A Note to Therapists: Prioritize Your Mental Health in 2021

A Note to Therapists: Prioritize Your Mental Health in 2021

Therapists were handed a tall task in 2020. They were called on to help those they serve through a global pandemic, an economic crisis, a racial justice movement, and a historically divisive election, all while enduring the stress and uncertainty of these challenges themselves.

It’s the beginning of a new year, but circumstances remain largely the same. The pandemic rages on, and political and social tensions seem to only intensify. There’s a long road ahead. In order to sustainably serve your clients and protect your own mental health, it’s imperative that you prioritize your self-care and wellness in 2021.

2021 Trends in Mental Healthcare

The events of last year mainly required reacting to unfortunate circumstances with little foresight for what was to come. Although much remains uncertain, we now have a better idea of the general trends in mental healthcare.

We know there is a mental health crisis and people need care now more than ever. We also know that barriers to care are being lifted as 1.)  employers increase support for mental health for their employees, 2.) options for online therapy proliferate, and 3.) it seems likely that insurance companies will continue to cover online therapy beyond the crisis of the pandemic. In all, online therapy is here to stay and the demand for therapy in general will only keep growing.

Setting Intentions for 2021

Starting a new year can be an opportunity to take stock of where you’ve been and set intentions for where you’re headed. Take some time to reflect on the previous year. What did you learn that you’ll bring with you into the new year? What will you leave behind? What did you learn about the kind of therapist you want to be?

When it comes to promoting wellness and protecting your mental health this year, remember to put into practice what you recommend to your clients.

  1. Self-care. What are the most important components of self-care for you?
  2. Boundaries. Practicing healthy boundaries to establish a work/life balance is critical for preventing burnout.
  3. Routines and habits. Which habits will you keep practicing this year? Which ones are not serving you that you’ll leave behind?
  4. Exercise. You know the benefits of exercise for your mental and physical health. How will you incorporate more movement into your routines this year?
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. They’re not just for your clients. Remember to practice diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness strategies, and progressive muscle relaxation when tension takes over.
  6. Seek support. From trusted friends or from a professional. Therapists need therapy, too.

Wishing you hope, opportunity, and health in 2021.