Man sitting at table eating a mealDay in and day out, you’re taking care of other people. You’re listening to them, asking them to dive deeper into their thoughts and emotions, and helping them with healthy coping strategies. 

You’re there for all of your clients, each and every day. You’re the person they run to when they need help or when they’re seeking advice. But who’s taking care of you? Who’s there for you when you need help? Therapists need help every now and then too. Part of the job is to empathize with others’ experiences, which can take a toll.

Here’s how therapists can cope with the emotional burden of their work.

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re focused on the needs of others all day, it can be difficult to make the switch to focus on yourself and your own needs. Make sure you’re meeting your basic human needs. Even if your day is jam-packed with appointments and sessions, make sure you’re building time in your day for meals, water, and short breaks here and there.

You need to make sure that you’re eating healthy and well-balanced meals and drinking enough water throughout the day so that you have enough energy to get through your days. Make sure that you’re aiming for at least eight hours of sleep at night as well. Sleep is essential for proper rest and recovery. Meeting your basic needs will help to make sure you’re physically and mentally healthy.

Man outside drinking from a bottle of waterDo the Things You Love

Make sure you’re making time in your days and each week for the activities or hobbies that bring you joy. If you enjoy exercising, set a time in your day to hit up the gym. Try out a new recipe and use it as meal prep for your week. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Sign up for a class for an activity that you’re interested in. Do whatever makes you happy.

Set Boundaries

It can be easy to take work home with you, especially as a therapist. You have multiple clients and you’re the sounding board for each and every one of them. Make sure that you’re able to separate your work life from your home life.

It’s important to set boundaries with your office and even your clients so that you’re not taking work home with you each night. Make sure you have policies set in place with your clients about timeframes when you’ll be available and how you can be reached. Set boundaries, communicate them clearly, and stick to them.

Get Social

Woman drawing on an easelAs you know with working with clients, when someone starts to experience stress, burnout, or anxiety, it can be easy to withdraw or self-isolate. Alone time is also important for recharging, but if you recognize that your solitude is making things worse, it’s time to get social.

Reach out to a family member or a friend and plan a meetup. Get together for a movie, brunch, a gym date, an arts and crafts class, or dinner. Lean on them and vent a little. Your loved ones are there for you just like you’d be for them. You just have to let them know what you need from them.

Seek Additional Help

Yes, therapists need therapy too! Just like you tell your clients, reaching out for help is perfectly acceptable. Listen to your own advice. It doesn’t change just because you’re a therapist. Seeking additional help is okay no matter what your career may be.

If you’re interested in finding a therapist for yourself, I get it! It’s time to focus on yourself again. You can learn more about working with a therapist as a therapist here. Reach out to me today to set up a consultation.