Stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, busy, exhausted, experiencing compassion fatigue or burnout? These symptoms are very common and if not treated properly, will impact ones overall mental, emotional, psychological, and physical health. Therefore, engaging in positive self-care, including awareness, balance, flexibility, physical health, having a support system, and spiritual connection (Posluns & Gall, 2020) are all ways to practice wellness.
Positive self-care is essential for everyone; however this blog is going to address mental health practitioners, care workers, and first responders. It is by no surprise that the past year has been challenging to say the least.
It is the expectation and understanding that one would provide empathy, have good healthy boundaries, compassion, and patience with their consumers (Barnett et al. 2007). Although it is often recommended from the practitioners to his or her consumers of the importance of healthy habits, this is often overlooked by the practitioners themselves.
If you are experiencing emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, increased work stress, then you may be experiencing burnout (Clark et al. 2009) or compassion fatigue. Kaeding (2017) reported a rate of 49% of clinical staff experiencing burnout in 2017, thus resulting in a poor quality of life. One could only suspect that within the past year this percentage would be much greater. All the more reason for stressing the importance of self-care.
So, what is self-care? According to Myers et al. (2012), self-care is the “engagement in behaviours that maintain and promote physical and emotional well-being,” (p. 56) which “lessen the amount of stress, anxiety, or emotional reaction experienced when working with clients” (Williams et at. 2010, p. 322) (consumers). Posluns & Gall (2020) expressed the importance of awareness of one’s own needs, being knowledgeable of burnout symptoms, and increased self-reflection.
Some healthy self-care strategies to consider are journaling, hiking or other outdoor activities, mindfulness or meditation, disconnecting from electronics, exercise, healthy eating and sleeping patterns, strong social and personal support networks, and/or having a spiritual connection. Therefore, engaging in self-care will decrease one’s stress and negative symptomatology.
On a personal level, the aforementioned is one of the primary reasons why Just Breathe Salt Spa & Yoga Studio, LLC was established. Needing time to relax, refresh, and renew? You can relax for 45 minutes in our beautiful salt room, choose from 30, 60, or 90 minutes in the flotation tank, or take 10 minutes to relax in the salt and sound booth.
Overall, taking care of yourself and engaging in daily self-care, needs to be a priority. Take care of yourself so you can better serve others, as you love to do. ☺
Barnett, J. E., Baker, E. K., Elman, N. S., & Schoener, G. R. (2007). In pursuit of wellness: The self-care imperative. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38(6), 603–612.
Clark, H. K., Murdock, N. L., & Koetting, K. (2009). Predicting burnout and career choice satisfaction in counseling psychology graduate students. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(4), 580–606.
Kaeding, A., Sougleris, C., Reid, C., Vreeswijk, M. F., Hayes, C., Dorrian, J., & Simpson, S. (2017). Professional burnout, early maladaptive schemas, and physical health in clinical and counselling psychology trainees. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73(12), 1782–1796. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22485.
Myers, S. B., Sweeney, A. C., Popick, V., Wesley, K., Bordfeld, A., & Fingerhut, R. (2012). Self-care practices and perceived stress levels among psychology graduate students. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 6(1), 55–66.
Poslus, K. & Gall, T.L. (2019). Dear mental health practitioners, take care of yourselves: a literature review of self-care. International Journal of the Advancement of Counseling, 42(1-20).
Williams, I. A., Richardson, T. A., Moore, D. D., Gambrel, L. E., & Keeling, M. L. (2010). Perspectives on self-care. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 5, 321–338. https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2010.507700.