare you to take two-weeks news or social media vacation. It’s is so freeing.
- Embrace imperfection. We are all making mistakes, now more than ever because we have to create new ways to do things. Making mistakes can lead to really good things, including creativity, increased flexibility, and improved resilience.
No matter which tools you use, remember that self-care is essential for therapists and all mental health providers.