You spend your day helping others overcome challenges to live happier and more meaningful lives. It’s difficult work, and it can be emotionally and physically exhausting, but it’s satisfying. It’s good to know people who need help have you to turn to.

But who do you have? Seriously, who is helping you keep an objective eye on your own mental health? Professional caregivers of all kinds are at all-time levels of burnout. They feel like they’re teetering on the edge of — well, something, and are experiencing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.

We see you. We hear you. We value your work. And we value you.

Maybe you don’t think you need to talk with someone else. Yet. We respect that, and we’ll be here when you’re ready. For now, though, we’ll ask you to adopt five essential self-care rules:

  1. Create your space. More than ever, you need to create and claim space for your personal work and restoration. (Trust us: many of our clients are therapists, pastors, and leaders.)
  2. Put self-care first. If you can’t take care of yourself, you won’t be at your bet to take care of others. Take more breaks during the day. Walk outside. Take the yoga mat off the closet shelf. Do all those things you’re encouraging others to do.
  3. Reexamine your why. You chose your profession — or as we all like to say, it chose us — for a reason. Look around you. Does your reason still make sense at this point in your life? Maybe you can help people in ways that don’t involve career paths.
  4. Diversify your friends. Build connections with people who do other things. Yes, your professional circle is nice, but unpredictable conversations keep you sharp.
  5. Pay attention. Add a moment of self-reflection to your pre-bed routine. Ask yourself whether you supported your mental health today. If not, remind yourself to focus on it tomorrow. Small shifts can lead to lasting change.

(By the way, are you a therapist looking for a different way to practice? Like a place that helps you keep your soul filled so you can concentrate on clients? We’d like to talk with you.)

Jean Crane, is one of our therapists and workshop leaders who has been serving families for 20 years.

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