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Specific Steps for Self Care

Master the three R’s of Resiliency, Renewal and Reflection to keep you healthy and more productive.

Individuals can take steps toward their own health and well-being. The following positive personal strategies have helped professionals find balance and cope with stress:

  • Talking with colleagues about difficult clinical situations
  • Attending workshops, social activities with family and friends
  • Exercising
  • Drinking plenty of water.  Dehydration causes you to feel fatigued even if you
  • are eating healthy and getting enough rest.
  • Maintaining a health diet
  • Limiting client sessions
  • Maintaining mental wellness
  • Balancing caseloads with trauma and non-trauma clients
  • Taking breaks, vacations
  • Listening to music
  • Engaging in spiritually oriented activities: Walking in nature, meditating, journaling, volunteer work, etc.
  • Engaging in personal psychotherapy

According to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C. 65% of Americans are sleep deprived.

  • Keeping a “praise file” – keep a file of complimentary notes and read it periodically to remind yourself of what a good job you are doing.

  • Taking a one day vacation. – Take a day off to renew.  It can be better than spending an ineffective day at work.

  • Expanding your horizons – do other kinds of activities

  • Reading. – It will get your mind off the “hamster wheel”

  • Taking a “fun” class.

  • Taking the weekend off.

  • Planning special activities - something to look forward to

  • Making a “pampering” appointment – Get a manicure, pedicure or massage.

  • Meditating.

  • Laughing – use humor to recharge your batteries.

  • Getting enough sleep.  Try and get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
    55, 56, 57, 58, 59

Professional “renewal” groups are now forming across the country. The Humanities and Human Spirit program at the John P. McGovern, M.D. Center for Health in Utah helps participants have a sense of balance. Health professionals share and shed their burdens in a non-judgmental and supportive atmosphere. “The object is not to solve each other’s problems,” explains Dr. Thomas Cole, director of the McGovern Center, “but simply to listen and be present with another colleague’s experiences.” 60

Specific details for exercise, nutrition and mental wellness are outlined in Self-Care, A Guide for Addiction Professionals.  – booklet prepared by Central East ATTC Regional Office addressing challenges in the workplace, the agency role in supporting well-being and self-care approaches.

Humor can help!
Education World™ offers a free, weekly Education Humor Newsletter.  Click here to subscribe.

BLR® offers a free newsletter, HR Strange But True!, bringing offbeat, often hilarious, tales from the workplace.

Subscribe to a free newsletter from Colleen Kettenhofen, workplace expert and contributing author of the book, Masters of Success.  Newsletter topics include: How to increase energy with top foods, easy exercise tips and techniques; how to manage stress and achieve greater life balance, and how to achieve personal, business and leadership success.  

Just as trauma can result in a loss of meaning, hope, connection and a crushed world view, secondary trauma can have the same effects on the addiction practitioner.61  Clinical literature suggests spirituality as a multi-dimensional human experience.  As mentioned, working with addicted clients is occupationally draining.  Engaging in spiritually oriented activities can enhance a sense of well-being and can serve as way to “refuel.”

Help employees to identify their own spiritual needs.  This process may assist managers to better meet these needs in the work setting. 

Click here for resource books on spirituality.

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