941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

compassion fatigue Fall is a wonderful time. The kids are back in school, our routine is back on, the kids’ activities have restarted, your case load is increasing from the summer decrease, everyone is back from vacation and to the grind again, and the list goes on. It is a wonderful time, but it is also a very stressful time.
 
This conflict of wonderful time and stressful time can feel very strange and even overwhelming. We like it, but at the same time it can feel too much. But this is life.
 
As we go through the stress, saying “this is life” all the time, we may forget about balance. Life ebbs and flows and we have to ebb and flow with it. I often use the metaphor that life is like surfing…you have to relax your knees and body and go with the waves. If you try and force it or you stay too rigid, you will fall.
 
When we stay too rigid with thoughts like “this is life,” we actually lose out on life. We aren’t able to stop and smell the flowers. We aren’t able to see the beauty in life. We aren’t able to notice the small things that we were able to be grateful for when there was less going on each day.
 
Not only does being unable to balance cause us to not be able to stay grateful, but our stress response gets activated. Our stress response, physiologically, is the exact same response as the fight flight response. Stress response = tense muscles, feeling of tunnel vision, irritability, trouble sleeping, breathing from the chest and not diaphragm, faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, etc.
 
If the stress response being activated is not enough, not being balanced will also affect us at home with how we handle our families, what food choices we make, what exercise choices we make, and how we handle day-to-day stressors that were no problem over the summer.
 
Maybe you noticed that as we were coming into fall, you were excited to get the kids school supplies, new shoes, etc. You were excited that basketball was starting because the kids would be active again. You were excited because you are starting to fill your book again. Things were starting to get busy and fun.
 
Now that it is October fall is in full swing – Halloween is coming up, school trips, homework, activities, and soon it will be Thanksgiving! It is no longer as enjoyable and is actually more stressful than you remember it being last year.
 
You had every intention of going to the gym after work. But your youngest’s school just called saying “Johnny is sick come pick him up.” Well, no gym tonight! So you decide to do some home exercises when you get home. But your last client was so stressful that when you get home and have a sick kid to deal with, homework to help with, dinner to help with, chores to do, what time is there to workout? What desire is there? You’re too stressed!
 
Before you know it, your self-care routine is out the window. There’s no more time for stress management or self care. There is too much to do. As self care is a thing of the past, you wind up in a place of stress, fatigue, lack of desire to do much of anything, irritability and an annoying constant thought of “there’s just not enough time in the day.”
 
This is our world. This is the world of a therapist. This is the world of a working mom. This is America as it is right now. You are completely normal to want to do everything, be everything (and everywhere), and be supermom as a working therapist. It’s ok to feel stressed and it’s not uncommon for your self care routine to all but disappear, EVEN AS A THERAPIST.
 
It’s true that there are only 24 hours in a day and you feel like you have 25 (or 40) hours of things that have to get done every day. It is true that this is incredibly overwhelming and impossible, making you feel not as good as the next person.
 
However, if we can get on board with three tips for time management to deal with those 40 hours of work needed to accomplish in 24 hours, it is entirely possible to turn off the stress response and be more present in your day to day life, thus feeling more confident, competent, and happy.
 
Keep reading for 3 tips so you can start feeling calmer and in better control of your time today.
 
Right now you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, and stressed out
 
The biggest downside to not taking care of ourselves as therapists is the toll it takes on us and our families. We want to help people solve their problems, but when we get burnt out, it is harder for us to be patient and empathetic with people – both at home and at work.
 
At the very least, you find yourself tired and beating yourself up for not doing the chores you should be doing, or taking care of yourself the way you “should.” The more tired you are; the more you beat yourself up, the less likely you find yourself able to actually re-engage in the tools to stay healthy yourself.
 
It’s a downward cycle of annoyance, frustration, burnout, then excitement for the summer, and back to annoyance, frustration and burnout. The longer you’re in this cycle, the quicker you get to burnout each fall.
 
Remember the passion you had when you started this career? Remember the excitement you had going to work every day? Wouldn’t it be great to have that back again?
 
Although you are struggling with stress due to so much going on and lack of time in the day, you have the potential to feel that passion for work again. You have the ability to get back your energy and feel good about yourself and calm each day.
 
When we choose to do this, there is a possibility for increased life satisfaction, better overall health, better relationships with our families and friends, and increased confidence in ourselves.
 
You have the opportunity, right now, to make some small changes in your life and start seeing these results. Although there are no quick fixes, these results are proven (you know that)! And the more frequently you do them, the quicker those results are seen.
 
3 Tips to Achieve a feeling of Calmness and Control over Yourself and your Time
 
Whereas it is true you are feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed, you do not have to continue this way throughout the winter and into the spring. You do not have to fall deeper into this rabbit hole and struggle more and more until you cannot wait for your caseload to drop in December and again in the summer.
 
The key to achieving calmness and control is YOU taking control over balancing YOUR time YOUR way. We all have the same 24 hours in the day, so why do you have to feel overwhelmed? Why do you have to struggle with this? The reality is you don’t! You don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You can be strategic with your time and feel calm and in control.
 
Making these changes is not as difficult as you think because you teach your clients these same skills every day. You know how hard it is for your clients to do the skills you teach, so you know it will not be easy for you either. Knowing that, these changes are within your control and NOT too difficult for you to follow!
 
Take a look at these 3 points to see how you can achieve control and calmness every day!
 
There are so many factors leading to feeling out of control and stressed out. I am focusing this blog on three points to help with time management. As fall can be a much busier time than spring and even winter, we need to take time for each aspect of our lives during all seasons.
 
1. You know what to do. Identify 1-2 things you tell your own clients to do that you are not currently doing. Why are you not doing these things? (No time)? That is just an excuse. Self care is not just for our clients. Self care does not have to be expensive. It does not need to take too much time away from your family.
 
One thing you can do for self care is sticking with your boundaries…if you have a 50 minute session, stick to 50 minute sessions, not 55 minute sessions. Start and end your sessions on time. If you do not want to see people after a certain time, don’t schedule anyone after that time. If you tell your family you need 10 minutes to unwind before hanging out with them, protect that time. Boundaries are vital to our own self care.
 
With Meg Young, LCSW, you will learn what holds you back from your own self care. We will dive into your own sticking points and unstick them so you will be able to do what you preach. Furthermore, you may even find self care ideas you hadn’t even thought of.
 
2. Schedule your time. Every morning look at your day. What is scheduled for the day? When do you have breaks during the day? What does your day look like? Busy? Light? What do you need to do that you have been putting off? When can you schedule that into your day?
 
Your kids have activities that are at scheduled times. You make sure they get there for those. You have appointments at specific times and make sure you get to those. When we have things scheduled into our day, we are much more likely to follow through with those tasks.
 
When you start each day scheduling your day, you will find that you actually have more time in your day than you think you do. You will find the time to do what is most important to you. You will also find the barriers to doing things you want to. For example, I found that I do small tasks better than long ones, so I’ll break my tasks up throughout the day.
 
3. Review your day at the end of the day. What were your wins for the day? What did you accomplish? What did you not do? What lessons did you learn about yourself and your time? What can you do better tomorrow?
 
When you schedule a session with me, you will dive into yourself deeper than you ever thought possible in order to find the time you need in your day. We will help you break the barriers to doing what you know you need to in order to take care of yourself thus feeling like you have enough time in the day.
 
When you review your day, it will make it possible for you to get everything done you want to get done during the day. Not only that, but it will decrease your stress and will make you feel more in control of yourself and your day.
 
Achieving calmness and control can feel impossible in today’s world. And the reality is, when you have a full time job, kids and a family, it is pretty busy. However, there is an excitement that comes with gaining control over yourself and your day.
 
You absolutely can feel calm and in control of your day. You absolutely can feel balanced in this busier time of year.
 
Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC can help as I love helping therapists, first responders, medical and court professionals maintain their passion by letting go of the stress of their job and finding the work life balance.
 
Since you are reading this, it is time to choose strength and call me today to gain back the life you have been missing this fall due to the busy-ness of your wonderful life and career. I look forward to helping you find the calmness and control you are looking for. Call me today! 941-462-4807.

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