There’s no doubt that working in the care profession is extremely rewarding - each and every day you are making a direct, positive impact on someone’s life. However, in an environment that can be both physically and mentally challenging, it is absolutely vital to look after yourself too. If you’re not taking care of yourself, then taking care of others is much harder. With that mind, we’ve prepared our self-care tips, designed to keep you at your best.
Drinking water is potentially one of the easiest and most effective ways to look after yourself, yet it has been estimated that up to 89% of the population do not consume enough H2O. Being well hydrated helps keep your muscles and joints working well (vital for busy days on your feet!), promotes good heart health and supports brain function and energy levels.
Keep a refillable bottle of water on you whenever possible to help make drinking water a habit.
Notice your nutrition
Most of you will know what you’re like when you’re hungry. Shakiness, dizziness, lethargy and a short temper are all key indicators that it’s time for some food. However, when you’re in a rush and your stomach is already growling, grabbing the quickest and easiest option is always tempting. However, for your body to work at its best, you need a well-balanced diet.
To stop yourself from reaching the point of no return, keep some quick and healthy snacks on hand to keep yourself satiated. For example, nuts are a great source of energy and their protein and fibre content keep you fuller for longer. Fruit, such as apples and raspberries, are convenient, full of fibre and the natural sugar content will give your energy levels a boost without the dreaded afternoon sugar crash.
Ramp up the rest
Everyone would like an extra five minutes in bed in the morning, but getting enough sleep is a critical part of both physical and emotional health. Your body needs sleep to repair and rejuvenate and without adequate rest, your body cannot perform at maximum capacity. When you are sleep deprived your cognitive abilities are instantly affected – making concentration and memory more difficult than usual. Keep your mind sharp and your body rested by prioritising a good night’s sleep.
Do you struggle to switch off? One of the key ways to get a better sleep is by ditching the screen long before bed time. Blue light, emitted from LED screens, can play havoc with your sleep, so banning phones, laptops and tablets from your bedroom could make a real difference to your sleep quality. Additionally, cutting back on caffeine can help you both get to sleep and then stay asleep for longer. In a lot of cases, getting yourself into a real routine is the key to unlocking a good night’s sleep. Set yourself a real bedtime and stick to it and try to wake up around the same time every day to help rest your body clock and find your own natural rhythm.
A key way to ensure you get enough sleep, water and nutrients is to plan in advance. Whether you’re a list maker, a post-it sticker or prefer an “Alexa remind me later”, know what you’ve got coming up and make sure you are prepared. For example, if you know you have a busy 12-hour shift ahead of you, make sure you’re equipped with comfy shoes, plenty of nutritious snacks and a list of things you need to achieve (and how you’re going to achieve them) to make the hustle and bustle more manageable.
Take time for you
These days everything and everyone seems to be constantly busy. When it seems like you’re being pulled in every direction, it’s important that you make time for yourself. Whether it’s a long bath, a walk in the sun (when it makes an appearance!), curling up with a good book or taking up a new hobby – making time for the activities that bring you joy are critical for a happier, healthier you. It may seem like spending time doing the things you love wouldn’t need specific scheduling, but they’re easily forgotten. Whether it’s a ten-minute break for a coffee or a phone call with a friend, work your ‘me time’ into your plan of the day to make sure it stays a priority.
Practise positive self-talk
Have you ever realised the voice you hear the most is the one inside your own head? When you’ve got a constant internal monologue going on, it’s critical that the little voice is your own personal cheerleader. It may sound small but replacing phrases like “I can’t” and “I’ll never” with “I will”, “I can” or even “I might” can help change your perspective completely. Rather than focusing on shortcomings or difficulties, focus on the positives and opportunities you have. While this may be difficult on days where it feels like you’re fighting an uphill battle to get everything done, it’s important to remember the incredible work you do and the positive difference you make on the lives of those you care for – keeping this in mind should help to make positive self-talk second nature to you.
At Pulse Community Healthcare, we are passionate about providing those that work with us with a supportive, caring environment. If you’re not part of the Pulse Community Healthcare team but want to be? Contact us today or register your interest and we will be in touch shortly.