I'm about to give you a lecture, so brace yourself ;)
When was the last time you took time off?
And I mean, really took time off. You read for pleasure. You stayed in your pyjamas all day. You remained horizontal until you couldn't ignore your bladder anymore.
No work. No stress. Just pure time off.
If you can't remember the last time (or if there actually never was a time), we need to talk.
Taking time away from your practice is critical to your well-being, your practice's success and to the care that you provide your client.
Time off is the fuel for your therapist engine.
However, I know that taking time off can be a real struggle. There are so many reasons why we sometimes go years without a real break.
We worry about not earning money during that time.
We worry about not being there for our clients.
We worry that our practice will come to a screeching halt while we are away.
We have been instilled with a "good work ethic" that views time off as kind of lazy.
There are so many reason why we don't take time off. These are not good reasons though.
Seeing clients day in and day out, week after week, month after month, is a recipe for burn out. Even if you are working with your ideal clients, who energize you, it is still a lot. Our work is intense. Every hour that we see a client, we are there and fully engaged. We are listening, processing, filing information away, providing interventions, being empathetic and basically doing 50 things at once. We are super-computers.
When we are not with clients, we are doing our notes, returning calls and e-mails, scheduling, completing CEUs. We are also blogging, networking, updating social media, reading, learning, planning.
Phew, no wonder we get so tired!
This is why time off is so important. Our poor brains need a break. Our poor bodies need a break.
Historically, I start burning out to a major crisp by mid-December. I typically take a week off at the end of August and plow through the rest of the year until the holiday break. This year I decided to try something different. My husband and I went away for four days at the beginning of November to see if this may reduce the year end burn out.
It totally did! Despite my practice doing it's usual December explosion of new clients wanting to be seen RIGHT AWAY, old clients coming back and current clients increasing the frequency of their sessions (gotta love the holidays!), no sign of burn out!
Time away does not need to be fancy. While I am a big fan of travelling, I am also a big fan of plunking down on my couch and doing as little as humanly possible. Stay-cation may be my favourite made-up word ever.
This year, I will be shutting the doors to my practice on Friday, December 23rd, and re-opening on Wednesday, January 4.
I will read, I will eat, I will stay in my pyjamas.
When is your next break?