Me First

One of the most emphasized topics in social work is social worker burn-out. In recent years, burn-out has grown to include caregiver burn-out, compassion fatigue, etc. But, what if I told you that burn-out is not limited to people in helping professions? Would you agree?

Burn-out can affect us ALL; a teacher, a nurse, a mother/father, student- we are all susceptible. Often our lives are consumed with work, stress, and caring for others. We are so focused on doing what we have to do for everyone else; we forget what we must do for ourselves.

At this point you may be saying, yes I have become a victim of the burn-out curse, but I don’t know how I can overcome these feelings of overwhelming fatigue and stress. Well the answer is simple, self-care. Self-care is any intentional action used to meet your physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional needs.

Although you may be focused on everyone else in your life, you must make yourself a priority. It is sort of like the message you hear from the flight attendants reminding you to put on your oxygen mask first, and then you can help others around you. Self-care is the same basic principle; you have to maintain your health and wellness, in order to continue helping others maintain theirs.

Below is a list of simple ways you can practice self-care. Making an effort to utilize these techniques will result in less burn-out symptoms, and eventually lead to a happier healthier you!

  1. In moments of stress practice deep breathing

  2. Pray and read your bible

  3. Practice meditation

  4. Change your eating habits to include a nutritious diet

  5. Increase exercise/movement

  6. Go to the spa

  7. Read a book

  8. Listen to music

  9. Schedule weekly “me time”

  10. Take a nap

No matter how you choose to practice self-care, the most important thing for you to remember is to just do it. When you start feeling irritable, stressed or fatigued tell yourself “Me first”.

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