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Self-care for Recovery Coaches

Recovery coaching is such a rewarding career but it requires us to give a lot of ourselves. Here's how to make sure you are taking care of yourself...

Anyone who has flown on an airplane and listened to the flight attendant before takeoff has been cautioned what to do in the event the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling: Put on your own mask first before trying to help someone else. Helping yourself first is a principle that applies directly to recovery coaching, if you’re gasping for air, you can’t help other people. 

If you neglect your own mental, physical and spiritual self-care eventually you will run out of ’oxygen’ and be unable to effectively help your clients. You need to ensure you are replenishing your vital life sources.

As recovery coaches we are all too familiar with self-care, even teaching it to our clients, yet often we can find it difficult to practice what we preach in this area. However, if you ignore your own needs you may find yourself burning out quickly in this industry. The trick is finding the balance between staying attuned to your clients whilst maintaining a strong and deep connection to your own inner experience.

First and foremost it is important to recognise signs that might be indicating stress, unprocessed trauma or burnout in ourselves. Start with a:


  • More days/sessions with clients feeling bad than good
  • Feeling irritated about clients more often than not
  • Low energy levels
  • Viewing the world and people as unsafe
  • Losing your sense of humour
  • Feeling regularly unwell physically 
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to focus 

If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to take some time to process what might be going for you and how to resolve it. One way of keeping a good check on yourself is by participating in peer support groups such as the monthly IRSI Alumni Event (held at 7pm CET on the last day of each month on Zoom).

Making room for life

Balance is the key to life and as Recovery Coaches it is vital that we find this balance in all areas including, work and play, giving and receiving and doing and resting. Ensure you are nourishing yourself with good nutrition and movement/exercise - especially when you are on a live-in job. Learn the simple ways that work for you to nourish yourself throughout the day. They can include:

  • Taking a walk
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Conscious breathing
  • Yoga
  • Listening to music
  • Reading

Ensure that you make time to rest. If you are working on a live-in job it is always advisable to take off half the time that you have been on a job once the job is completed (e.g. a one-month job will, take a two week holiday or at least a two week break before your next live-in job).


Make sure that you are maintaining strong boundaries around 

  • Fees (value your worth and let you client know that)
  • Time boundaries 
  • How much time you give to your clients
  • When and how your clients are able to contact you
  • Turning phone/emails off when on holiday or resting


One of the most vital ways of taking care of yourself as a recovery coach is to engage in supervision. Especially when you are working with a challenging client or on a long-term live-in job. Supervision will keep you in check mentally and emotionally and remind you that you are not alone. It can also be one of the best things you can do for your client.

IRSI offer supervision session with Janique or another member of the IRSI team, you just need to email to set up a session.

Blog Post written by:
Mel Curtis
Executive Assistant