Relaxing in the hammock at the beach under a tree, summer day. Barefoot man laying in hammock, looking on a lake, inspiring landscape

Maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of self-care. But what does “self-care” really mean? Basically, self-care is anything you do on a regular basis to improve your well-being.

That includes reducing stress. Having a plan to satisfy your mental and physical needs is a great way to prevent stress. That’s important, because stress can lead to illness, exhaustion, mood changes and poor concentration, among other things. 

Your self-care plan should suit your unique needs. Studies suggest a holistic approach to self-care works best. That means paying attention to the physical, spiritual, social, mental and emotional aspects of your life. As a start, you can always take an online assessment to help identify parts of your life that you may be neglecting. You can find one here.

Here is a seven-step process to develop your self-care strategy:[1]

  1. Write down what you do already to cope with stress
  2. Write down what things you would like to add to your routine
  3. Make a plan
  4. Try to fix things that make it hard for you to use your plan
  5. Make a commitment to yourself
  6. Share the plan with others
  7. Follow through on your plan

There are as many self-care activities as there are people. Make your plan with what you need most in mind. A good place to begin is by adding “universal” self-care activities into your daily life. These include things like:

  • prepping healthy meals
  • exercising
  • getting enough sleep
  • tending to your spiritual needs (meditating, praying, or spending time in nature)
  • hobbies
  • spending time with your family and friends
  • laughing!

Self-Care For Working Parents and “Helping Professionals”

Everyone can benefit from self-care strategies. But some people can be prone to more stress than others. In this post, we’ll focus on self-care strategies for working parents and those we’ll call “helping professionals”.

Helping professionals (such as doctors, nurses, and behavioral health workers) spend their time helping people make healthy choices. This can leave them feeling run down and stressed out. Without good self-care strategies, helping professionals can become less effective. And that makes it harder for them to help out their patients. Self-care plans can prevent this exhaustion and ward off burnout.

What does self-care look like for helping professionals?

There are plenty of things you can do at work to ease stress:

  • Make your workspace comfortable and take regular breaks.
  • Don’t overextend yourself. Set limits with your patients and co-workers.
  • Address problems early, while they’re small. Discuss them with your co-workers before they become a source of stress.
  • During breaks, take your mind off of work. Learn something new, and spend time on hobbies that make you feel good.

If you’re still struggling, consider therapy. A licensed psychotherapist can help give you the tools you need.

Working parents are as busy as it gets! Parenting is tough, and working a full-time job on top of that can be overwhelming. It’s not surprising that self-care might not be the first, second, or third thing on a working parent’s mind.

Family and job responsibilities are important. But they don’t have to get in the way of your taking care of yourself. Practicing self-care will help you to be on the top of your game at work. And it will help you be an even better role model for your kids. Seeing how you value your mental and physical wellness, they’ll grow up to do the same.

What does self-care look like for working parents?

  • Don’t skip meals. Fueling your body is crucial to keep your energy up and your mind sharp.
  • Learn how to say “no” to extra responsibilities. Ask for help with errands.
  • Make time for stress-relieving activities, like reading, gardening, or exercising.
  • Spend some quality time with your partner without the kids. You can help each other recharge.
  • Unplug from your phone and social media for the weekend. Or set a certain time to shut down each night.
  • Use the vacation time you get at work. Take a trip or just a mental health day.

[1]2016, a team of psychologists – Michele Luc, Divine Sebuharara, and Heather Wynkoop-Beach

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