Why Mental Health Care Professionals Should Practice Self-Care
Mental health care professionals play an essential role in our communities, and every day, they make a difference in the lives of many. There are a number of careers one can enter in the field of mental health, whether you are a social worker, therapist, counselor, or something else. However, one fact is consistent, and that’s that you have to take care of yourself if you enter a helping profession of any kind.
Why Mental Health Providers Should Practice Self-Care
Those in helping professions must practice self-care for a number of reasons. First, mental health providers such as counselors and therapists are not immune to struggling with mental health, whether that means a mental health condition, life stressors, relationship issues, familial issues, or something else. Addressing these concerns is essential because it will give you an improved sense of both your mental and physical health. Stress is a known detriment to one’s mental and physical wellbeing. If you don’t address something that’s bothering you, the long-term impacts of stress, which include a higher risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, and more, can be incredibly damaging. In addition to bettering your emotional, psychological, social, and physical wellbeing through self-care, it’s important to practice what you promote to clients as a provider. Some people will even ask a mental health provider, “have you been to therapy yourself?” before starting therapy with them. It’s imperative to take care of yourself before you can take care of others in most cases, as commonly depicted in the saying, “put your oxygen mask on first.” You have to take care of yourself so that you can continue to take care of others, and you want to address it before you face burnout and it’s too late. In the end, taking care of yourself is beneficial both for you and for your clients, as well as anyone that’s dependent on you, such as a child.
How To Use Self-Care As A Mental Health Professional
Here are some ways to use self-care as a mental health professional:
- Check on your basic needs first. Make sure that you are eating regularly, getting adequate sleep, and so on. You might even make it a habit to ask yourself, “what do I need right now?”
- Implement a work-life balance. If you are overworking, be honest with yourself. Think about how you can adjust your schedule and make time for parts of your life outside of work to avoid burnout.
- Take a look at your inner dialogue. It’s important to check in with yourself and see how you are talking to yourself, as it has a major impact on the way you conduct yourself in the world, your feelings about yourself, and more. Use positive self-talk, and if you notice that your inner dialogue is one that shows signs of overwhelm or anything else that could be detrimental to your emotional or psychological wellbeing, address it rather than shying away.
- Nurture your social relationships and hobbies. Social relationships, as you know, are a crucial part of our physical and mental health as human beings. Make sure that you are taking the time to talk with your support system, spend time with loved ones, and engage in hobbies that you enjoy that have nothing to do with work. If you don’t currently have a support system, think about how you can build one.
- Reach out when you need to. If you’re struggling, you don’t have to face it alone, and seeing a mental health provider yourself can help.
Seeing a counselor or therapist can help anyone, including a mental health professional. If you are a mental health professional, you know that this is true better than anyone else. You can find support by seeing someone in your local area, or you can use an online therapy website such as MyTherapist. Online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling or therapy, and all of the providers on MyTherapist are licensed to practice. It’s easy to get started, and when you sign up, you will take a questionnaire that helps you pair with a provider who meets your needs. Whether you see someone in person or online, don’t hesitate to reach out. The work that you do is powerful, and you deserve to take care of yourself and your needs.
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