How to Set Boundaries During the Holidays in Your Practice

As therapists, our dedication to client well-being is unwavering, but just as our clients need time for loved ones and personal rejuvenation, so do we. 

The holiday season can be a mix of joy and stress, but it necessitates thoughtful boundary-setting for our own mental health and quality time with family and friends.

Prioritizing Your Time

Therapists often find it challenging to say “no,” working long hours to support their clients’ mental health. However, the holiday season is an opportunity for two crucial aspects: rest and prioritizing non-clinical relationships. 

Taking a pause allows you to recharge and refocus on personal connections, creating moments and memories that might be overlooked during the year’s chaos.

Beyond the professional realm, the importance of self-care cannot be overstated. As therapists, we are often the pillars of strength for our clients, providing support and guidance. However, we must recognize the value of caring for ourselves, especially during a season that calls for reflection and relaxation.

Why Boundaries Matter

Setting boundaries is not just about self-care; it’s a statement of what you’re responsible for and what you’re not. During the holidays, when clients may experience increased stress, enforcing boundaries becomes crucial. It’s an act of self-preservation and ensures your well-being.

For example:

  • Closing your practice early a couple of evenings a week can provide time for family dinners, catch-ups with friends, and a guilt-free break.
  • Reducing daytime consultations allows you to attend festive events during regular work hours, like classroom parties or plays with your children, or a spouse’s office party.
  • Limiting client contact time ensures you are fully present with loved ones.
  • Scheduling time away from your practice for a holiday break can be rejuvenating.

Totally changing your availability might be challenging, especially if you’ve maintained poor professional boundaries up until now. It can be a learning experience and an opportunity to establish firm limits for the future. It’s important to remember that maintaining clear boundaries sets an example for clients to follow.

Structuring Your Schedule for a Relaxing Holiday Season

Your holiday season deserves to be just that – yours. Prioritize your happiness by creating a schedule that aligns with your goals. Identify your priorities, the events you’d love to attend, and the days you wish to take off. Consider your client’s actual needs, not just their wants, when setting your goals.

Some tips for implementing your goals effectively:

  • Adjust your schedule to reflect your priorities. If possible, shorten busy days or rearrange appointments.
  • Block out specific dates for events well in advance to avoid rescheduling.
  • Commit your holiday plans to your calendar and communicate them early.
  • As a therapist, striking a balance involves prioritizing your needs alongside those of your clients. Plan thoughtfully, set boundaries, and communicate effectively to ensure a rejuvenating holiday season.

Setting and Communicating Boundaries with Clients

Now that your holiday schedule is in place, the next step is compassionate boundary-setting and effective communication with your clients.

1. Set an Accurate Schedule

Decide on a schedule that prioritizes your physical and psychological health. Resist the temptation to squeeze in extra consultations, and stick to your plan.

2. Set Expectations Early

The sooner you communicate your schedule, availability, and time away, the better clients can plan and adapt. Clarity from the outset helps manage expectations.

3. Communicate Your Holiday Hours in Advance

Informing clients about your holiday hours in advance removes uncertainties. It allows them to plan accordingly, securing consultations or making alternative arrangements.

4. Address Breached Boundaries

If a client attempts to schedule an out-of-hours consultation, promptly remind them of your holiday schedule. Addressing breached boundaries immediately reinforces the importance of respecting your time and availability.

Remember, compassionate control involves setting boundaries that prioritize both your well-being and that of your clients. By planning thoughtfully and communicating clearly, therapists can navigate the holiday season with resilience and joy.

As you navigate the delicate balance of providing exceptional care to your clients while ensuring your own well-being this holiday season, consider expanding your professional reach. Ravel’s Mental Health Directory provides a platform for therapists to connect with individuals seeking support.

By listing your practice on Ravel, you not only increase your visibility but also become part of a community dedicated to well-being. It’s a chance to extend your therapeutic influence beyond your immediate circle and support more individuals on their mental health journey.

Take a moment to explore the opportunities available to you through Ravel’s directory. Join a network of like-minded professionals and offer your expertise to those seeking guidance. The holiday season is not only a time for personal reflection but also an opportunity to grow professionally.

To list your practice on Ravel and be part of a thriving mental health community, visit our provider’s page today. Your commitment to well-being deserves to be shared with those who need it most.

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