About a year ago, I was forced to leave work due to a medical condition that developed as a result of my inability to provide proper self-care to myself. I spent the past year working diligently toward recovery of my mind and body, leading me toward the practice and understanding of what self-care is and how to use self-care effectively.
What I learned through this experience — and what I hope others are able to learn — is that there is no greater reward than putting time toward “you” and your needs. The most important step in self-care is simply to take care of yourself. The “self” is what defines you from others and makes you unique. In a world where we are surrounded by commitment and obligation it may be challenging to find time for you to exist in an optimal way. As a result, the mind, body and spirit gets absorbed in these obligations and commitments. You may become exhausted or sick. I am sure many of us are familiar with a lifestyle where we always exist for others and not for ourselves. It is my hope that I can share a few basic practices to develop self-care and exist in truly optimal way.
1.) Exercise — Spend approximately 15-20 minutes at least 3X a week to do something physical
(walking, hiking, biking, etc.). Circulation and blood flow is one of the main contributors toward
optimal health. This can also drastically improve one’s mental well-being.
2.) Eat properly — I strongly recommend keeping a food journal or diary. By writing down your meals and how the food makes you feel, you are developing a mindfulness practice which can assist you in moving toward better self-care. Fast foods, processed foods and soft drinks are some of the largest contributors toward poor health. Try to prepare your own meal or purchase food that is fresh and local. A well-balanced diet can lead to a well- balanced life.
3.) Give yourself time – Many of you are very busy between school, work, family, and other
commitments. That is why it is even more important for you to make time for yourself! Specifically, find time where you can be alone. Find what works for you whether it is early in
the morning or late in the evening when you can be with yourself. This time should include limiting distractions like driving, cell phone, using a computer or listening to music. The
more present you can be with your “self” the more easily you will be able to incorporate self-
care into your life.
4.) Do something different – Learn a new language, take a dancing class or travel somewhere you have never been. In doing new activities, the brain is able to change its routine patterns which can lead to a new perception of the world. Trying new things can provide you with inspiration and energy to your day-to- day engagements with a better sense of care, attention and respect.
Ultimately, self-care is about YOU. You are the foundation of this organization; the greatest care givers patients have and the reason why people come to this institution. Be the leaders in your own self-care and show others what it truly means to be a self-care healthcare provider. You may find that everything else falls into place. ■
KECK FORWARD SPRING 2017 VOL 2 • ISSUE 2 5
SELF-CARE – AN ENLIGHTENING APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE