Post-Christmas, and everything feels a bit... off, doesn't it? The excitement of the festive season is behind us, and we're left with cold weather and what feels like an eternity until spring (at least, that's what it's like in the UK!)
And then there's this gnawing anxiety about whether your therapy practice will weather the storm of the cost of living crisis. Fun times, right?
But before we decide to hibernate until spring, I've been toying with an idea. Let's call it the 'work diet.'
It's about doing a Marie Kondo on our professional lives, keeping only what truly 'sparks joy'—or, you know, actually benefits our practice—and ditching the rest.
Because maybe, just maybe, simplifying is the secret to not just surviving but thriving right now.
So here are 5 simple ways to conserve energy for you AND your practice.
Navigating the post Christmas slump
So we are in that funny time of year. No, not funny ha ha, but funny weird - it feels like Christmas was years ago, the weather is abysmal - well, here in the UK it is - and it feels like a long time until your next break is due.
PLUS the cost of living crisis hasn't let up, which can affect the ability of your clients to pay (though not all - there are still many that haven't been as affected as others)
More resources about the cost of living crisis:
Thriving, Not Just Surviving: Navigating the Cost of Living Crisis in Private Practice, with Miranda Palmer
The cost of living crisis: it’s impact on your clients, your practice and you
And this can bring about fears - fears that no one can afford therapy, and that you will have to give up your practice and find a job somewhere. Which makes me shudder!
February can be great - well, if you’re all loved up, because of course we have Valentines day. But if you’re not loved up, Valentines day is just another reminder that you’re on your own, or your relationship is failing. Sigh.
Ok before I drive you to drink, here’s something you can try - a work diet. A bit of a strange idea I grant you, but hear me out.
What if I suggested that you only do the ‘nutritious’ things in your business, things that are helpful and/or necessary. Things that will actually make a difference, and move the needle when it comes to marketing your practice and attracting more clients.
And you get rid of the ‘junk food’ activities. The things that take time, make you feel busy but don’t really make a difference to your practice.
Ok, you might be thinking that I’ve a small sherry before I started this, but bear with me..,.
Five Ways to Conserve Energy in Your Practice
1. Stop tweaking things
We’ve all done it: spent a couple of hours tweaking your website or directory. It feels like important work because you’re making improvements, but the problem is, it takes a lot of energy, and the results could be negligible.
You might end the day feeling tired having been busy all day, but on closer inspection you don’t have anything tangible to show for it.
The problem is, it feels like you’ve done a lot of work, so then when you don’t see any positive results it can make you doubt yourself.
Right now, in the depths of a bleak wintertime, you’re best conserving energy. Maybe tackling your marketing in focused short busts. And of course, if you need help with that, check out the Grow Your Private Practice membership and turbocharge your marketing.
Tweaking wastes time and energy, and in the bleak winter months, we are working conserving them.
2. Avoid social media rabbit holes
Hands up if you do this <waves her hands wildly!>
Look, we all do this! If you use social media for business, it’s easy to not only waste a LOT of time, it’s important to be aware of your mental state as you do it.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in comparisonitis on social media. To and start feeling low and lose your confidence.
So get some time boundaries around this and be honest, are you actually researching or doom scrolling? Honestly now!
So when you go on social media, set a timer for 5 or 10 mins and when the timer goes off, come off.
3. Postpone starting another CPD course
Yes, I know there are a squillion interesting topics out there, but right now , is it just another thing to take energy away from you? Maybe your brain could do with the break.
Put the course on your to do list and come back to it when your energy is back up to speed.
4. Boundary time in Facebook groups.
Facebook groups can be a great place to connect, but counsellors are just the same as anyone else, which means sometimes there might be disagreements or other things you might find stressful.
Let’s not welcome any more stress into our lives. So be aware and take an honest look at how you feel in these facebook groups and take a break if necessary.
5. Take a break from reading more counselling books.
Again, there are so many interesting things to learn about it can be tempting to read more books - or BUY more books - anyone else with a whole library of therapy books?!
So I’m making a gentle suggestion to read novels or more lighthearted books at the moment which will help give your brain a break.
Why is this important?
Let’s talk about me for a minute 😀
I have a tendency to overdo things - I’m increasingly realising that there’s a possibility I have ADHD or at least some of the traits.
And I get obsessed with things - like my business. Which can be amazing - being passionate about your business is a very good thing.
BUT it can also mean that I don’t take care of myself as well as I could and as I pile up more and more things to that I’m interested about, passionate even.
And this can have a negative impact on me, up to and including burnout.
Which is why I’m talking about this today, because I know about how I'm feeling, and because I speak to loads of therapists, I know how others feel too.
That said, obviously we are all different, but if any of this resonates with you then conserving your energy in order to get through a temporary difficult patch makes sense.
So yes, do the work, do the marketing activities that you need to do, learn and practice, and grow and nurture a thriving therapy practice.
But take a step back and take an honest look at your patterns. Are you using your precious time to do activities that you don’t need to or aren’t working for you? For example, are you on more than one social media platform? You only need to be on one, so that's a great way to conserve energy too.
More about how many social media platforms to be on:
Why your private practice should NOT be on every social media platform
I’ve been doing this lately, just focusing on the important activities to make sure my business keeps functioning and keeping my members happy.
I’ve taken a step away from all activities that drain my energy, the activities that aren’t necessary at the moment.
This has conserved my energy so I can practise my own self care.
- I’d prefer to read a chapter of a book than spend an hour browsing social media for no reason.
- I’d prefer to take my dog out somewhere nice than make miniscule tweaks on my website.
- And I’d MUCH prefer to take a nap than start a course I don’t actually need to do right now
Join the 'Work Diet' Movement
The idea of simplifying your business by focusing on what truly benefits your practice and letting go of the rest isn't just a strategy for survival—it's a blueprint for thriving in these uncertain times.
By adopting a minimalist approach to our work, we're not just conserving energy; we're investing it wisely in tasks that genuinely move the needle for our practices and our well-being.
This means prioritising activities that attract more clients, enhance our professional development, and nurture our mental health, while steering clear of the time-consuming 'junk food' tasks that bring little benefit.
Remember, the essence of the 'work diet' is not about doing less but about doing more of what actually matters. It's a reminder that in a profession as emotionally demanding as therapy, self-care and strategic focus aren't luxuries—they're necessities.
So, will you join me and embrace the idea of the 'work diet.'? Let's commit to streamlining our professional activities to those that spark joy and drive growth. In doing so, you not only navigate the post-Christmas slump with grace but also set the stage for a year of meaningful, sustainable success.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Here's to a year where we thrive by focusing on what truly matters, both in our practices and in our lives. Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.
Do you need some help to focus and save time?
If so, come and join me in the Grow Your Private Practice membership where you can follow the Private Practice Success Roadmap and learn all the basics to get you off to the best start.
And in February, we are focusing on probably the most important thing in marketing - learning who your dream clients are and how to attract them.
CLICK HERE for more details and to join. You will be very welcome.