Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of mental, emotional, and physical health.[1, 2] It starts with the recognition that people have multiple personal dimensions to attend to in order to live a “good” life, including:
|Physical||What is happening to my state of health and wellbeing?|
|Emotional||How do I feel during and after I finish work?|
|Cognitive||How do I make sense of my experiences at work?|
|Relational||How has work affected my relationships (family, friends)?|
|Spiritual||How have my faith and personal meanings changed?|
Strategies for personal self-care include:[4-7]
- Prioritising relationships including those with family and close friends
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by ensuring adequate sleep, regular exercise, and time for holidays
- Participating in recreational activities and hobbies
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation
- Pursuing spiritual development
- Ensuring that you have pleasurable activities scheduled regularly
- Maintaining a routine
- Exercising regularly
- Learning relaxation techniques and practicing them regularly
- Having goals – both at work and personally
- Accepting the feelings that often come up working with people who are dying.
Consider the following expert opinion on adopting self-care strategies:
- What self-care strategies can you draw on when caring for people affected by life-limiting illness?
- What strategies can you use to support other members of the healthcare team?
- CareSearch. Self-Care. 2017 June 06, 2017]; Available from: https://www.caresearch.com.au/caresearch/tabid/3462/Default.aspx.
- Rizo-Baeza, M., et al., Burnout syndrome in nurses working in palliative care units: An analysis of associated factors. J Nurs Manag, 2018. 26(1): p. 19-25.
- Chittenden, E.H. and C.S. Ritchie, Work-life balancing: challenges and strategies. J Palliat Med, 2011. 14(7): p. 870-4.
- Sanchez-Reilly, S., et al., Caring for oneself to care for others: physicians and their self-care. J Support Oncol, 2013. 11(2): p. 75-81.
- Kamal, A., et al., Burnout among palliative care clinicians in the United States: Results of a national survey. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2014. 32(15_suppl): p. e20530-e20530.
- Mills, J., T. Wand, and J. Fraser, Self-Care in Palliative Care Nursing and Medical Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2017.
- RACGP. Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners. 2018 [cited 2018 August 17, 2018]; Available from: https://www.racgp.org.au/guidelines/advancecareplans.