Balancing act: Managing a busy work schedule and therapy

In the fast-paced and demanding world of work, many individuals struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The challenge becomes even more pronounced when integrating essential personal commitments, such as attending therapy sessions, into a busy work schedule. However, prioritising mental health is crucial for overall well-being. This article will explore practical strategies and tips on effectively managing work responsibilities while making room for therapy during work hours.


The importance of mental health

Before diving into the logistics of managing work and therapy, it's crucial to emphasise the importance of mental health. Acknowledging the need for treatment is a positive step towards self-care, and it's essential to understand that prioritising mental well-being contributes to increased productivity, better decision-making, and enhanced overall job satisfaction. However, unlike other forms of self-care, therapy requires a lot of emotional energy, dedication, and time.

Engaging in therapy is no small feat and may, at times, dredge up difficult emotions and memories, so understandably, most want to do this outside of work. However, therapists can only offer so many hours in the evening… so how do we navigate this?

Engaging in therapy

Communication and transparency

Communication with your employer and colleagues is critical when balancing work and therapy. If your workplace has a supportive culture, consider discussing your need for treatment with your supervisor. Share the benefits you anticipate from attending sessions and propose a plan to minimise work disruption. Plus, remember that for many people, therapy is time-limited!

Being transparent about your intentions lets your team understand your commitment to self-improvement, fostering a culture that values mental health. This transparency also helps manage expectations, making it easier for colleagues to adjust to your schedule.

Unfortunately, people continue to experience mental health-related stigma. Remember that in no circumstance do you need to explain why you are seeking therapy to your employer. Your GP or the occupational health team can be excellent sources of support. They can help you and your employer put a plan in place for you to be able to attend therapy whilst continuing work.

Flexible work arrangements

Explore flexible work arrangements with your employer, such as remote work or flexible hours. Many companies nowadays recognise the importance of employee well-being and are willing to accommodate such requests. This flexibility can allow you to attend therapy sessions without compromising work commitments.

If possible, discuss the option of a compressed workweek or adjusting your daily schedule to allow for longer lunch breaks or later start times. Flexibility can be a win-win situation for you and your employer, often leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

Scheduling therapy wisely

Strategic scheduling is crucial when integrating therapy into your workday. Consider booking therapy sessions during lunch breaks or at the beginning or end of the workday. This way, you can minimise disruption to your work routine while prioritising your mental health.

Utilising technology

In the age of digital advancements, technology can be a powerful ally in managing work and therapy. Consider virtual therapy options, such as telehealth sessions, which eliminate the need for travel time. Virtual sessions can be conducted from the comfort of your home or a private space in your workplace, providing convenience and flexibility.

Additionally, leverage scheduling and productivity tools to organise your work tasks efficiently. Calendar apps, task management tools, and reminders can help you stay on top of your professional responsibilities and ensure that you allocate time for therapy without neglecting work commitments.

Prioritising self-care

Balancing work and therapy requires a commitment to self-care. Make sure to prioritise activities that contribute to your overall well-being, such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating habits. Taking care of your physical health can positively impact your mental health, making it easier to manage stress and fulfil both work and therapeutic responsibilities.

Setting boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is essential for maintaining balance. Focus on your professional responsibilities and avoid letting personal matters interfere at work. Similarly, when attending therapy, strive to be fully present and engaged without letting work-related stressors occupy your mind.

Setting boundaries also involves learning to say 'no' when necessary. If you feel overwhelmed with work tasks, communicate your limitations to your colleagues and prioritise self-care. Recognising your limits is crucial for long-term success in managing work and therapy.

Creating a supportive environment

Building a supportive network at work can significantly contribute to successfully managing therapy sessions during work hours. Share your goals with trusted colleagues who can offer understanding and encouragement. Having a support system can make it easier to navigate challenges and ensure that your commitment to therapy is met with empathy and encouragement.

Encourage open conversations about mental health within your workplace. Advocate for a supportive culture that recognises the importance of well-being and encourages employees to prioritise mental health. This cultural shift can benefit everyone in the organisation.

Your well-being journey

Balancing work and attending therapy during work hours is undoubtedly challenging. However, it's a journey worth taking for your overall well-being. You can integrate therapy into your professional life by prioritising mental health, communicating openly with your employer, and leveraging flexible work arrangements.

Remember that finding the right balance is continuous; self-care should remain a top priority. Dedication and strategic planning can create a harmonious synergy between your work responsibilities and therapeutic commitments, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW5 & NW6
Written by Dr Lea Beretti, DClinPsy, CPsychol
London SW5 & NW6

I am a chartered clinical psychologist, and am deeply committed to helping my clients reach their potential by providing high-quality talking therapy. I strongly believes that the human experience is too complex to fit neatly into one model. As a result, my therapeutic style draws from multiple therapy models and is tailored to your needs.

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