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Emotional Burnout

As complementary therapists, we work tirelessly to help our clients achieve their health and wellness goals. While it’s a rewarding profession, it can also be emotionally taxing. Emotional burnout is a common issue that affects many therapists and is the #1 thing that ends careers in our industry.

According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, 63% of massage therapists reported experiencing burnout at some point in their career. Burnout can manifest as physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a decrease in job satisfaction.

The nature of our work involves taking on the emotional burdens of our clients, which can lead to emotional exhaustion over time. Additionally, therapists often work long hours and may have little time for self-care, which can compound feelings of burnout.

However, there are steps that we can take to prevent emotional burnout. First, it’s essential to set realistic boundaries with clients and not take on more than we can handle; including over-delivering in sessions! Remember that it’s okay to say no and refer clients to other professionals if we’re feeling overwhelmed.  One of my favourite quotes for our work is “Everyone can help Someone, but Someone can not help Everyone”

It’s natural to want to help everyone who comes to you seeking your expertise. However, sometimes, you may find yourself in a rut with energy-draining clients, which can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. It’s important to recognize when a client is no longer a good fit for you and to let them go in a professional manner.

If you find you have a few identifiable energy-draining clients, try to make it a point to organize your diary in a way that you don’t have them all booked in one day or week. It’s also essential to set clear boundaries and communicate them to your clients. This way, they understand what you can and cannot do for them, as these kinds of clients will really try to push you to your limits and can be the fastest way to end your career. Remember, it’s okay to say no, and it’s crucial to prioritize your own well-being.

If you do find yourself in a situation where a client is no longer a good fit for you, it’s essential to handle it professionally. You can thank them for their time and suggest other practitioners who may be better suited to meet their needs. Remember that this is not a reflection of your skills or abilities as a therapist. It’s simply a recognition that not everyone is a good fit for each other, and that’s okay.

Next, most therapists are guilty of not practising what they preach (I am not above this, either!), but we should all really make it a priority to incorporate self-care practices into our daily routines! Exercise, meditation, and time with loved ones can go a long way in helping to prevent burnout. 

And finally, seeking support from colleagues, mentors, or a therapist can provide a space to process our emotions and experiences. This is where working in a health and wellness clinic alongside a team of professionals can be so beneficial in extending your career!  

As complementary therapists, our clients rely on us to provide compassionate care. But it’s important to remember that we must prioritize our own emotional well-being as well. You know the saying – You can’t pour from an empty cup. By taking steps to prevent emotional burnout, we can continue to thrive in our careers and provide the best care possible for our clients.

Ultimately, taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of others.

Have you ever suffered from burnout?  What did you do to refresh your energy reserves? Let me know below!

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