It’s that time again—with some schools across the country already back in session, and others headed back any day now, school-based therapists are likely feeling excited or overwhelmed, or some form of both. While you, as a well-educated therapy professional, are well versed in self-care, coping skills, and stress management in relation to your patients, you must remember to take care of yourself, as well. Here are some tips to make sure you stay centered, while the 2018-2019 schoolyear kicks into high gear.
Schedule Buffers into Your Day
A lot of being a school-based therapist revolves around structure and scheduling, but if you schedule things back-to-back-to-back, you’re bound to run yourself into the ground, and things will rarely go exactly as planned, anyhow. A session may run over time, or you may find yourself trapped in a conversation with a parent or coworker for far longer than you meant to. Leave yourself time to breathe—or run to the bathroom—between sessions, and you’ll be much better off.
Check in with Yourself
At the end of your day, check in with yourself in the form of some cognitive behavioral therapy, such as journaling. Research has shown that focusing on positive aspects of your day, and writing them down, can be greatly beneficial. Try making a list of three to five positive things that happened during your day, or that you and/or your students accomplished, before going to bed at night.
Unplug after Hours
It’s easy to get invested in your work. After all, you didn’t get into therapy because you don’t care. However, in caring for yourself, too, you need to leave work at work. Establish and maintain boundaries to keep yourself from burning out. Instead, fill your off hours with healthy hobbies or activities, such as gardening, cooking, or yoga, or even just treat yourself to a nice, long bath every now and then.
Remember, caring for yourself enables you to better care for others, so as the school year picks up speed and you find yourself busier and busier, step back, breathe, and get some rest. Everything is going to be okay.
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.