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How to Fit in Time for Self-Care as a Wellness Professional

A woman standing in front of a vibrant mural in San Francisco.

Dear Dangerously in Love with Your Finances,

My husband and I recently purchased a medical building to open a psychiatry and therapy services practice in Columbus, OH. My husband is a marriage and family therapist, and I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Together, we plan to hire other behavioral health specialists to provide holistic mental health support within our community. Owning and operating a behavior health practice has always been a dream of mine, but now that I’m going to do it, I have to figure out how to fit in some time for self-care. How do your other clients, who are mental health providers, include self-care in their busy schedules?

~ Fitting In Self-care

Good Day Fitting In Self-care,

What a pleasant surprise, as most of my questions are about business accounting and finance, which is equally important as self-care. Great question! I’m delighted that you’re considering your well-being.

Often, psychiatrists and therapists are so busy caring for their patients that they tend to forget about themselves.

Opening up a practice takes a lot of hard work and time, and it is essential that you remove your “CEO hat” and, in your case, both your “CEO hat” and “mental health provider hat” for a couple of hours a week.

I tell my clients, including those in the mental health industry, that they can’t make sound business decisions if they don’t give themselves time to breathe outside the office. Financial decisions, whether for your business or personal, should always be made with a clear head.

I encourage them to schedule self-care as an appointment within their schedule and show up. Showing up and executing the action plan is always the most challenging part.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a trip to the spa or getting a mani and pedi. It can be as simple as taking a walk, relaxing, taking a nap (rest your brain), exercising, or doing yoga. The goal is to clear your mind and focus on your well-being.

So – I ask you, what would you tell your patient if they asked you this same question?

My hope for you is that you enjoy your journey of building your behavioral health practice and that you stay intentional about taking time for yourself.

Be conscious to be active in your efforts from the very beginning so that you can reap the benefits of your healthy habits during good times and more challenging ones as well. Finding personal fulfillment outside of your practice sets up an extremely necessary foundation for you as you go into this very exciting venture – and this doesn’t need to be limited to just you!

Working with your spouse is another aspect that makes setting aside time outside of work important. Creating clear lines of separation can be helpful to allow you to focus on whatever you are doing in the moment, from going through your practice’s books to deciding where to go for date night.

Thank you for this question and congratulations on bringing this dream to life.

– Lozelle Mathai

Your Healthcare Accounting Principles Advisor