I’m Sick of Self-CareI’m Sick of Self-Care

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Work With Your Boss

We can talk all day about what will make your job easier to manage, but if you’re not communicating that to the folks who mandate your caseload and work processes, nothing will really change. Again, I am very aware that there are barriers here: you can’t always impact how things are done in the workplace. That is why so much of this list is applicable to things you can control in your personal life. Utilize what control and tools you do have. Can you eat lunch with your boss once a week to receive supervision on clinical troubles? Can you implement interventions a few times a week that are easiest for you to facilitate within the mandated curriculum? If you work in private practice, this becomes even more important. Us private practice folks are amazing at taking our work home with us – often because our office is our home. I regularly send and receive emails as early as 5:30am and as late as 11pm (don’t ask what time I’m writing this – do as I say, not as I do). Discuss with your supervisor when you will and won’t respond to emails, and what days of the week or weekend you are available for work-related tasks.

Sometimes You Gotta Leave

No one wants to be the one to say this, but I will: sometimes you need to quit that job. This is a decision you will always have to make for yourself: Where are your priorities? Are you in a binding financial situation? How much of your work stress appears to be something you can control and manage? But consider that if this is a recurring conversation for you, the situation may not fix itself.

The biggest shift toward creating a fulfilling work/life balance for myself was finding a boss who would fight for me and my wellbeing. I was doing every piece of self-care I could lay hands on and still felt like I was perpetually being pulled under by oppressive systems, unrealistic caseload expectations, petty workplace drama, and wave after wave of clients that I couldn’t give my best therapeutic self because I was barely surviving. Within a week of being hired by a supervisor who supported my longevity in the profession and my personal needs, I felt mountains of weight lift off my shoulders. That was my first step which freed up enough energy for me to tackle every other step on this list.

Are we feeling energized that a new outlook may actually be the thing to shift our patterns of stress and overwhelm? Or intimidated by all the information? I hope it’s the first one. I want to remind you that healing burnout, compassion fatigue, trauma, and chronic stress is a long process; it has been over a year since I began practicing the steps I just laid out for you, and it has only been in the last five months that I have truly been able to see how far I have come. I wish you the best of luck!

 

What practices have worked for y’all? Leave your ideas in the comments!