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Achieving Work-Life Balance for Hypnotherapists
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Hypnotherapists are generally self-employed and it can be tempting to work all hours possible when the work is there. However, by doing so, you can actually risk reducing your earning potential, by adversely impacting on your effectiveness.
The challenges of work-life balance are common across many industries and professions. According to a survey conducted by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 37% of occupational therapists (1 in 3) intend to leave their role because of poor work/life balance. That’s how severe the problem among therapists is.
Besides this reason, there are a few others (covered below) due to which it’s extremely important for hypnotherapists and other mental health practitioners to attain proper work-life balance. After covering these reasons, this blog also offers 11 ways to attain work-life balance for hypnotherapists.
The challenges of work-life balance
Why is it crucial for hypnotherapists to have a work-life balance? Surely the more you can earn the better. By creating a balance, you will work more effectively long-term.
Work-life balance challenge # 1 – Quality of life
Hypnotherapists are constantly exposed to strong emotions, such as anxiety, depression and fear, together with conditions such as trauma. According to a survey conducted in 2013, 70% of UK therapists are at risk of secondary traumatic stress which can have a ripple effect in their personal lives as well. Thus, blurring the boundaries between personal and professional life. With such potentially negative impact of professional life on personal life, hypnotherapists need to have a proper work-life balance to avoid any reduction in overall quality of life.
Work-life balance challenge #2 – Performance
You might naturally consider that the more clients you work with, the better performing a hypnotherapist you will become. Yet sometimes quality of work is a better development tool, rather than quantity.
According to a study conducted on mental health practitioners, poor work-life balance leads to exhaustion. A professional who is exhausted can’t perform at his/ her best, which means their professional graph will soon dip.
Work-life balance challenge #3 – Development
Continuing Professional Development, or ‘CPD’ is a requirement of many professional associations around the world. Whilst you may have worked incredibly hard to achieve your initial training, and even studied with a world-class training provider, such as HypnoTC, the profession moves on. CPD keeps you up to date with changes and new developments.
According to a UK-based professional association, the National Council for Hypnotherapy, hypnotherapists must devote 15 hours annually to CPD. They need to keep a log for the same. If the work-life balance of a hypnotherapist is already haywire, they would find it extremely difficult to complete the required number of CPD hours.
Skipping those hours means you will likely lose your professional zeal over the years, which can diminish your ability to provide better services to your clients.
Tips to maintain work-life balance for hypnotherapists
To not just become, but remain as good a hypnotherapist as you can be, paying attention to your work-life balance can help your career. Here are some tips you can easily employ.
Work life balance tip #1 – Use time management techniques
One of the most effective ways to manage work-life balance as a hypnotherapist is to manage your time effectively.
Rather than experimenting with various techniques, simply go with the tried and tested techniques below.
Time management tip #1 – Set proper goals
The very first thing you need to do is to set daily and long-term goals. That way, you will work on most important tasks daily and align them with your long-term goals.
Time management tip #2 – Prioritise tasks
Merely setting short-term goals isn’t enough. Prioritising daily tasks and goals is important. The highest priority ones should be completed first to ensure you utilise every day to serve clients better.
Time management tip #3 – Have some buffer time in between
Scheduling tasks one after another is a mistake because hardly ever things go as per plan for a hypnotherapist. To avoid cascading delay effects, have some buffer time in between.
That way, if a single client session or task takes more time, it’s easy to still start the next task on schedule which helps you have more control over your day. If everything goes as per schedule this buffer time will serve as break time.
Work life balance tip #2 – Analyse your schedule every weekend
Even with detailed planning, on some days, you could feel overwhelmed or unable to achieve much. That’s why it’s best to analyse your past schedule and plan the week ahead every weekend.
That helps you understand things like:
• Buffer time needed
• Sessions you can comfortably conduct in a day
• Best way to handle communication from clients
• And so on.
Follow these techniques to ensure you have enough time left daily for personal chores.
Work life balance tip #3 – Practice self-care
As a hypnotherapist, you will regularly recommend self-care routines to your clients. But do you indulge in self-care routines yourself?
Probably not! Such self-care routines can help reduce work stress. Simple activities daily help like:
A light cardio workout early in the morning helps. Alternatively, try going for a walk after completing your sessions. It will help you take your mind off things.
A small meditation session before embarking on your busy schedule or after coming home will help you handle work better.
Take a bath
Don’t prefer these activities? Take a bath after coming home from work. Make a point to avoid thinking or discussing work after that bath. Once you develop this habit you can easily isolate work from personal life.
Work life balance tip #4 – Build a support network
Your clients come to you because they can’t handle things on their own. Even though you are a hypnotherapist, you need to remember that you aren’t a superhuman. So, develop your own support network. It can consist of:
• Like-minded friends
The aim here is to have people to discuss your emotional stress and work challenges with. Keep in mind that every client is a new challenge for the hypnotherapist, and sometimes their emotional disturbance or trauma can affect you as well. Having a support network helps you tackle their issues and not let it impact your personal life.
Work life balance tip #5 – Plan and take regular vacations
According to this Harvard Business Review article, taking a vacation helps you unclutter your mind, boosting creativity and providing more clarity. At a physical level, it allows your immune system to recover and reduces stress hormone levels. At a spiritual level, it allows you to reconnect with yourself, which is rejuvenating for many.
Of course, there is the added benefit of not working and spending time with your loved ones.
Each one of these benefits helps you relax and attain a proper work-life balance.
Work life balance tip #6 – Create boundaries and stick to them
One of the benefits of being a hypnotherapist, is that the role provides you with a lot of freedom. However, if you don’t know how to handle this freedom, the lines between professional and personal life can blur quickly. That’s why you need to set boundaries right from the start and stick to them.
But what do we mean by such boundaries?
Some examples include:
• As far as possible, avoid conducting sessions at home. Working from home is great, but it also makes setting fixed working hours difficult.
• Right from the start, determine the number of clients you can accept each week and each day, and stick to those limits.
• Clearly define your charges, modes of communication, hours of communication and cancellation policy. Inform your clients about the same in advance.
• Determine daily session timings and only conduct sessions during that time. Allied activities like marketing, replying to emails, etc, can come in later during the day.
Work life balance tip #7 – Lookout for signs of burnout
Contrary to popular belief, hypnotherapists are not invincible, and are as susceptible to burnout as anyone else. Therefore, always be on the lookout for signs like:
• Emotional exhaustion
• Compassion fatigue
• Irritation or low frustration tolerance
• Feeling lethargic all the time
These are signs that you are over-stretching yourself professionally. When you notice any of these signs, reduce your working hours to rejuvenate yourself before burning out.
Work life balance tip #8 – Outsource whenever possible
No, we aren’t necessarily suggesting you to hire another hypnotherapist. But non-core tasks can be outsourced.
• Using an appointment management software instead of doing it manually
• Hiring an administrative assistant
• Employing a marketing agency to spread the word
• Outsourcing website management
• Delegating your accounts to a book-keeper or accountant
• Hiring a housekeeper to free up more time
• Ordering your groceries online (save the trip to the store)
Even outsourcing one task will help you get more time for yourself, which vastly improves work-life balance.
Work life balance tip #9 – Technology to the rescue
How tech-savvy are you?
A case of working smarter not harder, hypnotherapists can benefit a lot by using technology the right way. If you don’t want to outsource work to someone else, start gradually employing technology in your practice.
Some examples include:
• To reduce no-shows, you can send advance automated reminders to clients
• Follow-ups can be automated as well
• Appointment scheduling software can help your clients choose from vacant appointment slots on their own
• You can use Electronic Health Records to maintain client records
• Start offering online hypnotherapy sessions to reduce buffer time between sessions
Such use of technology will boost your earnings and reduce time input on your part. Wouldn’t that lead to a better work-life balance? You bet!
Work life balance tip #10 – Focus on the long-term
Many hypnotherapists will sacrifice their work-life balance in order to accelerate their careers. Yet few realise or acknowledge that career longevity is more important than short-term acceleration. Once you focus on the long-term, you realise why your work-life balance is so important, even at the cost of slower growth.
No matter how hard you attempt to do so, you can’t accomplish a couple of years’ worth of work in just 2 months. Remember that and limit your working hours to avoid burning out.
Not only that, once you focus on the long-term, it becomes easier to maintain the boundary between your personal and professional life. That’s why having a long-term perspective is important for achieving balance.
Work life balance tip #11 – Build an identity outside work
You may be like most hypnotherapists, who are passionate about their work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an identity outside of your work.
A common problem for most hypnotherapists, is that they don’t even realise that their work has taken over their personal life, until it’s too late.
Below is a simple test to determine if work has taken over your entire life or not.
Think about how you would introduce yourself to someone new. Would you only say you are a hypnotherapist?
If yes, it’s time to build an identity outside of work. Some ways to do so include:
• Developing hobbies
• Joining social groups
• Volunteering for a cause
• Learning a new skill (not work-related)
When your identity has more facets, it’s easy to dissociate from your hypnotherapy practice after working hours, and do something else for a few hours a day. That certainly helps maintain work-life balance.
Work life balance tip #12 – Opt for the right business model
Being able to create an effective work-life balance as a hypnotherapist also depends on your business model. If you are working with a hospital or on a salary, there is little direct control of your work-life balance; as the institution will set your working hours and, by extension, your workload.
One of the best ways to achieve the greatest control of your work-life balance is to opt for private practice. Sure enough, establishing a private practice isn’t easy, but after the initial efforts, the results are better. You can also opt for a hybrid model by establishing a private practice and taking up a part-time salaried job.
In some cases, the only way to attain that balance might be time to tweak your business model to get more time off.
As a hypnotherapist, you can earn handsomely. However, do remember that achieving a beneficial work-life balance is equally important for a long and flourishing career. If you are struggling with the same, just follow these tips, and you will notice a difference.
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– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks and the HypnoTC team