Working in healthcare is an absolute honor and privilege. Caring for others during life’s most monumental moments requires unwavering commitment, selflessness and empathy. Healthcare workers consistently give their all amidst a challenging environment that is extremely fast-paced, demanding and constantly transforming to best meet consumer needs. So what is self-care? Simply put, it’s self-love. It’s consciously taking time to care for yourself, attending to personal well-being.
self-care tips for healthcare professionals
Healthcare professionals are notorious for prioritizing everyone else in their life, family, friends, patients and coworkers, leaving little, if any time at all, for themselves. And so, we compiled this list of 12 simple and impactful ways to introduce self-care into your routine.
1. say ‘NO’
Why is such a small, two-letter word, “no,” so incredibly hard to say? Now, hear us out, we aren’t promoting calling out sick, avoiding a patient’s call bell or stopping all household responsibilities. Quite the opposite. We’re empowering you to find your voice, prioritize yourself and set healthy boundaries within your life. It’s not being selfish, it’s understanding that you are human and have a finite amount of time, energy and resources. If “no” feels too harsh, try saying something like, “I’d love to, but not today,” or “Can we take a rain-check?”
2. embrace alone time
Self-care isn’t always the act of DOING, but rather BEING. Find a moment of pause each day to quiet your mind, collect your thoughts and reflect on all you have achieved. Embrace silence and self-inventory how you’re doing - physically, mentally and emotionally. Whether it’s before you get out of bed in the morning or before you fall asleep, carving out this downtime is important.
Much more than a buzz word, mindfulness is the art of creating space for oneself. Mindful practice is allowing your mind to wander as you focus and appreciate on the here and now. If this feels vague or overwhelming, consider downloading an app to your phone which can help guide you in starting this meaningful self-care activity.
4. get up & move
By exercising, not only are you helping your physical self but your mind too. What may seem like a chore, physical activity is a fundamental principle of self-care. While working, get steps by climbing the stairs, taking a walk with a colleague during breaks or parking your car farther away. When off the clock, stay active by walking, running, yoga or Pilates, swimming or joining an exercise class. Due to COVID, there are tons of great virtual and app-based options.
5. try a new recipe
When was the last time you cooked a meal or baked a dessert… for fun? Experimenting with a new recipe can be enjoyable and relaxing. Break open that dusty cookbook, look on Pinterest or scroll through YouTube and find a recipe that sounds delicious, interesting or challenging. Don’t order-in tonight, spending time in the kitchen is great solo or as family bonding time.
6. embark on a new hobby
Don’t wait for New Year’s Resolutions, today’s the day of your new beginning! Take up a new hobby, volunteer, reignite an old passion project, read a book or join a cause that touches your heart. Realistically, hobbies and leisure activities don’t need to be done every day, in fact, you may get a lot of enjoyment in anticipating that special time.
7. a good cup of joe
Self-care doesn’t have to be major events our outings. Sometimes it’s the simple act of enjoying the perfect cup of coffee or tea. Instead of drinking and dashing, challenge yourself to sit down, take a deep breath, wrap your hands around your favorite mug, inhale the relaxing aromas and savor each sip. In those sacred moments, life is good.
8. take a bubble bath
The ultimate “me-time!” Taking a hot shower or drawing a warm bath is a perfect way to destress and care for yourself. Drop in a bath bomb, buy a delicious smelling body wash, light a candle or blast your favorite playlist. For those 20 minutes, you have nowhere to be, so relax and enjoy, you earned it.
9. get organized
When life feels hectic, taking time to organize can help you feel more centered and in-control. Splurge on yourself and invest in a work backpack, one that balances versatility, function and fashion. (yes this is a shameless plug BUT it is truly therapeutic feeling organized and in control!) Methodically think through what you use throughout the day and pack accordingly. Believe us, you’ll love having everything you need at your fingertips next time it feels like your world is spinning out of control (it’s not, just breath).
10. plan that bucket list
For the past year a lot of travel was halted due to COVID. Talk with your partner/family, agree on a bucket list activity or vacation, and PLAN IT! Sometimes it’s planning something new and exciting that brings pure gratification. No judgement here, go ahead… daydream about laying on that Fiji beach, climbing the mountain or cruising around on an epic road-trip. If it brings a smile to your face, it was time well spent.
11. listen to a podcast & chill out
Plug in and check out. There are so many Podcast genres to explore – inspirational, interviews, conversational, comedy, religious, sports, etc. It may not be a traditional self-care technique, but opening your mind to new ideas can be very healthy and rewarding. For added enjoyment, recruit friends or coworkers to listen along and discus over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.
12. embrace the hygge lifestyle
This Danish term, also known as hyggelig, refers to finding comfort, peace and pleasure in simple things. Embrace this well-being lifestyle and cherish spending time with close friends, feel contentment within yourself and create a warm and cozy environment. Sometimes simple is best.
self-care is a journey
Self-care isn’t something you can turn on or off. It’s a journey that begins with awareness and determination. If it’s important to you, you will find the time to do it. So, start slow, pick 1-2 items on this list to work into your schedule and then over time try adding different approaches to see what works for you. The time is now to put yourself first on your to-do list.
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