Linzy [00:00:04] There’s this idea of, like, making your life more compelling than work, right? So that your life is actually more interesting and richer and more fulfilling than the work that you’re doing. So for you to have a life that you really enjoy, what are some of the minimums? What are some of the boundaries that you would need to have in place?
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practices and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the Course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today we have a coaching episode with Darya Zuychenko. Darya is actually a student at Money Skills For Therapists who has paused her time in the course. You’ll hear us refer to that in our conversation. She got a month in, life got a little bit too much to get the benefit of the course, so she’s kind of one month in to her time in Money Skills For Therapists and now, a year later, we’re doing this recording together. She is an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and on the road to become an osteopath. And is a clinic owner in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Today, we dig into that kind of classic question of work-life balance, getting into the nitty gritty of how to balance her clients and their specific needs, which can be around, you know, pain and injury and how she balances their needs for treatment with her own needs. But we also spend quite a bit of time exploring what her needs are. Something that we really got into in this conversation is not just kind of a straight, easy idea of work life balance, but starting to understand boundaries. What are her hard boundaries around things? Where does she have some flexibility? What are the things she’s absolutely not willing to compromise on, but also how to make life interesting and compelling enough that she doesn’t want to work. And that’s just something that I see can be a struggle for so many of us as therapists, practitioners, whether we’re manual practitioners or mental health practitioners, is we love our work and we love serving the people that we love. And we have a passion for the healing that we help people do. And it’s very easy for that to start to bleed into our life and take up our time and start to say yes to all sorts of folks. That means that we kind of spend our life working, which is easy to happen, and bend our boundaries a lot because it’s so compelling to work with folks. So we dig into, as well, how to make life more compelling than work so that you don’t just want to work all the time. So if you struggle with saying no to clients or finding balance, this is a great episode for you. Here’s my coaching session with Darya. Darya, welcome to the podcast.
Darya [00:03:11] Hi, Linzy. Thank you so much for having me today.
Linzy [00:03:13] So it is a super pleasure to talk with you again. We were just chatting off mic and saying how you started Money Skills For Therapists a year ago and you took a little pause and you’re about to jump back in, which is like so exciting because it’s been really exciting so far to support you in Money Skills For Therapists. And now we get to have this extra side conversation now for the podcast.
Darya [00:03:33] Absolutely. Yes. And yeah. And it’s a perfect, perfect time. I just this morning basically finished the process that I took the hiatus for. Yeah. And I can actually dedicate the appropriate amount of time and mental energy to it.
Linzy [00:03:47] Love it. Right thing at the right time. I’m a huge believer. So I’m glad you’re coming back at a good time and let’s start to dig into what you want support with today on our coaching podcast session. So what do you want to have more clarity on by the end of our conversation today?
Darya [00:04:02] So I think there’s two big two questions that I’m working with right now, both with getting back into the course and as well as what to do with my general practice. And so they kind of work with each other and really the big questions are how to achieve a work life balance without really falling into one category or the other. So without sort of achieving that, ‘I’ll take a 3-day weekend’ all the time. And as well as feeling comfortable with the amount of money that comes in with those – of course – patient fluctuations.
Linzy [00:04:35] Yes. Okay.
Darya [00:04:37] Our jobs aren’t typically salary, but we can expect a certain amount of income. So how to work with those highs and lows. Oh, and the other question which is going to be how to deal with that kind of perfectionism, both working with things that you can control and kind of just accept the things that you can’t, and find comfort that eventually it’ll work out.
Linzy [00:04:59] Yeah, and it sounds like these things might go together a little bit from what you’re saying, wanting to figure out maybe that perfect balance. So let’s start with that work life balance. That’s kind of like the phrase about it, right? Work life balance piece. So I guess my first question is, what are you noticing is happening with that now? Or if it’s not happening now, what do you worry is going to happen? Kind of what’s the problem for you at this moment?
Darya [00:05:21] For sure. So I have recently chosen to take a very, very flexible schedule in day-to-day life. I noticed that at least at this point in my career having set time, say Monday mornings, wasn’t necessarily fulfilling all the gaps that I knew that other people needed. But I also didn’t want to take every single evening and work. So at the moment I guess am totally fluctuating. If someone needs an evening appointment and I already have someone in a slot and the evening’s already taken for work time, then I add them in there and that’s great, or not. So what I’m noticing happens is that I am noticing I’m building blocks of those times that already exist and then just expanding them to you know an amount of patients are not really comfortable treating in a day like that I give them as much as they can and then sometimes having that fluctuation of one today but nine tomorrow isn’t a great balance.
Linzy [00:06:13] No. Okay. So yeah, so in that quest for flexibility for your clients, you’re actually ending up kind of packing some days and then other days are quiet. So you’re, you’re lacking kind of day to day balance, even in just your client load.
Darya [00:06:23] Exactly. And with coming out of the pandemic, just finished from school and finally no longer paying tuition, all those things. I find it very hard for me to say no to that money that’s about to come in for that hour. And, you know, it’s a challenge to be like, no, no, I’ll set my own boundary for that. I’m going to try to see someone in the following week, whereas I know that I can do it. It’s just that, what’s healthy for me, and I think that’s the struggle that I’m finding.
Linzy [00:06:49] Yes, because I mean, in terms of a starting point, it’s kind of like, in a way, if we started at the ideal and worked backwards. My question for you – and this is a gut question and I think for context, Darya, for folks listening, tell folks about the type of work that you do, because that’s also, I think, part of this equation. What is the type of work that you do?
Darya [00:07:05] Absolutely. So right now, I work as a registered therapist, registered acupuncturist, and this morning I actually finished my case report thesis for osteopathy. So again, it’s a manual therapy-based thing. So it’s fairly physically demanding and I have to be very mentally, emotionally and physically present for people.
Linzy [00:07:26] Yes. Okay, that’s important context because it’s, I mean, for for mental health therapists, we know what the limits are in terms of our like emotional limits of the day. You feel the difference in that first session when you’re like fresh ready to go. And that last one when you’re like, I’m not really – this is not the best me. And so you’re going to have versions of that too. But yours also involves your physical body and the physical effort. Okay. So I’m going to ask you a question that’s very much I want a gut answer from you, and that is, what is your ideal amount of clients to see in one day?
Darya [00:07:52] Five.
Linzy [00:07:52] Five is great. Okay. And why? How do you know five is great?
Darya [00:07:55] Because I know that when I have four, I’m like, that was great, but it feels like an easier day.
Linzy [00:08:00] That’s a light day? Okay.
Darya [00:08:02] Yep. And I definitely know that six, with the cleaning breaks with of course cleaning protocols, all those things with that half an hour gap of charting and everything else. Six people in a day really works out to being about between 8 to 9 hours. I know that that’s quite a bit.
Linzy [00:08:16] That’s a long day.
Darya [00:08:16] And so I think five was tends to be a sweet spot.
Linzy [00:08:20] So five is your sweet spot and then what is your ideal amount of clients in a week?
Darya [00:08:25] Probably between 20 and 25.
Linzy [00:08:27] So 20 to 25. So I mean, just very quickly, if we mapped that out, you know, 20 to 25, that would be 4 to 5 days of like five client days.
Darya [00:08:36] Yes.
Linzy [00:08:37] Would kind of be like that ideal scenario if everybody lines up well. Okay. Okay. And in terms of the finances, from what you know of your financial picture. Financially, is that a sweet spot for you or are you able to get it by on a little bit less? Do you need a little bit more?
Darya [00:08:53] In a perfect world, where all bills are covered for both myself, all bills are covered for the clinic, there’s ability to save any kind of investments, whether I want the machine to perform or to hire on someone to do some work, or whatever. Ideally, probably I would say 30. But I also think, if I’m being really honest, I think that the 30 is more of not to hit rough boundaries. And I think that 30 is like a very comfortable surplus versus I think it’s doable at 25, just a little bit more tension.
Linzy [00:09:23] Right. Okay. So 30 would give you lots, but 25 would probably give you enough.
Darya [00:09:26] Yes.
Linzy [00:09:27] Yes. Okay. Okay. So, I mean, the number 25 has now come up twice. So that seems to be like a good indicator of it’s within your range of your sweet spot. It’s kind of the outer edge of your treatment sweet spot. And financially it also ticks a box in terms of being probably enough for a given week. So that 25, Darya, I’m curious right now, how close are you to hitting that 25 a week, even though people are distributed differently? How close are you to that?
Darya [00:09:51] I’m actually I’m pretty good. I’m about 20 to 25, actually.
Linzy [00:09:58] Great. Okay. So it’s not that you don’t have enough folks to fill those spots, maybe, but you’re moving them around.
Darya [00:10:04] Yes.
Linzy [00:10:06] Okay. Yes. Okay.
Darya [00:10:08] If I’ve got a whole family of four people that just dropped off, that I’m not going to see for few weeks.
Linzy [00:10:12] Yes.
Darya [00:10:13] They’re gone for a little while.
Linzy [00:10:15] You mean because they have COVID.
Darya [00:10:16] Yes. Exactly.
[00:10:16] Yes. We’re at that phase of the pandemic where everybody’s just getting it now. Okay. So, yeah. And this is what I’m hearing and curious about is like it seems like there’s a bit of scarcity fear, right. Which is leading you to be very flexible with your schedule where you’re like, I’ll just stack them in after that other person who’s already kind of later in the day and all. So you’re really like piling folks in where you can fit them into your schedule. Tell me more about the thoughts that come up when you think about just having spots and saying to folks, you know, I don’t I have this Monday morning spot or we’re looking at like next Thursday.
Darya [00:10:47] It definitely brings up a fear of like, if they can’t wait until next Thursday, then, you know, will they find someone else? Will they try to book in to different therapists? And if that brings them relief, that’s awesome, but also, I think part of the fear as well is that if that therapy isn’t what they need and now they’ve potentially gone and started looking for treatment, that may not be necessarily what they’re expecting or what they’re hoping and then potentially having to address that the next time that they come in. Yeah, I think that’s a that’s an issue.
Linzy [00:11:15] And tell me, why is that an issue? Like, what does that mean if they do see someone else and it’s not the right course of treatment?
Darya [00:11:19] I think particularly with people that have really, really chronic pain or really chronic conditions, where we sort of manage it as much as we can in day to day life rather than the acute, you know, sprained ankle kind of thing. Often people, again, coming out of the pandemic with different mental health concerns if they’re sort of butting up against not having hope for treatment or if – depending on the therapist – if they’re not listened to very, very well, and not really taken in as the individual coming with the problem, rather than just the problem itself. Yeah. I just worry about them not having a great, healthy experience, especially if they reach out to me and I sort of put my needs at that moment before theirs.
Linzy [00:11:58] So I’m hearing, you know, like a lot of care for the folks that you support and a lot of maybe like a sense of responsibility of making sure that they have the right type of treatment, that, you know, you’re providing them available when they need it and protecting them from maybe having a bad experience somewhere else.
Darya [00:12:13] Totally. Or referring them to specific people that I have seen or I have experienced that I know that they’re great and other people have, you know, resonated with that experience and say, yes, this was what I was expecting. This was – this helped or it didn’t, but for expected reasons, rather than like, you know, coming in and not being heard, not being seen or being cared for.
Linzy [00:12:34] Right. Okay. Okay. So that kind of sense of responsibility for your clients, that care that you have, that like ‘want to make sure their needs are met’, I’m hearing like that’s kind of over here, and that seems like that’s part of the driving force of wanting to make sure that you get them in. Right, because you want to make sure that they’re getting the treatment they need. On the other side is kind of the situation you’re ending up in, which is having lots of folks piled into a day. So tell me about that side of it. What’s it like for you if you do treat nine folks in a day?
Darya [00:13:00] It’s a funny balance at that moment because when I look at it in the morning, like, it feels very overwhelming, like prep for like a marathon day. Right. You bring your snacks. You bring your-
Linzy [00:13:12] Yes.
Darya [00:13:12] You make sure that there’s coffee somewhere in the building. But it’s also one of those things when you’re like really on a roll, like, it’s okay. Like you’re just going from one thing to another and it feels like you’re really in the zone, which is good.
Linzy [00:13:25] Totally.
Darya [00:13:26] It’s not really being in that day that’s the challenge. I think it’s the desire of, will I have enough energy for that day? You know, like if it’s on a Monday and I’m looking at my schedule and I see Thursday is absolutely slammed, it’s kind of that lead up anxiety of, ‘it’s a big day’, will I have a good sleep the day before?
Darya [00:13:42] Yeah.
Darya [00:13:43] Are the people that are coming in coming in with things that I’m already expecting to treat them with? Like, you know, you have the people that come in for typically a standard issue that you’re working with and you’re not really ready for a curveball to be thrown. So I feel like it’s also an issue of what to expect in that day and that anxiety that, if something goes totally off the rails, how is the rest of the day?
Linzy [00:14:04] Yeah, because that day is kind of like an event.
Linzy [00:14:06] Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Linzy [00:14:10] So, I mean, with that, I guess one question is kind of like, what is the cost of that event to you? Like, are you able to do that more than once a week? Is once a week okay? Like what happens? How are you after that kind of day?
Darya [00:14:25] I feel like I recover pretty well? Like I don’t feel like the next day is really affected. Like, as you know, I have good food in the evening. I have a good sleep. I do some wind down stuff like that. I think it’s more – and this is I feel quite unrelated to work actually, I feel like it’s my own life aspect of this of, you know, it’s becoming slightly nicer weather. I’ve just come out of this this period of time of just being in school for like ten years and writing this thing and all that stuff where I’m finally beginning to understand the freedom of being an adult.
Linzy [00:14:56] Yes. No longer a student. That’s nice.
Darya [00:14:59] Exactly. Yes. Yes. The freedom of just working rather than being in school and everything else. And I think those days, while they’re great and and I do feel awesome that I was able to help some people or at least put them on the right track for something else. Those are days that feel like they’re not mine. Like I don’t feel like I’m getting anything done for me in that. And so it gives me a bit of stress that the following day, that I have to accomplish the mandatory adult things, right? Whether it’s dishes or laundry or whatever, as well as self-care things if I want to read or draw or write.
Linzy [00:15:32] Yeah, because it almost seems like that day, and I don’t know if this language will resonate with you, but it’s kind of like you didn’t exist in your own life that day.
Darya [00:15:38] That’s exactly it. Yes. Yeah.
Linzy [00:15:40] And so with that, like, I mean, there’s a couple of ways that we can think about this. We can construct your ideal. Right, and think about like, what would it take for you to like hold to your ideal? And how do you also work in things like emergency spots for folks who might be in pain? That’s always an option. So we’ll come to that in a second. But the other thing that I think about is understanding kind of like your flexible boundaries versus your hard boundaries. Like where can you flex for clients? Because maybe they are really in pain and you do need to be fit in. And I had a discussion with my own osteopath about this, actually talking about business and osteopathy. And like when you have that person who’s like your star client who also send you all their friends, and they’re in terrible pain. You say yes to them, you make it work. You show up on Saturday morning, right? Like it’s understanding that this is a relationship. And also as a business, you want to be taking really good care of the folks who are your kind of star clients, but at the same time, saying like, where’s your hard stop? Where you’re like, okay, now I’m costing myself something that I’m not willing to give up.
Darya [00:16:39] That’s actually a really great point. Yeah. And I don’t think I possibly just aware enough of where that actual effect for for me.
Linzy [00:16:49] Yeah. And that’s something that I encourage you to start to be curious about. Curiosity is like my one of my things. Is starting to just be curious and notice like, okay, I had one nine-client day this week and I didn’t feel like I exist in my own life. And it was kind of like an event, but it also felt good in its own way. And then just start to notice like, how did I feel the next day? How did I feel the day after that? Would I be able to do that again in the same week, or is that a boundary? Is that like something that I can do one day a week while in practice building? I’ll push myself, but no more than that, right? Starting to be curious about like where those hard lines are, where it’s like, okay, I might overextend myself one day a week, but that’s it. Right. And I’m curious, as you’re hearing me talk about it, do you have any kind of numbers or conditions rise up that, you know, is like a hard boundary? Where it’s like no more than X?
Darya [00:17:37] Yes, I would definitely say – it’s funny, actually, what comes up is that it’s a boundary of the ratio of acupuncture and/or osteo style treatments that I do.
Linzy [00:17:49] That make sense.
Darya [00:17:51] Like possible Swedish massage that I would do.
Linzy [00:17:54] Yes.
Darya [00:17:55] I know that a day of like 8 pure massage therapy treatments in a row, I don’t think is very great for my hands, for long term or even for just a day.
Linzy [00:18:04] I bet not. Yeah.
Darya [00:18:05] I think I can have a really good balance. I feel comfortable that if I had an acupuncture, an osteo, and a massage, and then a massage, and then a couple acupunctures, like it would give me enough break in the day and variety for my brain not to kind of get into just to look at everyone’s diaphragm, for example, whether or not that’s what they’re coming in for, but not to get biased, I find it and just kind of go with the thing that’s been the theme of the day.
Linzy [00:18:29] Okay. So it sounds like some variety.
Darya [00:18:32] Yes. Variety is good.
Linzy [00:18:33] Okay. And so that’s something that I would encourage you to sit down and almost write out for yourself. When I say almost write out, I mean actually. Write. In a day, what is your limit of, like Swedish style massage that you do? You know, how many of those are you willing to do a day before it’s like, nope, this is not worth it for my hands. This is not going to be sustainable for my career. This is where I draw the line. What is kind of an ideal mix that you’re trying to accomplish that you can keep in mind as you’re scheduling folks in, to construct days that meet your needs to as you go.
Darya [00:19:04] Right.
Linzy [00:19:04] And then the other idea that we had just talked about for a second here is this idea of emergency spots. Do you have any system like that right now in your practice?
Darya [00:19:13] That’s the day of the nine.
Linzy [00:19:19] That’s a long emergency.
Darya [00:19:20] Yes. That was the original day of like seven. And then the one person who’s like trying to go into labor can you induce me? Sure I can, come in at nine. No big deal. And then the person who’s like, I need to drive wherever and I can’t move my neck. 7:30 it is. And that’s how you end up with a big day. So I think it’s not a great strategy. Something that I did think of when you said that about the boundary, I also wonder – when we started this conversation, it was about how many are comfortable in a week – and I think maybe having a boundary for a week.
Linzy [00:19:50] Mm hmm. Yeah.
Darya [00:19:51] Is also helpful idea. Not to freak out if I only see two people on Monday and not to be concerned that that’s going to be the rest of the week with that variety and flexibility. If I am within a comfortable zone, I think of meeting my weekly goal, I think I might be a little bit more comfortable as well, saying like, how acute is this? Is this something that has to be dealt with today? Can I maybe talk to someone home care, something about it, whether it’s a stretch, whether it’s icing, whether it’s a certain technique that they can do at home. Kind of let them chill out for a couple of days. So maybe even having it like a weekly goal.
Linzy [00:20:26] Yeah. Because within a week, it can kind of balance itself out if you have some quieter days, like if you’re a busy day at the beginning, but some quieter days later, that kind of balances out within the time frame for you.
Darya [00:20:36] Yeah. Yeah.
Linzy [00:20:38] And then for the idea of like emergency sessions that are actually planned into your week, not just piled into a given day, if that is something that you think could be helpful. What days do you think that those like emergency spots would make sense to put on, just knowing your clients and what tends to happen?
Darya [00:20:55] I think if it’s Friday night or Monday nights, it’s definitely an evening slot because, as I’m sure you know, the majority of people are 9 to 5 people. Right. So and a lot of them have flexibility in the evenings rather than two o’clock in the afternoon. I guess the flipside of that, too, is that if it is an emergency thing, maybe prior to –
Linzy [00:21:13] That, that’s when I was just going to say. Is it really an emergency? If they could work all day and then see you at night? And that can be kind of the spirit of the spot, right? Is that it’s like for folks who really do need it and those folks will make it work to come in at 1:00 if they’re in pain. I almost put my back out a few weeks ago and I knew what was happening because it’s happened four years ago. But now I have a toddler and I can’t afford to lie in bed crying for several days anymore. I don’t have time for that shit. So as soon as I felt it, of course, I just got in the car because I’m 38 years old. And that’s what happens when you’re 38.
Darya [00:21:46] Yeah. You sneeze the wrong way and it’s over.
Linzy [00:21:48] Yes, that’s it. I knew that it was coming. And so we contacted my old osteopath who happened through a pure miracle to have a spot that day and I will tell you, I would have canceled anything to show up for that appointment because that’s a real emergency. Right. And so something that I would encourage you to just be aware of is making sure that your clients are taking their concerns as seriously as you are. And like that you’re not putting yourself out if they’re not willing to put themselves out in some way. Right. There’s this thing in mental health therapy we talk about, like, don’t work harder than your clients.
Darya [00:22:21] Oh, that’s brilliant.
Linzy [00:22:22] Yeah. So, you know. If you want to make sure that you’re not overspending yourself, making sure that they’re also being flexible and respecting your time and boundaries so you can meet in the middle and you can give them the help that they need, but you’re not putting yourself out while they’re just kind of having a normal day.
Darya [00:22:39] That makes perfect sense actually. And you’re totally right. Like I definitely in the past, if I put something wrong, particularly where I so much use my body in my job, right? I’ve definitely come to people and said like we’ll see any like my handful, my team of practitioners that I see that like keep me going. I definitely have re-scheduled people for me to be able to, you know, to see care so that my cup is filled so I can help them.
Linzy [00:23:02] We prioritize things. If it’s really a priority, we make it happen.
Darya [00:23:05] Yes, absolutely. I think there’s a disconnect in my head of what my hands or my body needs versus like with these things needs.
Linzy [00:23:12] Yes. Yes. So the other piece of this equation then, is the life part of work life balance. So that’s something I’d also encourage you to start to be curious about is like, what is your minimum? You’re like, no less than this for your life. What do you need to see in your life, Darya, to like enjoy yourself, feel fulfilled, have meaning. There’s this idea of, like, making your life more compelling than work, right? So that your life is actually more interesting and richer and more fulfilling than the work that you’re doing. So for you to have a life that you really enjoy, what are some of the minimums? What are some of the boundaries that you would need to have in place?
Darya [00:23:51] More time for myself, whatever that looks like. Right. Like whether it’s a delightful bath, whether it’s touching the piano that I haven’t touched in a very long time. Any of those things. Relationships with people are not quite as one-sided. And of course, like as I’m sure it’s probably the same in your work where it’s very one sided, where you kind of it’s all about in that whatever type of work you have.
Linzy [00:24:15] That’s what you’re there for.
Darya [00:24:16] Which I’m beyond thrilled to do. But I think it’s also important in my life to have relationships, whether it’s friends or other relationships, to have it be really dual, rather than me sort of having to naturally stay in work state. Yes. Yeah. So I think it’s that. I think it’s freedom and control for like, what I want to do in that moment, like my work is work. We don’t all want to be at work at 9:00 on Monday morning, but we’re going to be because we have to. But I think it’s the difference of if I want to spend the weekend doing my own thing, I can do that. Or if I have that desire and flexibility to do something with somebody else or go on a mini trip or do whatever, I have that control, that kind of ‘what I want to do is my my driving force’ rather than because someone’s available to do it. Similarly to work. If someone’s available to come in at 1:00, they’re going to. Versus what I want to do.
Linzy [00:25:06] So it sounds like really consciously putting the things into your life that you enjoy, making sure you’re doing them, even if somebody else doesn’t happen to be available, seeking those balanced relationships as well, like having more of those dual interactions. And what I would encourage you to think about, and maybe as you’re doing your boundary setting, writing that out for your practice, then think about the other side. So like what is maybe your minimum amount of evenings you want to be home a week? If time of day is important to you or minimum amount of mornings that you start late, like we all have kind of like our sweet spots where we’re like, Oh, it’s nice to be home in the morning, it’s nice to be home in the evening. It’s nice to go out, go for lunch, or do yoga. How about a break in the middle of the day, whatever that looks like for you? What are your minimums around that kind of self-care? But then also, what are the components you want to add into your life so that you also have a reason to want to leave work?
Darya [00:25:51] Yes.
Linzy [00:25:52] Right. So you’re like, oh, well, Tuesday night I could squish in is client who’s really not actually being super flexible and I could fit them in at 7 p.m. But I don’t really want to because I’m actually going to see this like great concert with a friend and like, I’ve been looking forward to it for two weeks. Right. And so thinking about also like, what are the things you add into your life to make it exciting and to make you want to stop working and go and just be a human who’s enjoying her adulthood and not being a student?
Darya [00:26:16] Yes, absolutely. Actually, that brought up a wonderful point. If I have something pre committed, I won’t cancel unless I’m in the hospital. So last week was a very particularly odd week because all of the concerts in town happened to happen that I had tickets for for like three years. All of them were like Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, whatever. And because they were already there, that was a non-flexible boundary for me. Right? I wasn’t going to cancel a friend up who I was going to go to a concert with who was relying on me for transport or whatever. But I think if I was choosing to like go upstairs and watch Suits all day long, I feel like I would have put people in. I think if I had an outside commitment, I would be more likely to to hold up that boundary like I think is really important to me.
Linzy [00:27:02] Yeah. And that’s good to know about yourself. Like, you’re probably more externally motivated if, if you told somebody you’re going to show up, then you’re going to show up for that. Whereas like it sounds like for you, maybe just like time by yourself is not going to be as compelling.
Darya [00:27:13] Yes. Yeah. And I think it’s because I’m more accountable to other people than I would be for myself. Like the worst thing that happens if I, for me, right now, what I’m trying to work on is that for right now, if I don’t get my evening time, self time, self-care or whatever and I just like go to bed early, I went to work early and rested it didn’t fill my soul, but like it was fine. I think I’m trying to create a harder boundary for for me to follow, even if someone’s there or not.
Linzy [00:27:39] Yeah. And some of that might be, you know, figure out ways that commitments to yourself, that either it’s something that you just like so much, you don’t want to deprive yourself of it. Or there’s maybe some sort of structure that’s still individual and you’d have to think about what that looks like for you. But yeah, also learning how to show up for yourself is what I’m hearing would be a nice priority as well.
Linzy [00:27:56] Yes, absolutely.
Linzy [00:27:57] Then the very last piece, we don’t have too much time left together, but I just want to name the perfectionism about this. I’m curious, how can you stay out of perfectionism when it comes to your schedule and your boundaries and let yourself kind of figure it out as you go.
Linzy [00:28:12] I feel comfortable with very big blocks of time for me. If I have an evening off at the moment, that means that like 430, I’m done. Therefore, 5pm and on is completely and truly my time and generally, in like if it’s 5pm and my time, I feel like I’m like, yeah, I can go to the movies, I have time for this or I can take a nap and then do something else versus if I’m done at like 6:30 or 7 in the evening, then 2 hours I will accomplish nothing and yet also not doing anything for me either. And I feel like that’s where that perfectionism line comes in, where I’m, I’m already working. I’ll just put in another patient.
Linzy [00:28:48] Right. I see. Because that time is not going to be productive or worthwhile. So you might as well do something.
Darya [00:28:55] For sure. Yeah. Like if I have someone at, like, 10:30 in the morning, I’m like, I don’t really have a lot of time to do anything in my day, versus if I start my day at 3, I’m like Oooh I’ve got 6 hours. I can go to the gym and do laundry. That’s my perfectionism issue.
Linzy [00:29:09] Yeah, it sounds so it sounds almost like a little bit like perfectionism around productivity and about what is like a useful amount of time. Right. Like 6 hours is useful. You can get a lot done in 6 hours, but like an hour and a half, it’s like, eh, might as well work.
Darya [00:29:23] Yes, that’s exactly. Yeah.
Linzy [00:29:25] So that would be another thing to start to think about is how else can you think about your time? Is your time really just about accomplishing things now?
Darya [00:29:37] It shouldn’t be like when you said that, I was like, I can make a list of like five minute tasks that I can accomplish. That’s not it.
Linzy [00:29:44] Yeah, that’s. That’s not it. That’s not it. So it’s just something to kind of notice and notice when it pops up. Because in some ways what I’m hearing is you are prioritizing being useful, right? In this case, it’s easier to be useful to somebody else if they’re like, Oh, can you squeeze me in at 930 and you already have a 1030? You’re like, Yeah, sure, I could. I could squeeze you in for an appointment because that’s useful and I’m not going to use that time. How else you can think about the value of time besides being useful or productive?
Darya [00:30:09] Anything for me, whether it’s breath, whether it’s like literally anything, whether it’s exercise, meditation, oh my god – enjoying the sun – we haven’t had the sun in like a week here.
Linzy [00:30:18] The sun is great, eh? Darya and I are both Canadian, by the way, we live way too far north. It’s not great.
Darya [00:30:24] Yeah, no, it’s just rain all of the time here. Rain and wind. Yeah, things for I mean, as I said earlier, like enjoyment of life, like enjoyment of just being an adult. And I love the work piece to just be a third of my life. Rather than the whole thing and then bedtime.
Linzy [00:30:41] Yeah. So in a sense that’s kind of at least an energetic ratio to be aiming for is like work is a third of your life, which notably is not even half. It’s like you want work to be less than kind of half of how you think about or experience yourself. So then it’s starting to dig into these other ways of how how to make life rich. What do you want to be adding in? What starts to build out the rest of your life so that you’re not tempted to creep up that third of work to start take over the rest of your your time and your energy?
Darya [00:31:07] Yeah, that’s exactly it. Yeah. I think part of it too. Once you said that, it occurred to me that if my chunk of time that’s my chunk of time that I don’t think is equal to potentially helping someone else or another person. I think I will value that more than currently what is my me-time. Or that third or two thirds actually of what I want.
Linzy [00:31:32] Right. Yeah. And you’ll value it more because if like how you’re relating to it or treating it, is that what you mean?
Darya [00:31:37] Yeah, yeah.
Linzy [00:31:38] Yes. Darya, coming to the end of our conversation today, what are you taking away?
Darya [00:31:43] A lot, actually. I know you’ve given me a lot of really good examples and tools of how to actually set my boundary, like enforcing will be a whole separate situation, but how to actually set them both with being flexible day to day, and also having a broader picture of not being stressed out one day or the other. And that really I don’t – you know how like when you’re a kid and you think your school teacher only exists at school and you see them at the grocery store?
Linzy [00:32:11] Right?
Darya [00:32:11] It occurred to me that I need to start thinking of my own self as existing outside of the clinic, versus the time that I spend actually in it.
Linzy [00:32:19] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.
Darya [00:32:22] Thank you so much for helping me. I’m actually so excited to implement these things.
Linzy [00:32:25] Awesome.
Linzy [00:32:39] In my conversation with Darya, it stuck out to me when she stopped and reflected on how she didn’t necessarily know exactly what some of her boundaries are. So if you’re finding yourself in a similar situation to Darya and you’re finding that you’re ending up working longer days than you want or seeing more clients than you want to. A great starting point is just stopping to ask yourself, What are my limits? You know, we talk in this episode about the kind of hard limits versus where there’s some flexibility or ideal kind of mixes that you want to see. But just start to really start with you and your needs. What is your maximum for the week? What is your ideal amount? What is your sweet spot amount where you see all your clients, you finish your day, you feel like that was a good full day – as Darya said, it wasn’t a light day – you know, she said four felt light, five felt like a full day. That’s her number. But you still have energy to go and have a life. So that’s part of it, is like setting those boundaries. But then this other piece that we talked about I think is actually equally as important, which is we need to have a reason to want to leave work. Right. So adding things into your life that are interesting, that add texture, whether you’re into art or music or sports or movies. Right. Or having dinner with friends, going out to a café. Like what are the things that, once you have that on your calendar, you are in no way going to compromise that and sacrifice that for a client because that is your life and that is what makes life rich and meaningful. And you are going to naturally prioritize that because that is what you love. Adding more of those things into our life makes it much more natural to set boundaries because we actually want to leave work because we have something that we want to do. So that’s something that I find can be very helpful, is not just like where we say no, but what are we saying yes to that makes life enjoyable and makes us want to stop working. It’s also very easy to want to override our boundaries for the sake of our clients. But of course, in the air and my conversation with Darya is the fact that it does make the work unsustainable. You know, in this case, because she’s doing largely manual practices, there’s a physical limit there, you know, but if you’re also doing mental health therapy, there’s a limit there as well. And when we override that, we’re actually putting the long term ability of us to do this work at risk. And as much as we think that we’re doing folks favors in the short term, of course, in the long term, we’re starting to deplete our ability to be as effective as we want to be. And so many folks who push themselves for too long end up having to take time off or leave the profession. So being clear with yourself about where your boundaries are from the beginning just helps you set yourself up to stay in your career and enjoy it for a good long time. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at Money Nuts & Bolts. I share practical and emotional private practice finance content on there all the time. And of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is the best way for therapists and practitioners to find me. Thanks for listening.