Easy to use self-care tips for therapists

Most talking therapists enter their profession because they want to help other people; they are caring and altruistic, and their focus is on making other people’s lives better. But it’s quite true that you ‘can’t pour from an empty vessel’ so it’s important to apply some of that good advice to yourself, to ensure that your emotional and physical health is as good as possible. Do you do that, or do you feel ‘guilty’ about doing things for yourself? (Be honest, now!)

Your self-care routine should look at two main areas – your emotional health and your physical health. Here are our top tips for each area.

Self-care tips – your physical health

What can go wrong 
  • Therapy is often a sedentary job, you sit most of the day listening to clients, unless you are sitting at your desk writing up notes, doing the accounts or posting on your social media pages.
  • Therapists often work out of hours – evenings and weekends – to accommodate clients, and then snatch meals at odd hours or grab a take-away ‘because it’s easier’.

What you should do
  • Make sure you exercise regularly; if you don't work from home, park a bit further away and walk in; join a gym, yoga class or sports club; play in the park with your kids; take the stairs instead of the lift if your therapy room is not on the ground floor.
  • Get up and move around between clients; do a few stretches or go for a short walk if there is time. 
  • Eat a healthy diet; planning and preparing meals in advance can help, or make a rota so other family members cook for you.
  • Monitor your smoking, alcohol intake and any other unhealthy tendencies!
  • Monitor yourself regularly for signs of burnout and STS; use the stress-busting techniques you teach your clients (see this article for more information  -https://hypnotherapytrainingblog.blogspot.com/2019/05/STS.html)

Self-care tips – your emotional health

What can go wrong
  • However much you enjoy working with your clients, listening to people’s problems can be emotionally draining and there’s a risk you take them home with you.
  • You don’t live in a vacuum – you may have challenging situations at home that have an impact on your emotional health and your ability to cope with work. 
  • You can put so much of yourself into your work that you don’t have time for yourself.
  • Working evenings and weekends to suit clients can have an impact on your family and social life.

What you should do
  • Get support. Peer support groups and/or a good supervisor will offer support about work issues without confidentiality problems; making the effort to keep in touch with friends will help with the personal stuff.
  • It's OK to cut back on your hours if there's lots going on at home. This sort of freedom is probably why you became self-employed in the first place.
  • Know your limits. It’s also OK to say no sometimes, at work and at home, whether that’s referring on a client you don’t feel is a good fit or getting someone else to clean the house/walk the dog.
  • Make time for you - engage in activities that you enjoy every week; take time out for a bubble bath or to meditate; schedule regular family time in your diary. 
  • Take time off; if you worked for someone else you would do this, don’t be the worst boss you have ever had! Book regular breaks from work (even if you don't go away) and ensure you have at least one day off per week, preferably two.

How to implement better self-care routines

If you haven’t been doing any self-care at all you don’t need to integrate all these ideas in your life overnight. Start with one or one from each section: pick the one that looks easiest to get you going. Once the new habit is established, choose and add another idea, until you are in a routine that supports and nourishes you.

And if you have other self-care tips of questions, feel free to post below this article.

Want to start with a free self-care assessment?
Email me to ask for my free therapists’ self-care assessment which will help you review your current self-care activities, identify where there is room for improvement, and suggest when you should check your self-care again.


Author: is an experienced hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy trainer. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and has co-written the Hypnotherapy Handbook, both of which are available from Amazon.
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