Self care consists of the actions that you use to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Self care is unique for everyone. Good self care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. When you have a lack of self care it can lead to other problems. Problems like burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you began to lose interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.
Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Also without good self care it can also bring about compassion fatigue. Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress, it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper. While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing.
In my own self help plan I will make sure that there is some time for myself. Time to relax, to get the stress of the day to go away. Go for a good walk. To get away from the stressing environment. To stay away from people with negative thoughts. Negative thinking people are not good people for me to be with. I try to keep away from people who leaves me feeling tired or depressed when I see them. I try to distance myself from toxic friends who never have the time to listen to me. I try to spend my self care time to make sure that I am eating the right foods. I make sure that what I eat has the adequate nutrition. I try to exercise more often. Exercise is one of the most overlooked types of self care. The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Exercise, even if it is just a quick walk at lunchtime can help combat feelings of sadness or depression and prevent chronic health problems. These actions will help me to deal with traumatic cases by being in better shape. I try to get between 7-10 hours of sleep per night. This helps me to stay alert in order to better deal with my clients, family, and friends.
*Thank you to guest columnist Monroe White, Jr.