Why Taking Breaks Is Important in Private Practice | Ep 103

Do you often let fear stop you from taking a break and resting when you know you need it? Are you often pushing yourself beyond your limits but haven’t stopped to wonder why? Have you been feeling resentful towards work that you used to enjoy in the past? 

I get it, I really do. It can be incredibly difficult to take the time that you know you need to rest when it seems like everyone around you is going a thousand miles a minute. 

Taking the time to properly rest is something that can help you to feel more present with your clients during sessions, and to enjoy what you do. Resting allows you to tap into your creative energy and appreciate your daily tasks, as well as your needs, instead of only chasing deadlines. 

In this podcast episode, I share my history with overcoming the fear when I know I need to settle down for some time. Join me, and learn about how I – and you – can become Fearless!

As you know I’m all about seeing you succeed in your Canadian private practice, so in the spirit of keeping things real, check out my Tools and Deals page where you can get free access to my online private practice checklist, as well as discount codes and subscriptions specials on EMRs, website builders, and online practice essentials. Visit fearlesspractice.ca/deals to claim your discount codes and to get more info!

In This Episode

  • Why I started private practice 
  • Signs I need a break 
  • Being Fearless
  • Going forward

Why I started private practice 

One of the reasons why I started my own Canadian private practice was because I was getting burned out and I knew that for me to be successful I would need to have more breaks. 

‘I thought that when I started private practice and got to the point where I could afford to take more breaks, it would be this easy thing to do! Just take a week here, there, and not have to worry about it.’ – Julia Smith 

However, even when I got to that place, I found myself struggling to give myself the chance to rest and take breaks because I felt I: 

  • Needed to push myself. I didn’t feel like I could ever fully “earn” my rest because in our modern capitalist society, we’re taught that time means money, so resting could feel like losing money 
  • Had to continuously earn an income because, another symptom of a largely capitalist society, hustle culture is so ingrained in our world that not actively doing something insinuates that you are not driven 
  • Could lose out on working with new clients if I wasn’t always available because I decided to take a break

‘I noticed this block of fear of [taking breaks] because I might lose something, like clients. If I took more time off, clients that are looking for a therapist would go to somebody else because I had no openings that week, or if I take more time off clients that I’m currently seeing would be upset with that and stop booking with me.’ – Julia Smith 

So, during this first year of trying to take more breaks, I had to focus on listening to myself and what my body and mind were telling me when I knew that I needed to take breaks, even if I had fear. 

Signs I need a break 

I’ve come to notice personal signs of when I need to have a break, because I don’t want to wake up dreading work. I enjoy what I do, but if I don’t give myself time to rest, then that joy could turn into resentment or frustration, and I don’t want it to. 

I know that I need to step back when I: 

  • Heave a big sigh of having to do any admin, marketing, or tasks for my practice 
  • Feel more anxious or panicky 
  • Become overwhelmed or easily stressed out by emails and additional requests 

‘I take around four to five weeks off per year, plus doing a 50/ 50 workweek … As well as this year I also committed to taking holidays off if they fell on a Monday [because] before this year I would always work on those because people had them off, so that usually meant people could see me on that holiday … But what I noticed is that it didn’t feel that great working on that day because everybody else had it off. Plus sometimes people would forget because it was a holiday!’ – Julia Smith 

This approach to my work has drastically helped me to reduce that “ugh” feeling toward my work, and keep the burnout at bay. If you are interested in trying out a 50/ 50 workweek split, you can listen to my podcast episode about it here.

Being Fearless

After seven years of private practice and getting to know myself in this setting, I can no longer imagine working like how I used to! 

‘I can’t even imagine not taking that time off. It’s so important to my mental health, and so important for my clients because taking this time off allows me to rest and allows me to show up better in sessions with clients. I’m more engaged, and ultimately I’m giving my clients better care because I can afford and do take breaks.’ – Julia Smith 

Now, I have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a “fearless” practitioner! It can mean saying “yes” to things that can feel scary and knowing when to push yourself, but at the same time also knowing when to say “no” and focus on self-care. 

‘For me, being Fearless means knowing what you want and going for it without knowing the outcome. There’s risk and it can be scary, but you are listening to yourself, you’re knowing and letting that carve a path for you in your life.’ – Julia Smith 

Going forward

In saying this, I’m going on a two-week hiatus for December! I’m going to unwind, enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll return back in January for another awesome year of the Fearless Practice Podcast! 

‘Oh, I’m so scared! But you know, that is why we are private practitioners!’ – Julia Smith

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 102: Nicole Lobo: Turning Lemons into Lemonade in Private Practice | EP 102

Learn more about the tools and deals that I love and use for my Canadian private practice

Article: How to Set Up a Canadian Private Practice Website  

Sign up for my free e-course on How to Start an Online Canadian Private Practice

Jane App (use code FEARLESS for one month free)

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyAmazon, and TuneIn

About Julia

Julia Smith, MEd, RCT, CCC is a registered Counselling Therapist who owns a group private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is also the owner of Fearless Practice Consulting and hosts the Fearless Practice podcast. Through the Fearless Practice podcast, she provides invaluable insights and practical advice on starting and growing a successful Canadian private practice. Julia’s wealth of knowledge also extends beyond the podcast, as she provides personalized one-on-one consulting to therapists who are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with their solo or group private practices. With Julia’s expertise, therapists can confidently navigate the complexities of owning a private practice and find work life – balance. 

Julia also has written articles for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy association. You can learn more at www.ccpa-accp.ca/blog/.