Why is burnout so common in speech pathology?

We hear all the time about speech pathologists burning out. It makes me wonder why is burnout so common in speech pathology? Then I clicked! So many speech pathologists are so high-achieving! Are you a speech pathology business owner AND a Type 1 personality? Maybe you enjoy intense planning and have exacting standards, or maybe you consistently strive to do your best in everything you set out to do. As driven business owners in speech pathology, having these qualities can be incredibly beneficial—however, it’s easy for perfectionism to become overly stressful. This blog post will cover how the Type 1 personality can avoid burnout and balance working hard and caring for themselves. Read on to learn more about managing perfectionism and creating a healthy mindset as an ambitious entrepreneur!

Type 1 Personality traits

As a speech pathologist, I am qualified to say that many of us exhibit Type 1 Personality traits. Stereotypically, speech pathology business owners, in particular, are driven, ambitious, and highly organized. It is fair to say we strongly desire to achieve our goals and are willing to work hard to make them a reality. However, we can also be perfectionists and struggle to delegate tasks.  These traits can be valuable in the business world; they make us more susceptible to burnout. It is important that we acknowledge our ability to achieve goals will only ever be in line with our ability to prioritise self-care. Part of this includes learning to let go of control when necessary. Wow – that even hurt me to type that sentence!! With a recession looming, now is the time to identify the need to make changes so we can continue to achieve great things.

Burnout Stressors in Speech Pathology

As a speech pathology business owner with many years of experience, I can confidently say that compassion fatigue is a real challenge. Speech pathology is a deeply rewarding profession as we work to help individuals overcome communication disorders and achieve their full potential. However, it can also be emotionally taxing due to the stressors that come with it. The work can be physically and mentally demanding as we work with a wide range of clients dealing with various communication disorders. On top of that, as business owners, we are responsible for helping support and care for our team members. It’s vital for us to take care of ourselves and find ways to manage stressors. Remember, we cannot pour from an empty cup, so taking care of ourselves is essential for providing our clients and team the best care.

Identifying Signs of Burnout in Speech Pathologists

As a seasoned speech pathology business owner, I have seen first-hand the toll that burnout can take. It’s often difficult to recognize the signs of burnout, especially when you’re in the thick of it. But it’s so important to identify and address the issue before it spirals out of control. Some subtle signs may include feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, lack of motivation, or even physical symptoms like headaches or difficulty sleeping. I find that there is lots of talk about employee burnout, but business owner burnout isn’t often considered. As a business owner, you carry the risk and responsibility. We often feel guilty for taking time off for holidays, working normal hours, and heaven forbid we feel sick! These guilty feelings do not serve us. It’s important to prioritize self-care, set boundaries, and seek support from colleagues or a mental health professional. Remember, taking care of yourself is essential to providing the best care for your clients and team. If it helps, consider it your responsibility to model healthy boundaries for work/life balance. Don’t ignore the signs of burnout; prioritize your own well-being.

Strategies for Prevention and Coping with Burnout

As a business owner in speech pathology, I have experienced burnout firsthand multiple times. It has taken me this long to realise the importance of prevention rather than recovery when it comes to burnout.  In my experience, some effective strategies for prevention include starting the day with exercise. Some days I am excited to hit the gym; other days, all I can do is a gentle walk around a few blocks. The movement clears my mind in both situations and re-energises me, even after a rubbish night’s sleep. I also do a 10-15 minute meditation and breathwork. I find this calms my nervous system and helps me show up as a happier Mum and boss lady. When it comes to setting goals, I often tend to be over-ambitious. When I allocate how much time it will take to achieve the goal, it helps me chunk them into more realistic bite-size goals.  Other coping strategies might include seeking counselling or therapy, taking time off work, or engaging in hobbies and self-care activities. Remember, burnout is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign that your body and mind need a break. By taking care of yourself, you can continue to provide quality care to your patients and clients.

Yoga for Avoiding Burnout

Burnout can hit even the most dedicated and passionate of us. Interestingly, a systematic review showed that yoga is a powerful and effective tool for avoiding burnout in healthcare professionals. Why is it so effective in maintaining our physical and mental well-being? Yoga offers a unique combination of physical movement and mindfulness that can help us manage stress, release tension, and restore balance to our minds and bodies. By incorporating yoga into your daily or weekly routine, you can cultivate a sense of calm and focus that will benefit your personal life and enhance your professional performance as a speech pathologist. So if you’re looking for a way to stay centred and grounded in your practice, I highly recommend trying yoga. Namaste!

Tips for Working Through Difficult Times and Reaching Goals

Are you struggling to stay motivated during tough times? When it comes to business, tough times are inevitable. How you show up in tough times will determine your resilience and business success. I understand how difficult it can be to focus on your goals when everything around you feels chaotic. One tip that has always helped me is breaking your goals into smaller, more manageable steps. That way, you can celebrate small victories along the way and feel a sense of progress even when the end goal seems far away. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Whether it’s talking to a friend, hiring a coach, or seeking professional guidance, there is no shame in recognizing when you need a little extra support. Remember, it’s not about being perfect – it’s about taking small daily steps towards your ultimate goal. You’ve got this!

Burnout in Speech Pathology

As speech pathology business owners, it can be hard to practice self-care when type 1 personalities drive us. But when done correctly, taking time off and actively avoiding burnout can help make us better communicators both in and out of our careers. Work smarter, not harder, when it comes to caring for yourself, your business and your team. Utilize your resources, reach out for support, restrain from feeling guilty about taking “time off”, keep the lines of communication open so you can set boundaries with clients (and yourself) and always make sure you create a least a little downtime for yourself each day. We know it’s easier said than done, but these tips will help ease the burden of being a speech pathology business owner with a type 1 personality. Join our Speechie Business Talk FB Group for more information about avoiding burnout in your business today!

written by Julie Sexton, CEO, Senior Speech Pathologist

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