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