Reasons to Practice Self-Care as a Mental Health Professional
Helping your patients work through trauma and other issues every day can be emotionally and physically draining. As a mental health professional, taking care of yourself should be a priority. Whether you prefer meditating, going for a run, or participating in a hobby, exercising regular self-care is a practical way to reduce stress. Here are a few reasons that you should regularly practice self-care.
It’s the Ethical Thing to Do
An obvious reason for mental health professionals to practice self-care is that it’s a part of the ethics codes for the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association. It’s in your patients’ best interests for you to take the time you need to decompress and address areas of stress in your own life. Prioritizing your wellbeing can help you be more present and effective during counseling and therapy sessions.
Have the Energy to Meet Your Goals
Another reason for mental health professionals to practice self-care is ensuring that you have the energy to pursue and meet your goals. For example, if you’re interested in earning a certificate or certification in a specific area of study, positive habits can help prevent you from being distracted by stress and fatigue. You’ll need enough time and motivation to study when you’re not seeing patients. By consistently attending to your needs, you’ll have a more successful professional life and a more gratifying personal life.
Self-Care Can Help You Avoid Burnout
As mentioned earlier, working with patients every day can take its toll. Because of the stressful nature of counseling, burnout is not uncommon among mental health professionals. Exploring your interests outside of work can help relieve stress and make you feel more at ease, but self-care isn’t limited to meditation and yoga. Acknowledging your limits and not taking on more patients than you can handle is another important aspect of caring for yourself and preventing burnout.
Prioritizing self-care is a vital part of providing your patients with the best care possible and achieving your professional goals as a counselor. CONCEPT Continuing and Professional Studies at Palo Alto University offers in-depth programs to help mental health professionals further their education and careers. To learn more, browse our diverse course offerings.