In each issue of International Therapist magazine, we share six ways to support you professionally and personally. In IT Summer 2021 (Issue 137), we look at ways to practice self-care between clients…
As therapists, we know that working with clients who are unwell or emotionally draining can take its toll. This, paired with the adjustment of returning to work following the most recent lockdown, may leave the best of us feeling drained. We share some suggestions to help you maintain and boost your energy levels throughout your workday…
We know that ‘prevention is better than cure’, so start your day as you mean to go on. Before treating clients, use visualisation to protect your energy levels. Try this exercise: imagine you are putting on a new pair of overalls before your first client, the overalls will help to protect you from absorbing any negativity. When the day is done, you can then ‘take off’ your overalls and leave all that stress behind.
- Mindful handwashing
Washing our hands thoroughly is a necessary practice between clients, so why not make the most of this time and carry it out mindfully? Run the water until it is at the right temperature for you before lathering the soap in your hands, giving yourself a soothing hand massage while you do. Dry your hands slowly, trying to take note of what your hands look and feel like. Most importantly, moisturise before you head back out to the treatment room and appreciate the softness of your hands.
- Block out ‘me time’
In our business feature published in the International Therapist Winter 2021 (issue 135), we asked our FHT Virtual Congress speakers to tell us some of the biggest lessons learned during the pandemic. A reoccurring reflection was recognising the importance of scheduling in ‘me time’, even just five or ten minutes can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to carry out your next treatment.
- Connect with the outdoors
Ritualise heading outdoors to connect with nature – no matter the weather. Studies show that 29 minutes outdoors can increase productivity by up to 45% (Richmond, 2020). If for some reason you might struggle to achieve this, bring the outdoors in by adding some indoor plants to your treatment room.
- Pen to paper
Keep a journal. You can use this for reflective practice at the end of the day – writing down what went well and what didn’t go so well, so that these thoughts don’t stay running round in your mind, stopping you from relaxing and recharging your batteries. You can also write down all the tasks you need to carry out the following day — clients you need to speak to, follow-ups, suppliers you need to ring, and so on. Then leave this journal on your desk or in your bag for the following morning, so that you learn to ‘leave work at work’.
- Level up your meditation
Do you practice meditation or controlled breathing exercises? They can be particularly useful tools to slow the mind down and become more present. Monks in Tibet are often taught to practice meditation in a busy place to help them use the tool whenever they need it. A nice little goal to set yourself may be to improve your daily meditation practice, so that you can find your calm place no matter what is going on around you.
International Therapist magazine is a perk for FHT members. Find out about FHT membership at fht.org.uk/member.