While being a mental health professional is an admirable profession, it comes with its own unique challenges. Although the work is rewarding and many love their jobs, mental health professionals everywhere are feeling the stark effects of burnout, feeling unappreciated, and compassion fatigue. April is Counseling Awareness Month. This month is a time to celebrate you and your efforts as a mental health care professional, especially during such a straining time.
Many, no matter their profession, are feeling burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic and stressful world events have hit the mental health profession especially hard as more and more are flocking to receive mental health treatment to deal with instability, exhaustion, and grief. It is more critical than ever to prioritize your own needs. Establishing firm self-care routines and habits can help you stay grounded as you experience burnout symptoms or compassion fatigue.
Understanding that you matter and that your personal feelings are important as well can help you avoid feeling left behind emotionally as you give much of yourself to your clients. Similarly, remembering that you deserve to have time to relax and recover can help you work toward establishing a healthier work-life balance. By recognizing your own needs, you can provide yourself with the same love, compassion, and self-care that you encourage for your clients.
Although you may speak in your sessions about the power vulnerability can have in the healing journey, you may avoid being vulnerable in your own life. This could be due to:
A fear of looking or seeming “weak”
Being embarrassed to be struggling when you are a mental health professional
Worrying that you are the only one having a hard time
Fear of being judged
Wondering if you have “what it takes” to survive in this profession
Being vulnerable with other mental health professionals or even with your own therapist can help you understand that you are not alone in feeling the way you feel. Just because you are a mental health professional does not mean you need to have it all figured out and be 100% perfect at practicing self-care and being strong in overwhelming situations. You are allowed to be imperfect and experience hardship just like everyone else.
Instead of diminishing the hardships you have faced, taking time to respect that you have likely gone through severely distressing moments throughout your career, especially recently, can help you validate your own experiences. While the mental health field has always had challenging stressors, the world's current climate has seemingly made these issues more intense. You have been required to set aside your own emotional state to help your clients at times, which has likely taken its toll.
During this month, take some time to honor every challenge you have been through and every obstacle you have overcome in the past few years. Thank yourself for your perseverance, strength, and resilience as you have tried to be the best mental health professional you can be. Give yourself a day this month to completely celebrate yourself if you can. Go to your favorite restaurant, buy that book you have been wanting, or take a short trip into nature to truly celebrate you and your accomplishments.
Being a mental health professional is never easy, and the fact that you have persisted deserves to be admired and celebrated. If you are feeling underappreciated, consider being open about your feelings to those closest to you to work toward some actions that can help you feel celebrated.
Just like you, your colleagues around you may be feeling overwhelmed or unappreciated at times. When you feel that you have prioritized and cared for your own needs, consider reaching out to your colleagues to help them feel celebrated this month. If you decide to celebrate Counseling Awareness Month at your office or practice, you could consider leaving out a compliments box for clients to fill out, giving them a chance to thank their mental health professionals anonymously.
As the world continues to adapt to the challenges that arise, so will the mental health field. Supporting and celebrating our mental health professionals is more important now than ever as we continually look for ways to ease their load and promote healing within the field. The more positivity and appreciation we give to ourselves and those around us, the better we can support our mental health professionals.
Being a mental health care professional is both challenging and rewarding. The circumstances of the past few years and the present day have caused many mental health professionals to feel underappreciated and overwhelmed. April is Counseling Awareness Month and an excellent opportunity to take some time to celebrate yourself and your colleagues. Honor that you have been through demanding circumstances and prioritize your self-care needs as you work toward a healthier work-life balance in your life. At SokyaHealth, we value our mental health professionals and celebrate you this month and always. We understand the burden that has been placed on mental health professionals, especially during these past few years. Our website offers content for mental health professionals seeking greater wellness in their own lives and work. We support mental health professionals and appreciate your hard work in providing the best quality of care for our clients and clients everywhere. Call us today for more information at (877) 840-6956.