Dealing with difficult situations and experiencing trauma vicariously through patients is a constant struggle for professionals at every level in the mental health field. Each patient presents their unique struggles, needs, and reluctance in attending sessions. Getting invested in someone’s recovery isn’t just part of the professional relationship; there is often a very personal connection to patients.
Seeing a patient relapse, suffer panic attacks, or depressive episodes can be painful from the first time to the hundredth. While it is tempting to look at the situation and ask, “what could I have done differently?” it is imperative that we take a moment to relax.
Only So Many Hours, Only So Much Energy
Even the most dedicated professionals have a limit to their mental capacity. While we may not have completely burned out, many of us encounter a level of compassion fatigue. Taking the time to practice our own self-care is critical in combating this fatigue. We may not lose the love for what we do, but it does take a toll on the energy that we have to give. At a certain point, everyone can run out of fuel. There is no substitute for rest and personal expression.
Time Won’t Create Itself
Taking the time for yourself can seem impossible. While sessions may end, our patients’ words can often ring in our ears for hours. Allowing the stresses of each person to stick with us takes a massive mental and physical toll. Constantly hearing defeated or angry language sticks with us, and we may even subconsciously adopt these attitudes.
Taking the time to detach and worry about yourself is essential for maintaining a clear, therapeutic mindset for each patient. Time for clearing our head isn’t going to create itself. Stresses left unchecked will remain with us endlessly, as you well know. Making time for yourself is just as crucial for mental health professionals as it is for our clients.
Schedule the Time In
Since time isn’t going to make itself, you may have to schedule time for yourself each day. Consistency is essential, as it creates a way for us to tell if we are getting the time we need or not. Furthermore, it can also help those who feel guilty about resting. Resting is an essential part of addiction recovery and mental health. Practicing rest and self-care is thus imperative to your career. We have to lead by example, so start by avoiding burnout and carving out some time for yourself in your busy schedule.
The professional practice of self-care is essential. As mentioned, it can help model behaviors that may be beneficial for a patient. As patients and professionals get to know each other, professionals can use their own self-care experiences to find strategies that may work for patients. This kind of sharing is also vital in building a deeper relationship and garnering trust between the two parties.
Professionals are people too, after all, and most patients want to talk to another human being rather than a lab coat. Practicing self-care is a professional venture where guilt has no residence. Maintaining these proper energy levels is necessary for members of the addiction recovery and mental health field.
Practicing and modeling self-care is what makes the human side of our work that much more relatable and potent for our patients. We teach self-care to most of our patients. Still, it shouldn’t be limited to people suffering from mental health disorders or addiction – it is an essential part of anyone’s life.
Alta Centers is a place where anyone can go to begin their journey to sobriety. Stresses are constant for anyone in any occupation. Finding the right way to engage with someone’s own time is essential in maintaining a healthy outlook in both the personal and professional fields. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or self-medicating from their stresses in life, contact Alta Centers today. Taking a modern, fun, and communal approach to detox and treatment, Alta Centers is available to guide anyone through the first, toughest steps in their path to recovery. For more information on their programs offered, contact Alta Centers today at (888) 202-2583.