If you’re a therapist, chances are you’ve heard over and over again about the importance of self-care not only for your clients, but for yourself as well. You may be wondering what exactly does that mean? What does self-care look like? How can we tell we are taking care of ourselves to avoid burnout or compassion fatigue? To help figure out what you are doing, take this quick and easy self-care assessment below.

Take Self Care Assessment: http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/content/dam/socialwork/home/self-care-kit/lifestyle-behaviors.pdf

Here are a few helpful tips to stay on track:

Develop a Self-Care plan- Be prepared

Just like you would have a client develop a safety plan in times of stress, it could be helpful to do this for your Self-care as well. Think about who you could call and what you could do if you felt extremely stressed. Refer back to the Self-care coping strategies you identified. Make a list of who and what to avoid when you’re faced with extreme stress.

Commit, Share, & Follow

Commit to your plan, share your plan with someone encouraging to continue keeping track of how you are doing. Self-care is an on-going process! If you find you’re still not scoring as well as you’d like, you may need to revisit your plan. Use the assessment above to continue to monitor how you score.

Self-Care Activities

If you had trouble identifying self-care strategies in the earlier steps, here are a few examples you can implement:

  • Develop a Self-Care Plan/Be Prepared

  • Eat and sleep well

  • Schedule a massage

  • Taking breaks (even if briefly) in between sessions

  • Physical activity

  • Read a book for leisure

  • Sit outside

  • Create art or write a blog

  • Meditate

  • Take a hot shower

Self-care can mean different things- it may mean mindfulness to some and making plans to others. What is important is knowing yourself, your style, and what helps you to relax and feel refreshed!

Self-Care for Therapists and Mental Health Professionals