If you're taking care of others - as a healthcare provider, teacher, social worker, case manager, counselor or therapist - you know how hard it can be to take good care of yourself. The needs of the people you serve often overwhelm your needs. Yet you can only take good care of others if you first take good care of yourself. Learn the Four Principles of Good Self-Care - because you deserve it. And so do the ones you care for.
Create Your Own Self-Care Plan
in One Hour
Four Principles of
THIS BOOKLET ON GOOD SELF-CARE
You're someone who helps others.
You've learned both the joys and the difficulties of serving others by teaching, or providing health care, or counseling, or doing social work or case management. Maybe you're a parent or home caregiver.
And you know that, very often, it's easy to let their needs overwhelm your needs. That leads to stress and burnout.
Let's work together on your self-care plan. Because you deserve it.
FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE
The Forum for Growth in Service is for people who want to serve others
Learn more HERE.
CAROL D. MARSH
Carol was the founding executive director of Miriam's House - a residence for Washington, DC's homeless women living with AIDS - where she lived and worked for seventeen years.
Now the author of an award-winning* book (Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir) about her life and work at Miriam's House, she is also founder of FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE. Visit her author website HERE.
* GRAND PRIZE (Nonfiction) - Authors Talk About It Book Contest; FINALIST (Memoir) - Indie Excellence Book Awards; FINALIST (Autobio/Memoir) - Next Generation Indie Book Awards; FINALIST (Memoir) - Sarton Women's Book Contest (winners announced April 2018)
Open the door ...
... to good self-care
The Four Principles of
what is stress?
what does stress do to your body, your spirit?
what does good self-care look like?
what is awareness?
how does awareness help YOU in self-care?
what causes YOU stress?
what brings YOU joy and peace?
what can YOU do to reduce stress?
what can YOU do to create joy and peace?
create YOUR self-care plan.
If you learn about the nature of stress and its effects on your mind, body and spirit, you'll have a better chance of understanding your own reactions to stress, and become aware of when you're struggling, or even getting to burnout.
WHAT IS STRESS?
The Cleveland Clinic (HERE) says "stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur. It can respond to those changes mentally, physically or emotionally."
From The Stress Management Society (HERE): "When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion."
Not all stress is bad. Positive events like a new job, moving, or regaining health after an illness can be stressful. But chronic stress is not normal, and can destroy our quality of life.
HOW IS STRESS MANIFESTED?
In our bodies
headache, indigestion, loss of appetite
elevated blood pressure
chest pain, rapid heart beat
In our minds and spirits
self-doubt, low self-esteem
depression, apathy, isolation
anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, impatience
poor judgment, indecision
inability to concentrate or be productive
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
Psychology Today (HERE) says burnout is "a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment."
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF BURNOUT?
The signs of burnout are exactly the same as the signs of stress - only they last for more than a few days.
Here's what I learned in my work and life at Miriam's House: the stress was constant, and burnout was usually just around the corner. Once I accepted the presence of constant stress, I realized I had a choice. I could
choose to accept that stress was part of the job
become aware enough to manage my reaction to stress
develop tools and skills to manage stress
deal with burnout as it approached.
That last one is another gem my Miriam's House work taught me: I could not eradicate or prevent burnout, but I could recognize when it was sneaking up on me and do something about it before it grabbed me by the throat.
How did I do that?
Click on the box [ ] icon at the bottom right of the screen below
to view the virtual booklet.
How does awareness help in self-care?
Have you ever had this kind of experience?
You get to the end of a difficult day, or finally take a break from working on that project, and you realize your stomach is killing you. Or the headache has got so bad you can hardly see straight.
You leave a contentious meeting, or walk out of the room where you just changed an adult diaper for the umpteenth time, and your face aches because you've been grinding your jaw, or frowning.
What if you were aware enough to let yourself feel the upset stomach, headache or grinding jaws as soon as they started?
The second step to good self-care practice is becoming aware. Aware of
To help you in your self-care program, answer the questions below.
Write in your own journal, or download the document below.
* What are your physical signs of stress?
* What are your mental and emotional signs of stress?
* What causes you stress - what people, situations, events, etc.?
Click this arrow to download the journal that goes with this booklet.
You may be thinking,
"I don't have time for this."
And that's precisely why you need to do it.
Because you deserve it.
An important aspect of awareness and self-care is being really clear about what is NOT stressful for us, and what DOES make us feel good. First, let's look at some basic facts of good self-care, then you'll write about the things that bring you joy and peace.
What is good, basic self-care?
Psychology Today (HERE) says good self-care is about things like healthy living, strong relationships, working toward goals, connecting to a community, creating joy and satisfaction, and a spiritual practice.
* good diet
* regular exercise
* good hygiene
* setting aside time for relaxation and recreation.
* supportive and nurturing
* family, friends, professionals, colleagues
* while they may be challenging sometimes - never feel abusive, indifferent, or derisive.
Good, basic self-care (continued)
WORKING TOWARD GOALS
* the self-esteem we feel when we're being productive
* on our own or as part of a group
CONNECTING TO COMMUNITY
* live, actual communities, not virtual ones like Facebook or Instagram
CREATING JOY AND SATISFACTION
* actively making self-care happen in our lives.
* church, meditation groups, prayer groups, yoga class or Qigong.
* solitary practices
meditation or prayer with a candle lit;
meditative music in a dimly lit room.
(HERE is a good resource for learning about various types of meditation.)
Good, basic self-care (continued)
WHAT ARE YOUR SELF-CARE PRACTICES?
Keeping in mind the above six categories of basic self-care,
answer these questions in the document you've already created.
* What do you do that makes you feel good about yourself?
* What brings you peace of mind and spirit?
* What are your hobbies?
* Name your truly supportive and nurturing relationships.
It's time to create your self-care plan
Look at your answers to the questions. Most of what you wrote can be described as an activity, and can be designated on a schedule.
For example, you'd label "meditation" as a daily activity; "dinner with friends" as a weekly activity; and so on. Label them:
Use the chart on the next page to complete your self-care plan.
You can create your own Excel spreadsheet using the chart as a model, or you can download the chart as it is.
* You've gained KNOWLEDGE about stress and burnout.
* You've become AWARE of your reactions to stress, and how you reduce stress.
* You've PLANNED your self-care on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
* Now you have a plan to IMPLEMENT.
First, of course, is to make a determination to simply do it.
You'll also want to keep reminders in front of you.
Print out your self-care chart and put it where you see it every day:
on your refrigerator,
on your desk,
on a bulletin board.
Take a photo or screenshot of your self-care chart and make it the wallpaper on your
Create a checklist for each month of the year.
Dig deeper into the practice of good self-care:
Go to the Forum for Growth in Service Self-Care Mini-course (HERE).
Only $15.00 for two video talks and lots of supplementary resources to download and keep.
What other things are important for those of us who are serving and caring for others?
Learn more about serving
Go to the Information Page (HERE) of Forum for Growth in Service.
You've taken time to care for yourself. Well done.
If you liked this booklet, consider taking the SELF-CARE MINI-COURSE for only $15.00.
The mini-course goes into greater depth -- using two lecture videos, supplementary resources (articles, infographics, TED Talks, etc) -- so you can explore more deeply your own self-care, and why it's important for people who care for others to take good care of themselves.
You can learn more about the Self-Care Mini-Course HERE.
Use the buttons below to learn more about Carol, her memoir,
and the FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE.
Learn more about
NOWHERE ELSE I WANT TO BE:
FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE
Contact Carol using this form.