Self care rose

What does self care mean to you?

Dec 22, 2020 | Hot Topics

A team of colleagues were talking about self care the other day, a topic that is much discussed at the moment, and the question ‘What does self care mean?’ was posed. It stopped us in our tracks because, like so many buzz words, we realised that there are many interpretations of self care. So, we put it on the table as the next hot topic for Nurturing Care Nurturing Nurses and Midwives. And this is what people had to say:

Self-care means everything to me, as it is the foundation that supports me at work and at home. What it looks like changes every day. Sometimes it’s wearing layers of clothes so I can adjust to suit the weather, drinking enough water, adjusting my posture, acting on an impulse or saying no when I need to. Whatever it looks like it comes down to listening to my body; what it needs in that moment and if it feels at ease or stressed by what I am about to do. (Nurse)

I love my work as a midwife and in order to keep loving it, it’s a no brainer for me that I have to care for myself first, as this will determine how open, calm, focused, caring, fun, clinically competent and joyful I am with patients and staff. Self care has to be super practical and could be as simple as ensuring to go to the bathroom and taking 2 minutes to straighten up loose clothing, fix a fallen sock and have a little mirror admiring session of yourself whilst you’re there! (Midwife)

It is very easy to get swept up in the busyness of a day, rushing to keep up with what needs to be done, this way of working is very draining. If I take a moment here and there throughout my shift to stop and re-focus and then continue more present with myself, my days are less draining. (Nurse)

Appreciation for all that we do is a self-caring counter for the culture of criticism. (Nurse)

Self-care is quite a big area, with a lot to consider. However, even with that we can keep it very simple. Yes, diet, exercise and sleep are very important but I have observed for myself that the way I do everything that I do makes a huge difference throughout my day. So, when I am present with my body I tend to move gently in all that I do, whether walking, sitting in a chair, being on the phone or speaking with a patient or family member. The biggest thing with self-care for me is that when I am this way with myself, then I am automatically this way with everyone I interact with, with no effort. This was huge when I first realised this and this to me is how simple self-care can be and is. (Nurse)

It is amazing to realise that a busy day does not necessarily lead to feeling drained at the end of a shift and that by offering ourselves moments where we stop and re-focus we can maintain a level of vitality and enjoyment. (Nurse)

For me self-care has a whole new meaning to before. It’s about taking care of yourself from every angle; having routines from the time we open our eyes in the morning through to the time we take ourselves to bed. The in-between matters too. It’s a 24-hour thing. (Midwife)

Self care for me includes stopping momentarily during the day on several occasions and checking in with myself to ensure I have not let anxiousness or busyness push me around and lead the way. It astounds me how easily this can happen when there are lots of demands at work and equally how simple it is to counter that. (Nurse)

Self-care is of course about the type of food we eat, the exercise we do, how we prepare for sleep etc. I have realised though that I can actually be non-self-caring with these things even though it looks to an outsider that I am looking after myself. For instance, I like to exercise every day, but I have found myself pushing my body to do this even when I have not felt like it, often causing pain in my body. This became for me a non-self-loving routine with not enough care for my body. I now have exercise as part of my rhythm to do when it feels right for my body but not a must do every day. I consider my body as the director of my self-care as it tells me if I have eaten too much, exercised too much or if I am rushing. Often when I am rushing and not giving my attention fully to what I am doing I drop things (dropped a container of hummus on the floor this morning!), I bang into things or I start to feel irritation coming up in my body. I love that there is no perfection here but an increasing awareness of the best way to care for myself which flows through my work and home life. (Nurse)

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