Everyone struggles with finding a work-life balance. Especially in today’s age of remote work, more people find themselves working longer and harder. Aside from remote work, you may find it challenging to find a work-life balance as a clinician. Many therapists struggle to leave work behind them, especially when they have a difficult case on their hands.
If you are struggling to find a work-life balance, remember that to help others, you have to help yourself. Taking the initiative to help yourself might be through self-care or taking on a creative hobby. Whatever route you choose, creating that work-life balance will improve your mental health and the mental health of your clients as well.
Sometimes the best way to create balance in your life is to put things in perspective. We live in an age where overworking is glorified through “the grind.” The grind is an expression often used by individuals always working to either save up money or achieve professional goals. There’s nothing wrong with that; goals help us move forward. However, this “grind” can be toxic if it means never making time for our needs.
Take your work into consideration and put it in perspective. Why is it you do what you do? Many mental health professionals say they chose their work because they want to help people. It can be a very noble and rewarding profession. It can also come with some baggage, though.
All careers come with occupational stress. Stress affects everyone differently, but there are common struggles among therapists, some of which you may be familiar with yourself.
The first stress is simply the work. Helping those in distress can be distressing.
The profession requires a balance of being able to emphasize with your clients and compartmentalize your personal feelings. Without being able to compartmentalize, you risk becoming too attached and even vulnerable to your clients' experiences, trauma, and struggles.
You may also find yourself making accommodations for your clients. That could mean working long clinical hours to accommodate working schedules, being available for client emergencies, or needing to be available for clients in severe distress. It can sometimes feel like you’re never off the clock, especially if you’re taking your work and worries home with you.
There is also a great deal of industry-related stress. The profession is constantly changing, whether it’s due to legal or business concerns, alterations of therapeutic practices, or constantly needing to be up to date with licensure and research. Therapy requires being up to date on everything involved with treatment. Continuing education for you may never really end. While that may not be a bad thing, it can be daunting.
The term burnout is coming up within hundreds of companies across the country. Many characteristics of work within the field of psychology make you prone to burnout.
For example, as a therapist, you’re responsible for many people. You can become overly stressed by this responsibility if you don’t find balance. You may feel limited in your control of client outcomes and become burned out by the intense level of involvement. The first step to preventing burnout is by recognizing its signs.
You may be a pro at recognizing the signs of burnout with your clients. What about recognizing the signs within yourself? Think of turning the microscope on yourself. Start evaluating yourself without bias or excuse, as much as that’s possible to do.
You may notice you feel less fulfilled or satisfied with your work, hate the thought of going to work, and experience compulsive thoughts relating to work. These may come along with other symptoms like anxiety, depression, mental or physical exhaustion, and generally feeling drained. By being mindful of these symptoms, you’ll be able to take action to improve your work-life balance.
Burnout may be common, but you can take steps to avoid it and create a healthy work-life balance. Some of these steps include:
Saying no can be the most challenging thing to say to a client, especially for clients who become incredibly dependent. However, you need to establish boundaries between yourself and your clients.You can remain flexible while still carving out time in your day for yourself.You need to set expectations with your client, and when done early on, clients will be more understanding.
Whatever it looks like for you, designating time for self-care is essential. Self-care may include setting aside time to exercise, focus on nutrition, meditate, or focus on creative passions and hobbies. Engaging in self-care practices will force you to disconnect from work and give your mind a break from occupational stress.
Depending on their struggle, you may emphasize to your clients the importance of a support network. A support network can also be beneficial for you. The ability to vent about your work can make all the difference in your stress levels. You may start to feel that the weight of the world isn’t on your shoulders; you can take a breath and start fresh the next day from a new perspective.
If you are struggling to find work-life balance and fear burnout, you may consider seeking treatment yourself. SokyaHealth can lead you on your path to wellness. Through our online space, you’ll be able to improve yourself and continue to help others for years to come.
Professionals across the country are experiencing burnout as more people are struggling to establish a disconnect between home and work. Individuals at a higher risk of burnout include mental health professionals such as yourself. Many choose a career in psychology because they want to help people. It’s a noble choice to make but it is not free of occupational stress. You may struggle with creating boundaries, being too sensitive to clients’ situations, or even controlling constant thoughts related to work and your clients. To help yourself you first have to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself. You can avoid burnout by setting expectations with your clients, setting aside time designated for yourself, and having a support network. If you are struggling with burnout, SokyaHealth can help you today. Let us help you to help your clients. Call us today at (877) 840-6956.