If you look up Self Care in Wikipedia here’s what you’ll read. In health care, self care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. At Salt Lake County Youth Services, it is an essential part of remaining healthy to provide the best care to our clients; children, youth and families. We see this as preventative care and that it is necessary to the well-being of staff responsible for not only their own physical and emotional health, but many others. Here are a few comments from Youth Services staff about our Mindful Monday’s class and their personal ways they decompress.
Mindful Mondays is a program that was put on by our wellness program, Healthy Lifestyles. At Youth Services, we expanded the program to Thursdays as well, so that we could accommodate more staff members’ schedules. Each Monday or Thursday, staff is invited to use one of their 15 minute breaks to reconnect themselves with the present, and to build their ability to live mindfully. Practices such as meditation, desk yoga, and Qi Gong have been introduced as tools for increased mindfulness. Staff members also get the chance to connect with each other in a relaxed and supportive environment, which is a great place to build inter-program relationships.
As one of the facilitators for this event at Youth Services, I have noticed that my own productivity and balance in the workplace has increased as a result of some of the mindfulness skills I have gained and brought into my personal life. Particularly, the desk yoga day reminded me how much I really enjoy yoga, and motivated me to begin a regular home practice again. It’s amazing how effectively a few minutes of focused breathing and stretching can influence my day for the good!
Maria Drummond, Recreation Therapist
Self-care is a daily process so that I can manage the day-to-day stresses of work and life. I try to eat my fruits and vegetables, drink enough water and get restful sleep each night. Of course that doesn’t always happen but I do my best each day and try to roll with the punches. Of all the self-care activities running is the most important to me. I run four days a week and enjoy the feeling of exertion after a good run. I thrive on constantly trying to be a little faster than the time before. Running helps regulate my mood and gives me something to look forward to every other day.
David Christensen, Clinician-Counseling Services, SLC and South Office
I spend a lot of my extra time in doing service for others. I get a lot of satisfaction in watching the impact it has on youth and it helps bring light in my life. You never know how the small things you do for others help strengthen their lives. I love to craft, plan parties, cook, host events and spend time with family. Game night with family and friends is fun and I am ruthless and very competitive! I love to learn about new cultures and life styles and have many friends from around the world!
Suzanne Wade, Youth Worker
For self care to help me unwind or blow off steam so I can refocus and de-stress myself, I like to listen to suspense police audio books, or listen to music. Also, I like to lie down and play games on my phone when I have nothing going on and my children are leaving me alone, however, that is rare… LOL! Last week when I was off work due to having my car in the shop, wife was at work and my kids were at school I watched two good movies from Red Box with no interruptions. Now that was self care in my opinion. I felt like a new man.
John Stone, Christmas Box House-Youth Worker and Transportation
I read. Reading helps me go to another place and helps me escape to a time and place that does not impact me. I love reading…whole new worlds await. I serve others when I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Finding a little thing to do for someone else always makes me happy and makes them happy. Taking time for my self is critical as a lot of others rely on me so sometimes even 20 minutes to do something I want to do goes a long way in re-centering my self.
Cara Stephens, Program Manager, Shelter Programs
I take care of myself through working out. Satia Tuuao, Boys Group Home, Youth Worker
I take care of myself daily by spending quality time with my love ones, exercising at the gym, and enjoying a nice special after hour (dinner & dessert) party with my spouse. Dinner and dessert are excellent for my mental health.
Adolph County, Boys Group Home Youth Worker
I must sleep 10 hours a night. I read books, meditate every night, write and go for walks. I stay in contact with my friends and family especially with special time with my grand baby!!! I also enjoy dancing and listening to music.
Vivianna Flores, Girls Group Home, Youth Worker
I personally believe burn-out is something that happens to everyone in any jobs. If you don’t give self- care to yourself. You can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of you first. Here is my self care list. Go out to dinner with friends once or twice a month, hang out with my son, go to the movies or bowling, play dodge ball every Wednesday evening, Bikram Yoga and rent movies from Red Box
Tyra Armstrong, Christmas Box House, Youth Worker
Self care is doing things for yourself that make you happy during times of stress/distress. I meditate twice a day, exercise for a half-hour 5 times a week, eat a vegetarian diet, make sure I get 8 hours of sleep a night and make sure the people I spend time with are equally healthy, so I have a drama free personal life.
Alan Cochrane, Clinician-Counseling Services
For me…self care is getting a pedicure, going out to dinner with friends, going running, going to a movie, taking a longer than normal shower. The idea of self-care is being mindful of when you’re getting stressed/overwhelmed/burned out and doing something for yourself that will aid your ability to keep doing your job or dealing with personal life issues. Part of self-care is cognitive knowing what you can do for yourself. It could be something as simple as doing deep breathing exercises in your car every day for five minutes before work starts and doing 5 more minutes when you leave work. Something that calms you down/keeps you grounded/makes you happy.
Kari Larsen, FAST Case Manager – JRC
There are many ways to promote well-being for yourself and these were just a few examples from our staff. Mind and body bridging is practiced here at Youth Services. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercise and just unplugging from all the technology that comes at us each day can make a difference in our lives and help us stay healthy. Clearly finding your balance and a healthy way to incorporate self care into your life will have positive affects in and outside of the workplace. Building healthy communities starts with you…your self care.
Other articles related to this topic: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek/