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6 Tips for Therapists - Navigate the Summer Slowdown Like A Pro
As the number on the thermometer increases, the number of client bookings on your calendar may be shrinking. Rest assured, this is absolutely normal. Children and families go on vacation, children get shuffled off to summer camps, or clients decide to take a summer break from therapy. So before you rush to fill the void on your summer calendar with other clients, pause for a moment, and after taking a close look at your budget, ask yourself:
What needs to be addressed in my personal or professional life?
Since the Pandemic, counselors, therapists, psychologists, and just about everyone else operating within the mental wellness industry have been experiencing a collective burnout along with the rest of the world. COVID-19 put tremendous strain on mental wellbeing, and therapists went above and beyond to meet the nearly overwhelming influx of their clients’ psychological needs.
As a result, there are likely many areas of your personal and professional life that have been neglected over the past couple of years, and now may be the perfect time to indulge in some self-care or devote some much-needed attention to your personal and professional bucket list.
Not sure where to start? Here are six savvy suggestions for how to navigate the summer slowdown!
1. Reflect and refocus. So much has happened over the past couple years, and even therapists need some time to process changes. Reflective insight will always provide you with the wisdom required for being intentional with your future choices, so take a moment to breath, think, and feel. Here are some suggestions to guide your reflections.
- What is working well vs. not working well within your practice?
- Is there a niche or topic that tends to energize or drain you?
- Did you notice any patterns or themes in your relationships with your clients?
- Is there any certification or training that you could get that would benefit both you and your clients?
- Is there an area of therapy you would like to further explore and become more skilled at?
- Is there any aspect within your private practice to realign and refocus on?
2. Find ways to be proactive and plan for your business’s future. Once you are fully armed with insight, see if there are some productive opportunities for you to proactively set yourself up for future success. For instance…
- Reduce seasonal financial stress by reconfiguring your budget to accommodate a slow season.
- Pre-book and set up your fall schedule with clients who are taking a break. This way their spot is reserved when they return, and that’s one less thing to do when you ease back into the busy season.
- Revisit your overall business strategy. Is there an opportunity to add a new service like coaching or parent training? Would now be a good time to branch out and start a private practice or group? If so, our HIPAA-Compliant platform will support you in expanding the communities you serve. Learn more about Hopscotch.
3. Catch up on your professional to-do list. Administrative and marketing tasks are often the first action items to fall by the wayside when business picks up, and after a while, these tasks can start to pile up and impact your ability to be productive and professional. Take a moment to check back in with the backlog of work such as:
- Organizing your office, desk, or computer files
- Redecorating your office
- Giving your office or play therapy room a deep clean
- Assessing your marketing efforts
- Updating your website
- Re-ordering brochures/business cards
- Attending networking events
4. Reconnect with the relationships that matter most. It is not uncommon for a therapist to feel as if they know their clients better than their own family and friends. A slow season may be ideal for enjoying some work-life balance and spending more time with loved ones. As a therapist, you already know how valuable those relationships are to your wellbeing, so consider this a friendly reminder to reconnect with the people who matter most to you.
- Make a list of the people that you have not had time for or were unable to connect with due to COVID-19.
- Use downtime to schedule a catch-up call, meet up for a coffee, or plan a weekend trip to visit parents, friends, college friends, etc.
5. Take some much-deserved YOU-time. Therapists need time for self-care just like everyone else. If you have been prioritizing client care before self-care, summertime may be the buffer you have been craving to give some attention to your own needs.
Self-care ideas for therapists:
- Take a vacation
- Sleep in
- Get a massage
- Enjoy a quiet summer
- Spend more time in nature
- Catch up on your favorite show
- Learn how to cook a healthy, new recipe
- Commit to a nourishing morning/evening routine
- Start a new hobby (If you are not sure where to start, take that class you’ve always wanted to try and see if you like it. Remember – it’s about the process, not the product.)
- Seek therapy for yourself
6. Do nothing. The idea of making the most out of a slow season is to recharge. If revisiting your personal and professional “bucket list” is not exactly what you need right now, then that is more than ok. Sometimes one of the best ways to cure burnout is to embrace Il Dolce Far Niente – which is the Italian concept for “the sweetness of doing nothing.” Why not try it? The power of active rest will have you bouncing back stronger than ever.
Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is for therapists, too!
Whether you choose to simply just be and breathe this summer, revisit goals, or plan ahead, let this summer be a time for you to rest and rejuvenate. The important thing is to pace yourself and try not to do too much at once. Remember that the best joys are the simple ones, and productive progress happens one sustainable step at a time.