Are you guilty of neglecting your personal self-care? If so, you are not alone. Recently I was completing my continuing education requirements for my upcoming license renewal in March. One of the courses I took, Setting Ethical Limits: For Caring and Competent Processionals really hit home for me.
I recognized I was caring too much—at a great cost.
Now I’m sure you’re reading this thinking, Hey wait a minute aren’t you the professional who is responsible for making the patient okay, how dare you say caring too much comes with a great cost! Well, sometimes it does. We all (you too!) need to set some parameters around how much of ourselves we are giving and how much we are replenishing our own personal needs. It’s a tricky balancing act to be sure, but it is a must if you want to be in a good space all around.
Before you get too annoyed with me, hear me out. Anyone, including you, can over care for another ignoring personal self-care. Yes, we should be nonjudging of others. And yes empathy goes a long way, but for you—and for me, there needs to be a sacred space for re-energizing.
So let me turn it over to you. How is your sacred space these days? Are you taking on others “stuff” to the point of obstructing your own health? If so, there is a cost to caring for others when you ignore your own personal needs.
Are you stressed? When I read in the course that stress tells you that something is not right it got my attention. I pressed on in my studies to read that stress is “like the ‘check engine’ light on your car’s dashboard, which, if ignored, can lead to major engine malfunction.” Wow, when I read that I thought to myself. Hmmm, I think my engine light is on and unchecked. What about yours?
It’s funny because the other day I was halfway home from the west coast of Florida to the east coast when my car notified me that my auxiliary battery needed attention. Auxiliary battery! What the heck is that? I had no idea what that meant. I had no idea that I had two batteries. The very next day we dropped the car of to the mechanic who informed me if left without changing I was at risk of my batteries ( both) stopping immediately. Now that got my attention.
Is your dashboard light on in your body? Are you ignoring the warning signs? Sometimes in our busyness we pay less attention to our needs. Take a pause and check in with yourself, you’ll be happy you did. When ignored it can morph into something bigger than you want to deal with. But, if you take care early you can avoid a whole lot of problems, just like you would with your car warnings.
If you are neglecting your self care and feeling irritated with the slightest annoyances maybe that’s an indication that self-care needs to be bumped up a notch. How?
No matter who you are, or what you do, you need space from your work. Everyone needs to hit the pause button to regroup and you—nor I—are an exception to the rule.
I’m always grateful for the continuing education every few years as it reminds me often of my own self-care and needs. Self-awareness is good for all especially during these trying times with a pandemic that keeps on giving…and doesn’t seem to want to go away. Perhaps we’ll turn the corner soon, but in the meantime take care of YOU! And of course I will take care of ME.
Do you have burnout? Are you finding your patience are wearing thin? What do you do to replenish your energy?
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.