Do you take holidays in your private practice?
I know some therapists who only take Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day off in an effort to make themselves available to their clients over the holidays and to continue to generate income during that time. I know other therapists, myself included, who take 1 to 2 weeks’ vacation during the holiday season.
How do you know which is right for you? There are several factors to consider in making this decision, which will discuss in this article.
Your Personal Preference
This one has always been the number one consideration for me. How have I been feeling leading up to the holidays? Am I feeling great and full of energy? Or am I a bit burnt out and in need of a re-charge? When I think about seeing clients in between Christmas and New Year’s do I look forward to supporting them during this time, or might I feel a bit resentful because I’d rather be taking a break?
You probably already know this, but anytime you overextend yourself and see clients when your body is really telling you that you need to rest, your clients will likely feel the negative impact of that. Listen to your intuition and see what it’s telling you – are you genuinely happy to see clients over the holidays? Or would you really prefer some time off so you can recharge and start the New Year fresh?
Your Holiday Plans
Regardless of whether or not you want to see clients over the holidays, your holiday plans and the plans of your family may dictate your decision. If you are traveling to another city or traveling abroad, it may not be realistic to continue to see clients.
Keep in mind that especially if you are traveling, it’s not generally a good idea to schedule clients the day after you get back. Inclement weather this time of year often prevents road travel or results in canceled flights. Give yourself at least an extra day or two in between travel plans and client days.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from fellow therapists about taking time off at Christmas is that it’s already a time of year when money can feel tight, and taking time away from clients only increases that stress.
You can read this article called “Planning for the Unexpected” to get my tips on planning financially for time off.
Lastly, and this isn’t a requirement, but simply a nice ‘to-do’, you might consider the needs of your clients in deciding whether or not to take time off during the holidays.
Do you work with a client population who experiences a greater degree of distress and dysregulation? Are your clients used to seeing you on a very regular basis and might have a difficult time not having sessions for a few weeks? Do you have any clients for whom the holidays are a particularly difficult time in their life and you taking time off might leave them feeling abandoned? It’s not that you’re going to sacrifice your plans or your well-being to prioritize the needs of your clients, but at the very least, knowing this can help you plan in advance, have constructive conversations with your clients, and help put some measures in place during your time off that will leave them feeling more supported.
If you work with a client population that is more regulated and could potentially benefit from a few weeks off from therapy themselves, that will likely make your decision a whole lot easier. Many of my clients enjoy the break I offer over the holidays because they themselves are traveling or have family visiting, and they can use the financial break to put towards extra holiday expenses.
There are several factors to consider anytime you make a decision in private practice. At the end of the day, you’ll need to balance your needs with the needs of your family, and those of your clients.
If you need extra support through the decision-making process of best practices in your business, feel free to book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consultation to see how I can support you.