Being a woman in today’s workface is a superpower. Women are voluntold undertake the duty of becoming or being entrusted with caring for others’ emotions. It becomes an unspoken oath to ensure that nothing gets in the way of helping clients and their families in treatment. We seldomly take the time to self-regulate or check-in with ourselves until we are close to burnout. Working in such a fast-paced society where we have normalized instant gratification can is emotionally draining; therefore, self-care is imperative. Just as pilots are regulated, it is our responsibility to ensure they are well-rested to prioritize self-care despite the population we are working with to avoid burnout. Engaging in self-care should be prioritized on our to-do list to avoid the consequences attached to postponing it, otherwise we will be forced to deal with the short-term but long-term effects.
Extending self-care into the workplace
Self-care should be standardized by employers not limited to weekly supervision, staff meetings, etc, but extending it beyond. Developing a self-care treatment can look different for everyone and realistically employees may not want to disclose their secular non-work-related activities. However, as supervisors, we can monitor staff, ensuring they are taking the time they need, ensuring that self-care is occurring, that workloads are manageable when a worker is exhibiting signs of burn-out. Allowing our employees, the time to reset when needed is necessary. This is not punitive and should not be viewed in a cost analysis balance but should be viewed as a loving investment. Taking this to a step further, competitive companies would benefit from exploring mental health days should be explored as a benefit apart from PTO/sick time. Many professionals in the health industry usually profess treatment, including self-care, to their clients; however, we need to begin with normalizing self-care as mental health providers. Normalizing especially employees in the at-risk professions for vicarious trauma, can involve engaging in therapy/mental health, check-ins, outside of supervision, or exploring other reasonable wellness-related activities to decrease burnout (Elliot, 2020).
Continuously being exposed to stressful encounters can be emotionally draining. Agencies and environments should have contingencies to oversee both family and worker support, whether it be physical or emotional stress. So how do we practice self-care? Practicing the noun method. The noun method becomes like an equation to help you decide on what you can do for Self-care. Think of what person, place or thing gives you joy allowing you cope with daily stressors. Self-care is an abstract term that can be shaped to fit anyone’s specific needs. Using the noun method and the idea that it is abstract, we can conclude spending time with a person is a method of self-care, visiting a place like the beach for an early morning sunrise or getting our hair done. The end result should always leave us with a good feeling, If this is not the case we need to re-evaluate, is this our self-care, did we go have our self-care at the wrong time i.e. crowded time.
10 Self-Care tips
- Battling Self-care guilt. Often times we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. Overcoming this will be the first step.
- Try it until you find it! You may not get your go to self-care right away. The takeaway is how do you feel when engaging in it and how do you feel after? Keep trying different things and do not be afraid to mix it up.
- Start off small. Setting unrealistic goals or self-care expectations will leave us feeling bad if we are not able to follow through.
- Self-care looks different for everyone, it is meant to be abstract. i.e., buying a coffee -Saying NO to people, screaming or singing in your car, dancing things out, etc.
- Parting ways with an empty cup like relationships. When relationships drain our energy or just take more than we have to give, we have to reevaluate our affiliation to this person.
- Less commitment = increased quality. Includes building extra time between appt, including virtual meetings. From a person who struggles with time management; a trigger would be running late or overbooking.
- Take a break from all thing’s technology. Technology detox can include temporarily or even permanently removing some apps such as email from phones. Having access your email on phone can increase your feelings of anxiety.
- Schedule a YOU day. This can include sleeping in late breakfast/lunch by yourself, getting a mani/pedi. Undoubtedly it is difficult to think of an entire day dedicated to just you. But you can start off small. If we are not voluntarily scheduling “me” life will force it on us without flexibility.
- Treat yourself to your favorite meal. On this day you preferably think ahead of when you will be having this meal. This gives you something to look forward to and is a meal you will not have often. It is a treat.
- Put yourself on time out. When you need a break whether it is 10 minutes or an hour. Walk away, call a friend, ask for help! Removing ourselves will allow us to take a moment to reset.
Promote self-care within your circle especially if you have kids. Your circle needs to match your energy. Inner peace is also affected by those closest to you.