Empathy Includes Self-Empathy

As complementary practitioners, our relationship with our clients plays a crucial role in their journey to health and wellbeing.  The time we spend really understanding and working with them hugely enhances the effectiveness of our work.

In the UK, we have the NHS where doctors only have a few minutes to spend with each patient.  They don’t have the time to build relationships with each patient or review the different aspects of the care they need.  Many doctors suffer from patient fatigue where they’ve had their empathy literally knocked out of them over the years.

An empathetic practitioner will put their clients at ease.  To be able to consistently provide compassionate services, you must work from a full cup.  Do you practice what you preach and look after yourself as well as you expect your clients to?

empathy includes self empathy

I’ve definitely been guilty of neglecting myself at times, assuming I can carry on going without topping up my metaphorical cup.  Years of bad food, yoyo dieting, little exercise and crazy working hours took its toll and areas of my health started to suffer.  I’m work in progress, but I’ve finally recognised I have to make myself a priority, or I will be no good to anyone else.


How well do you look after your body?  Are you regularly making time to exercise or include movement into your schedule?  Do you have a good, balanced diet that gives you the fuel you need?  Are you filling your body full of toxins?

Looking after your body will help you feel energised and full of vitality.  What small steps can you take today to improve the way you care for your body?


Stress is a huge problem today.  In my work as a practitioner, my clients are stuck in the flight or fight spiral which is wreaking havoc on their health and lives.  They suffer from debilitating symptoms including poor quality sleep, immune issues, digestive issues and not being able to think clearly and cleverly.  By calming their stress response down, it’s amazing how quickly changes happen and they can turn their lives around.

Identify the best way for you to de-stress and allow your body and brain to re-balance.  I use the Lightning Process when I need it, but I also make time for meditation, reading and getting out into nature with the dogs every day.


If you spend a lot of time working on your own, it can be lonely.  Feeling disconnected from others will deplete your ‘cup’.  I’m fortunate to have a peer supervisor as a practitioner, a business buddy who I meet with on Skype each week for a coffee and I belong to a mastermind community.  Outside of family and friends, this is where I get the support when I need it.

What support networks can you tap into to ensure you feel connected to other people and supported?


Having a purpose in life will keep you motivated and moving forward.  Do you find joy in what you do?  Reminding yourself of your purpose will fire up your energy and help you find the passion to do the work you find more challenging.  If you need help in identifying your passion, look at Simon Sinek’s work on finding your ‘why’, this is at the centre of everything you do.


Do your different environments feel harmonious?  If they’re out of sync with you, they’ll be depleting your energy and emptying your cup.  If there are small practical steps you can take to improve your environment, it is well worth the effort.  Spending 30 minutes sorting out my desk and filing things away will massively increase my productivity and focus.

If there are bigger jobs you can’t do anything about immediately, get all your thoughts out of your head and create a plan of action.  This will free up your headspace from trying to remember and plan everything.  Then use your chosen approach to work on accepting things as they are and letting go of any frustrations with where you currently are.

Changing your environment and spending time in nature is a great way to recharge.  Taking a break and benefitting from the amazing powers nature has to offer is a great way to fill your cup.

What small step can you take today?

If you’re running low in any of these areas, you’re in danger of burning out.  This will affect your ability to be an effective practitioner.  At worst, it could totally stop you from being able to function or work.

self empathy includes self empathyIf you’re feeling really depleted, find a mentor to support you and help you take the steps you need.  Embrace other modalities as well as your own to support your healing.  I use the Lightning Process but I also see my osteopath and medical herbalist when I need to.

What small changes can you make and start re-filling your cup today?

If you struggle in this area, contact me to find out how I can help you.