What about self care for helpers?

Does the idea of self care for helpers seem selfish? Are you a helping professional who finds it natural to take care of everyone around you while neglecting your own needs? This page contains practical tools and ideas that, if applied, will keep you balanced and healthy in your career as a helping professional.

Many of us who work in the helping professions find ourselves looking out for others to such an extent that it comes at our own detriment. We find our self-worth tied to our ability to help people. This type of motivation is not inherently negative. It is a matter of finding the right balance.

Consider this:

  • Focusing on ourselves and neglecting others = Selfish
  • Focusing on others and neglecting ourselves = Burnout
  • Prioritizing our own wellness in order to be at our best to care for others = Balance

How can we find this balance in order to be the best helpers we can be? That’s what this page is all about!

Self-Care For Helpers: The Backbone Of A Healthy, Balanced Professional

When you practice self care on a regular basis you find that it is the backbone of our daily and weekly routine, one that empowers you to be your best while helping others. The alternative? In the demanding field of social services, not taking care of oneself means you are on the road to burnout. In addition, by being less than our best for those we serve, we run the risk of doing harm to them as well. Fatigue, cynicism, frustration, and depression can build up, slowly enough that we don’t even notice unless we have a self-care routine. The following is an excellent link for ideas about helping ourselves stay healthy in this article about compassion fatigue.

We know that our clients look to us for guidance and support. It follows that our own self care must take priority so that we can do our best work.

self care for helpers

Looking At Our Own Beliefs

Is it time to rearrange some of your beliefs about helping yourself and others? Many helping professionals have been through plenty of adversity themselves, and have engaged in this career as a way to give back or help others. Unless we have been taught about the fundamental value of self-care, this can quickly lead to a lack of balance in our lives.

For many, the notion of taking care of ourselves brings up guilty feelings. If you are a professional who has trouble accepting the importance of self care for helpers, it may be time for you to see a mental health counselor. You owe it to yourself, and to those you serve--most of whom are in a vulnerable situation and need you to be at your best.

This is a particular area of passion and expertise for me. Feel free to contact me for a consultation at geneobersinnerlcsw@gmail.com.

As A Helping Professional, What Do You Do When You Are Triggered By Client Issues?

What do you do to remain healthy and balanced when you are triggered by a specific interaction with a client, or by the slow buildup of stress due to witnessing the suffering and trauma of others?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Myth Buster 
Why is it that in the therapy professions we either give advice about self care or do not talk about it at all? It is like self care is for others but …

LPC 
Thanks to Gene's coaching, I'm trying to utilize sensory redirection techniques when I end my work days counseling others. When I leave the building I …

Self Disclosure 
I was having a discussion with some colleagues the other day about when and how self-disclosure might be appropriate. Some said it was never appropriate, …

Retired Pastor, Volunteer Bereavement Support Group Facilitator 
I practice a combination of the following: quiet time, spiritual development reading, exercise, day trips to the mountains & ocean. I have a prayer …

Psychotherapist for Severe & Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) clients 
If there has been a specific, particularly frightening interaction with a client (e.g., suicide attempt, homicidal ideation, violence related to psychosis), …

Personal Support Worker Specialist 
Becoming friends with Co-Workers has been my best and favorite way to help take care of myself while working in this very rewarding and challenging field. …

Exercise is the key for me! 
I find that exercise is the simplest and most accessible way for me to deal with the day-to-day buildup of stress. Rather than dreading my workouts, I …

Comment on The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu Not rated yet
Reading your recent blog entry regarding this book inspired me to think about what resonated with me when I read it last year. I think what I found most …

Teacher Not rated yet
Often when I am faced with a problem with a student or colleague, I make it a point to get a good night's sleep, be sure to exercise (jogging or brisk …

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