Self-care…the phrase that pushes us to recognize our needs and manage them in a healthy manner but a phrase that continues to feel so elusive. Within the helping field, in particular, we are told the importance of finding our niche of personal care and pursuing that niche on a continued basis in hopes of managing the difficulties associated with helping others. We are told it is a necessity to avoid burnout and to be the best we can for those we help. What we are not told is how hard it is to balance it all and the guilt that can come from not finding the perfect balance.
Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. (Psychology Today)
Sounds fantastic right?! A work-life balance to help us feel fulfilled in all aspects of our lives and not become burdened by the torment that our clients endure. However having been in the field for a number of years, self-care continues to feel just out of grasp. Like it is just out of arms reach as the idea of balancing our needs with those we serve can present with concern about giving less to our clients as a result. So self-care can often be ridden with guilt…guilt about not being able to manage or guilt about not providing enough to those you serve or guilt about not being perfect.
So how to manage in fields that demand so much of ourselves?
- Recognize that you are just as important as those you serve.
- Understand you will be more equipped to help others if you feel fulfilled.
- Engagement in the tasks you prescribe to your clients provides more insight into its benefits.
Simple enough, right? We need to find a balance in order to thrive without guilt if we aren’t constantly perfect in the balance of life-work. Life happens to constantly keep us on our toes and throw us off…so in order to begin and continue self-care is to understand that it is okay if you are not perfect of at, as long as you continuously try to simplistically thrive.