Taking time off as a therapist and business owner is really important. It allows us to clear our minds, press the reset button and come back to work refreshed and re-energised.
When you work for yourself, however, taking a break can be easier said than done!
You have a lot invested in your business, and if you’re somewhat new to being your own boss, it can be difficult to fully switch off. You might be worried about how to handle time off with your clients and how to let them know when you’re unavailable.
If you’re a location independent therapist then you might face an additional challenge – some of our members have told us that it’s hard for them to take time off when they can technically work from anywhere. However, we know that you’d encourage your clients to take time off from work, even if they too could work from everywhere, so don’t forget to take your own advice!
Here are a few tips we’ve gathered over the years to help us take a proper break from the world of work and get ourselves into holiday mode:
Taking Time off as a Therapist: 4 Tips to Make it Easier for You
1. Plan ahead
Forward planning is essential to ensure that you can actually relax and enjoy your time off from work!
We would recommend clearing your calendar well in advance. You can reschedule any recurring appointments and make sure you don’t have anything important going on that week.
It’s also worth thinking about what you want to happen in your business while you’re offline. If you have a consistent online presence, you probably want that to continue while you’re away.
In that case, you can prepare some social media posts and schedule them to go out during your break.
If you’re worried about your finances while you’re on holiday because you won’t be bringing in revenue, be sure to plan for that as well by putting aside an amount each month that will comfortably cover your holiday time. (This is part of having a business mindset, an essential skill you’ll need to cultivate as you step into the role of business owner).
Consider how much time off you want to take each year, and build that into your annual budget and financial plan. Then, you’ll be able to take holidays and time off, stress-free.
We all need time to rest! You deserve it, and it will help you to stay focused and supportive of your clients when you’re back.
2. Let people know that you’ll be on leave
Giving people plenty of notice of when you’ll be on leave is the best way to prepare for your time off.
In the time leading up to your leave, you can remind people that you’ll be unavailable and if it’s appropriate, you can provide emergency contact information to your clients.
We also recommend setting up automatic replies for your email accounts letting people know when they can expect to hear back from you. Then, you’re less likely to come back to an overflowing inbox, as people will know that you’re away and (hopefully) have more patience.
3. Disable notifications on your phone and laptop
When you’re on leave, aim to switch off completely from any apps, emails, and other tasks.
It can be hard to resist the temptation to “just check in” – especially when you see notifications and messages popping up. To help make it easier, be sure to turn off all those alerts in your settings.
Or maybe take it one step further and just delete those apps for the duration of your holidays. You don’t want work emails distracting you from quality time with your loved ones.
4. Give yourself a buffer
Consider adding a day on either end of your planned holiday time where you’ll be “unavailable”.
Have you ever booked a week away and planned to get your packing done the night before – right after you finished work? If you’ve ever been in that situation, you’ll know that you can end up more tired, stressed, and rushed than if you weren’t taking any time off.
So, it’s well worth booking an extra day of leave before and after you travel.
And even if you’re not going away, you can use that time to ease yourself gently back into work.
It’s a good time to catch up on anything urgent or get some errands or admin done, so you’re not thrown back in full force. You don’t want to go back feeling more exhausted than when you left!
Do you have any other tips to share? Have you found it easy or difficult to take a break from your practice? Let us know in the comments below, or join us in our free Facebook group to share your tips for taking time off as a therapist and business owner!