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Self-Care For Helping Professionals: REAL Self-Care Requires Sacrifice by Pamela L. Tippit, LPC-S

In the context of therapists and helping professionals, self-care goes beyond indulging in spa treatments and focuses on the foundational aspects that sustain mental and emotional wellness. It involves clear communication, setting and enforcing boundaries, and making sacrifices for self-preservation and progress.

Here are some key points to consider:

1. Communicate honestly: Share your thoughts and feelings with loved ones, family, and friends. Be open about your needs and ensure that your voice is heard and respected.

2. Manage time, energy, and effort: Prioritize yourself by allocating time, energy, and effort to activities that support your well-being. This may involve scheduling breaks, blocking time for administrative tasks, or seeking therapy or consultation for yourself.

3. Set and enforce boundaries: Establish clear boundaries by asking for what you want and need. This may include enforcing policies like late cancellation and no-show fees, asking clients to be active participants, and learning to say no when necessary.

4. Seek help and support: Recognize the importance of asking for help. Consider outsourcing tasks that you don't have time to manage, such as billing and scheduling. Consult with colleagues or therapists for guidance and support.

5. Practice self-check-ins: Regularly assess your own well-being by paying attention to signs of exhaustion, discomfort, or uneasiness. Take breaks, engage in restorative activities, and refrain from constantly pouring into others without taking care of yourself.

6. Embrace discomfort and growth: Understand that self-care involves discomfort and sacrifices. Accept that growth often comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and making changes that prioritize your well-being.

7. Listen to mind and body signals: Be attentive to physical and mental signals indicating the need for self-care. Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, or physical pain are cues that require attention and adjustments in your self-care routine.

By acknowledging the importance of foundational self-care and making the necessary adjustments, therapists and helping professionals can avoid burnout, preserve their mental and emotional wellness, and continue to serve their communities in a meaningful way. Self-care requires effort, acceptance, and sacrifice, but it ultimately leads to personal growth and a sustainable practice

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