Self Care Strategies

For many people, a hectic pace and a demanding schedule can mean self-care goes to the bottom of the priority list.

It is important to consider your needs and to make them a priority. Consider the direction to apply your own oxygen mask first when on an airplane . . . before we can help anyone else, we must first help ourselves.

Self-care is particularly important for caregivers, who are at greater risk for burnout and compassion fatigue. The nature of life is that stressors arise. Self-care strategies increase resilience when faced with stress. It can also help reduce the physical and emotional impact of stress.

Each provider may have a different way of coping with work-related stresses. Here are practical strategies for preventing and reducing the effects of stress reactions:

Self-Care In Your Daily Routine:

  • Eat sensibly and regularly every day
  • Get adequate sleep each night
  • Exercise regularly
  • Be aware of your stress level; take precautions against exceeding your own limits
  • Acknowledge your reactions to stressful circumstances; allow yourself time to cope with these emotions

Self-Care At Work:

  • Try to diversify tasks at work, or vary your caseload, to the extent that you can
  • Take breaks during your workday
    Take vacation days
  • Use relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing) as needed
  • Talk with colleagues about how your work affects you
  • Seek out, or establish, a professional support group
  • Recognize your personal limitations; set limits with patients and colleagues

Self-Care Outside Of Work:

  • Spend time with family and friends
    Stay connected with others through community events, religious groups, etc.
  • Engage in pleasurable activities unrelated to work, especially those that allow for creative expression (writing, art, music, sports, etc.)
  • Be mindful of your own thoughts (especially cynicism) and feelings; seek out the positives in difficult situations
  • Engage in rejuvenating activities such as meditation, prayer, or relaxation to renew your energy
  • Seek therapy if your work is negatively impacting your self-esteem, quality of life or relationships