In every counselling course or workshop I’ve ever taken, there is always a discussion about the importance of self-care. While we promote it, putting it into practice is often challenging. If you are looking for a new job or if you are an agency trying to reduce your turnover, here are some important factors to consider when determining if a role will offer the right amount of self-care.
Part-time or full-time. For many therapists, maintaining emotional well-being means not working as much. Whether it’s because you are working with a high risk population or because you are busy raising children, many therapists I know find the best way to prevent burnout is working part-time. More and more research is highlighting the benefits of a shorter work week. It has been suggested that working less can not only make employees happier, but more productive. If working less is something that you feel makes you a better therapist, seriously consider weighing the pros and cons of part-time before jumping into a full-time role. Agencies looking to reduce turnover may also benefit from offering both part-time and full-time positions.
Flexible or fixed hours. Some people love routine. They love having a clear, fixed schedule because it reduces anxiety and increases their ability to effectively manage their lives. Other people find such rigidity stressful, as it leaves them little leeway to balance fluctuations in their personal and professional lives. Know what works best for you and explore what a workplace offers before accepting a position.
Opportunities to work from home. With the go- go-go style of today’s society and the abundance of technology that allows us to stay connected from all around the world, more and more agencies are offering employees the ability to occasionally work from home. This can make a world of difference to one’s well-being. Whether it’s being able to avoid the stress of traffic jams once a week or to enjoy the opportunity of spending your lunch hour with your kids, many people find even a few hours a week working from home can keep them refreshed and focused.
Time off or Extra Pay. How much time off do you get? Do vacations help you unwind? Does making extra cash mean you spend ever extra minute you have off recovering from work? Sometimes we forget to consider how important vacation is and instead jump at the opportunity to make a bit more money. However, time away from work might actually make you a more effective therapist. Traveling can give you perspective. A few days relaxing with family can rejuvenate you. Take the time to consider how much you value your time off before accepting a job. Make sure to ask in-depth questions about vacation, as some agencies might seem to offer more than they do. Some agencies may only offer two weeks vacation but also give staff additional flex days or shut down for a couple extra weeks during holiday times. If you’re working at an agency and looking for a way to entice employees, consider being flexible about offering more time off instead of only offering salary incentives.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA