5 Tips to Keep From Burning Out

OTs, we all feel pressure….productivity requirements, complete CEUs, make sure your work trainings are done, and finish up that looming stack of paperwork on your desk.

What are a few things you can do to get out of the rut and refresh your clinic and sessions?


1) Review your goals and treatment plans with the families. If you’re an outpatient or in-home therapist working from an evaluation or long-term goals, take a few moments to review the goals with the caregivers. Discuss progress on each goal and suggest new and updated goals for the child. I’ve been working on a treatment plan for a while only to realize I’ve forgotten what the original goals were…..don’t judge, I know I’m not the only one ūüôā

One of the biggest things I can share as a mom having been on the other side of therapy is that our family goals and areas of importance are constantly evolving. The sensory profile I filled out a few months ago may look totally different now. The truth is, life gets in the way and we lose focus of the problems and desires as new things pop up and old things improve and change.


2) Bring out an old piece of equipment. The back of every therapy closet is packed with dusty equipment that’s been forgotten about. One of the most fun sessions I’ve done is asking one of my older female students to help me re-organize the therapy shelves. She worked on using building hand strength using a label maker and fine motor by peeling off the sticker. We both loved the function of the job. Mom reported that she even went home and helped with the recipe box at home.

Younger clients can choose from a new swing they’ve not used or something as simple as playing a game in a new way. Ask children to bring in a game from home or school to mix it up!


3) Take a mini-course.¬†We often think of full-day courses that cost hundreds of dollars each. Many times, a local clinic such as an exercise studio, YOGA clinic, vision clinic, or even home improvement and craft centers offer free or low-cost clinics. It’s amazing how refreshing it can be to learn a new skill that you can teach to your students. Making and painting a birdhouse inspired me to create a new bird, feather, and seed-themed sensory box too!




Our executive function course is PACKED with activities and treatment ideas to fill your toolbox immediately! This AOTA-Approved master course will change the way you work with children who have attention deficits, behavior concerns, organizational, and learning issues. Great for both outpatient, home, and school therapists of all experience levels. LEARN MORE here.


4) Organize a Facebook or social media chat with a few therapist friends. Ask them what activities they use for fine motor, obstacle courses, etc. I find that sitting in on a co-worker’s session can really refresh my mind! Once, I found one of our therapists using a paper box from a refrigerator. She was doing ALL types of creative activities with it……tunnels, spaceships, and even a sensory corner.

Ask other therapy clinics OR friends if you can shadow them for a day or meet with a group of therapists in your area to share each others’ skills. I love it when therapists in our area get together. Try to meet quarterly if possible. Show an activity to the group in your area of interest. The last time our local therapists met, someone showed us Metronome therapy and we learned activities for timing.


5) Write down your goals, strengths, and weaknesses as a therapist.¬† Take a good look at yourself. Consider how far you’ve come since graduation and where you’d like to go. Why did you choose to become a therapist? What did you think you did especially super last year? What areas would you like to improve upon? This is something that you can keep private if you’d like to. Sometimes, when I reflect on why I became an OT, some of the bureaucracy of insurance, company structure, and other red tape melts away and my heart is full again!

What are your ideas? Share if you’d like!

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