Updated: Mar 15
Let's talk about burn out. It is a thing, especially during the past two years of a pervasive sense of uncertainty that we've all had to wrestle with. Top that with any additional life stressors and being in a caregiver role can place quite a toll on someone!
I don't know the statistics for therapists but through talking with people I know there's a lot of this going around.
Mid-lockdown I had a 6 month old, 7 year old and 11 year old, was working from home seeing 25 clients a week, hubs was also working whenever I wasn't, we had no childcare and I was FRIED. Totally fried. I could still show up for my clients, tho I'm not sure how I did it but every other part of my life sucked pretty much! I was screaming almost daily at my husband or the kids, I am not even sure what the house looked like or what was even happening.
I knew something needed to change.
Driven by my exhaustion I joined a program (Lean in. Make bank by Tiffany McClain) to get support to go for the private practice I had originally intended, always wanted, and never felt secure enough to make happen. I got off insurance panels, let my biller go, and went down to 10-15 clients a week, making the same amount of money, I might add. We also finally found a babysitter who started coming to the house a couple days a week.
Relief, space, breathing room omg I cannot even describe the difference that made.
When my dad died a month later of an unexpected heart attack, I could breathe in my grief. I could take the time. I could cancel clients when I needed to, take space from marketing, cry and/or binge watch netflix or take bike rides alone outside and still get by with my minimum contribution to our household. That was March 2021.
I gave myself the summer to relax and take my foot off the gas. It had been on there for so long, working my ass off seeing as many clients as I possibly could including during my most recent pregnancy.
September came around and I started back up, thinking about what I wanted to create and use my business for to increase my income at that point.
Since then I've become passionate about supporting other therapists in burn out, or even just on the martyr train. It's such a culture as a service provider to be a martyr to feel guilt if you're thinking about yourself at all.
These are the things I've learned and the messages I've become passionate about spreading since then:
1. I think about it like a zero sum game. If I help you but hurt myself in the process, we're at zero. If I help you and am also considering myself and my needs, then we're in the positives.
2. Your energy has a bank account, just like your money. If you withdraw too much without putting more in, you will be empty.
3. Money is a form of energy. You're allowed to want it. You're allowed to want more. There's a lot of it out there. As Chris harder says on his podcast, "when good people make good money, good things happen."
4. Let's reframe the word "selfish". Personally I've decided to embrace my selfishness. Maybe I am selfish in some ways, maybe I do look out for me. I also know I'm a good person and have an ability to look at the bigger picture in support of people. I also think I've been raised in a codependent culture so if I feel selfish and guilty about doing something for myself, I'm probably on the right track of actually evening out the playing field. Get my drift?
5. "Self- care" is just a word. Caring for ourselves is an energy, a mindset, a way of being. Maybe it starts with acts of self- care and that's great. But I also think, particularly as caregivers who do soul work, we need to provide ourselves with soul care.
So hopefully this inspires something for you, or makes you think about how you are relating to yourself, and your clients. Let me know what resonates!