941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

Relationship Therapists have a very emotionally draining job. It takes a lot to listen to people’s difficulties all day long day after day. It takes a lot to find people the resources they need to help themselves (especially if they don’t really want the help, but are just going through the motions). It takes a lot to do the paperwork that is required by the regulatory bodies that oversee our agencies. It takes a lot to deal with co-workers and supervisors who are also burnt out.
And after this very stressful day, we come home and our families demand more energy from us. Whereas we love this and it feels good to be wanted and needed at home, we cannot necessarily turn our brains off when we get home which is honestly sometimes all we want to do.
Because we cannot turn our brains off when we get home but instead have to continue to expend energy, we may feel more depleted at the end of the night than when we got home.
Unfortunately, when we do not re-energize ourselves at home, it leads to starting the next day already at an increased level of stress. This affects our relationships in so many ways. It affects our family, our friends, our leisure time. It affects our work performance as well.
The downsides to not re-energizing each day include relationship problems as we struggle to communicate our needs with our loved ones, increased stress, compassion fatigue and burnout.
Not only does living life without re-energizing yourself regularly affect our relationships, we may start to think we no longer want to do this work, we may take more sick days, we may feel hopeless and jaded about the world. It is a slippery downward slope.
Have you seen that co-worker who seemed happy go-lucky when they started, but are now just going through the motions of the day? They seemed to love their job at first, but now their entire attitude has changed and they aren’t the same person as when they started. Or maybe that co-worker is you. Your attitude about work and life has shifted. You no longer have the energy or desire to do the work to the standards you did when you started.
Unfortunately, all this does is end up making you feel miserable and hurts your relationships. As I said, compassion fatigue is a slippery slope. The relational damage can be repaired or it can continue to deteriorate.
If you don’t do anything to repair your relationships with loved ones, you may find yourself feeling more alone. You may end up pushing your friends and family away. You may end up feeling lonely and unhappy.
The truth is, the work we do as therapists is incredibly rewarding, but many therapists get burnt out and their families feel the effects as well. This is not uncommon. You are not alone in feeling this way. It is ok to admit that you are feeling this way. In fact, it is vital that if you do feel this way, you admit to yourself that you are before you are unable to recover from the slope.
It is true that not only are you feeling tired and irritable, but your family has noticed it as well. However, there are several things that can help us recover from compassion fatigue and burnout. When we do these top 10 things regularly, it is entirely possible to regain a firm grasp on yourself and your life.
Keep reading for the top 10 tools for Therapists to reenergize their relationship with loved ones today
This is not uncommon. One of the biggest downsides to compassion fatigue and burnout is the relationship fallout. As therapists, we understand the importance of relationships and know just how much relationships can help us through the difficult times.
At the very least, you find yourself dawdling and not going home as fast. You find yourself looking for excuses to not hang out with friends. All you want to do is sleep. Living this way is adding to the stress you feel at work and making you feel more drained than you already do.
Although you struggle with irritability, stress, and relationship difficulties, you have the potential to bring back the fun you have in your relationships and with your loved ones. You have the ability to feel excited and look forward to doing things with others.
When we use these top 10 tools, there is a possibility to enjoy life and loved ones. There is a possibility of coming back from compassion fatigue or burnout. You have the opportunity to make small changes in your life (that you already know) and see a huge difference in your life today.
Currently you may be wondering if it is even possible to get your relationships back on track. You have been going down this slope for awhile now and it seems like it is just getting worse, not better. The key to re-energizing your relationships with loved ones is to take small steps. You are not only dealing with yourself and your own stuff, but your loved ones and their own baggage. Just as you cannot throw a pebble in the pond and not make ripples, you cannot makes changes in yourself and not have ripple effect changes in others.
Take a look at these 10 tools to see how you can achieve your goal of getting your relationships back on track and re-energized
Tool 10:
– Take time for you before you go home to decompress
– This works because it gives you 10-30 minutes of time for your stress hormone (cortisol) to reabsorb in your body allowing your calm body to take control of your mind instead of your stressed body being in control of your mind
Tool 9:
– Get out into the sunshine every day
– Did you know there is a correlation between sunlight and our happiness? This has been researched. Sunshine (along with other tools) can be a very effective therapy.
Tool 8:
– Do some rocking side to side with your hands putting light pressure on your chest when feeling stressed
– The back and forth motion is calming to the body. It acts like it did when you were rocked as a baby. It is very soothing. There is also a correlation between calmness and using both sides of the brain and body. By going side to side you are activating the calming effects of using both sides of the body. Also the pressure on your chest gives you a feeling of comfort. It acts like a security blanket like when you were a kid.
Tool 7:
– Hang upside down when you are stressed
– Ok so this may sound like a weird one, but the blood flow to the brain actually helps you to calm the stress in your body
Tool 6:
– Do your self-soothing exercises (breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation, yoga, etc)
– Yup, these are what you teach and you should be doing what you preach!
Tool 5:
– Take time every week on a scheduled day and time to do something with your loved ones
– There is evidence that shows when we build something (going to the gym, hanging out with friends, doing chores) into our schedule, we are much more likely to follow through on it
Tool 4:
– Give yourself one hour a day of no screen time: No phone, no computer, no television
– This allows your brain to be less stimulated which again helps the cortisol reabsorb into the body allowing your calm body to take control of your mind
Tool 3:
– Take time to listen to what people say. Don’t interrupt and actually wait 5-10 seconds before responding
– Not only does this allow you to process what they are saying and give you time to come up with an answer you want to say instead of saying something emotionally, it also allows your brain to think about and understand what they are saying. This is a great communication tool.
Tool 2:
– Be reflective of what people say to you
– Often people see things in us before we do. We tend to make excuses for why we feel or act a certain way. But when we take time to listen to what people say about us, we may be able to catch something before it goes too downhill (into an argument, into depression, etc)
Tool 1:
– Gratitude
– Have and show gratitude every day. Say it out loud. Who are you grateful for and why? Tell them. Not only does this make them feel good, it changes our brain chemistry when we are looking at the positives in life.
These 10 tools are things you likely teach to your clients. How many of them are you actually doing yourself? Some of these tools are self-care tools. As therapists and counselors we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Once we are calm from a stressful day, we can use the rest of these tools to re-energize our relationships. It is vital to take care of ourselves before trying to pull our relationships back in order.
Having re-energized relationships takes time, but the journey is just as important as the destination. Small daily lifestyle changes will have a huge impact. You absolutely can (and will) have the energy and excitement in your relationships that you once had. Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC specializes with people just like you who are struggling with their relationships due to the accumulated toll of their daily work. You are an inspiration to many. Let’s keep it that way!
Call me today to start your journey towards stability and comfort in your relationships with renewed energy and excitement. I can’t wait to talk with you! 941-462-4807