You are not a machine, you are human!
As helping professionals, many of us may feel like firefighters. We are constantly faced with situations where we are putting out fires. This profession can be exhausting, if you do not find a way to reset and refocus for the next session or next day.
Research shows that many Americans rarely take time off from work. Further, many in the helping profession allow guilt to get in the way of taking a much needed mental health day. You love what you do and there are times when you are mentally exhausted. However, guilt will not allow you to take a day off.
How do you get past this guilt? You must first ask yourself, what purpose does this guilt serve in my life?
Can you give your clients the best possible you by working through mental exhaustion?
Is it fair to you or those you serve to get a mentally exhausted version of you?
Helping others begins with first helping ourselves!
As helping professionals, we find ourselves in a unique position. We are providing care for a living and we must save time and energy for ourselves.
I have struggled in this area for many years. I found myself consumed with guilt when feeling mentally exhausted and needing a day off. Who would help my clients? My teammates need me. What will I tell my supervisor? Again, I had to remind myself, my clients and teammates do not deserve a burned out version of Sharise. This statement is used as a guide when deciding if a mental health day is needed.
What are good reasons to take a mental health day?
We know the negative impacts stress has on us mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. The work we do can be stressful and it is imperative that we listen to our bodies in order to gage when the stress is taking a toll on our ability to be effective.
- You can do something for yourself
As a wise woman stated “self-care for the selfless.” I cannot stress enough that you give so much, so often to so many that doing something for yourself is a requirement as part of your self-care regimen.
- You can rest
How many 12 hour days have you worked? How many hours have you spent worrying about the well-being of your clients? The mental energy exerted to be effective in your work requires rest. Resting consists of no checking emails, voicemails, completing paperwork or any other work related activity. Disconnect rest and repeat #3!!!
- You will be more engaged when you return
We must intermittently disengage in order to actively re-engage. View taking this well-deserved mental health day as time to recharge, re-energize and reset in order to be as close to 100% effective as possible. When we take time away from work, we return more effective, more engaged and find renewal in the work we love.
- You can tap into your creative mind
A cluttered mind is not an effective mind. Use this day to de-clutter your mind and be more “mindful” versus “mind-full.” When we are operating off of a cluttered mind, it is nearly impossible to tap into your creative mind. Our creative minds will allow us to think quickly on our feet as well as the ability to get through tough situations which will ultimately lead to our clients receiving the best versions of us!
We chose this profession because we love helping others and want to effect change in the world. It is so common to get lost in work and lose sight of what really makes you happy. Find what makes you happy outside of work. Doing so can make a difference in your work-life balance and satisfaction. A Refueled, Renewed and Re-centered helper is a win-win for YOU and YOUR CLIENTS!
More information on self-care for the helpers, work-life balance and satisfaction is included in the upcoming workbook: Walking the Tight Rope of Life: Refuel. Renew and Re-Center Your Work-Life Demands!
I would love to hear from you! What struggles do you have with taking a day off from work?
How have you find a healthy work-life balance?