What Self-Care Looks Like For A Leader of Caring- Part 4

After several years of studying what skills matter most in leading caring, it comes down to intentional self-care and self-growth. 

These are activities that Serve You, that are For You & Only You. 

Self-care intentions can have a broad range. Relaxation, creativity, stress reduction, feeling better physically, emotionally …..

For me,  I know that I am serving myself when the activity is cultivating my inner resources to help me feel better in the moment.

My self-care can involve rest or something productive.  Sometimes, it’s as basic as making the bed – that always makes me feel better.   A pedicure is divine.  And walking the dog … walking Atticus always makes me feel better about life.

The truth is that self-care is one of the most fundamental principles in authentic caring and leading caring.  It is at the root of caring consciousness cultivation.

Dilemmas around nurses’ self-care- 

There are two dilemmas related to nurses’ self-care practices.  The main dilemma is that even though each nurse’s level of self-care impacts every patient and the overall patient experience, self-care is each nurse’s personal voluntary journey; it cannot be mandated, trained, managed or measured in traditional ways.   No one can “make” someone else achieve self-care.

The other reality is that each self-care practice impacts every person differently; each self-care type activity is individually sensitive.  The thing that serves you, may be something that I don’t enjoy.  This creates a dilemma in organizations – not every self-care program benefits everyone in the same ways.

Types of self-care activities –

Self-care practices range across a list of physical, mental and emotional care, physical exercise, nutrition, stress management, yoga, massage, bio-energy practices, mindfulness, meditation, reflection, journaling, time in nature, art, music, theatre, cooking, gardening, aesthetic endeavors, spiritual practices, and social, religious, community events and beyond.

Note- self-care can be defined by what an individual says that it is for them. It is not so much what it is as it is its intention and benefits.

Categories of self-care based on intention –

Self-care for prevention. The most common and routine self-care practices help us maintain our health and prevent the accumulation of added stress hormones in our bodies and clear our minds.

Self-care for issues that disrupt our lives. This level of self-care is needed to address pain and suffering that disrupts our daily lives. These require treatments such as therapy, counseling and programs for behavior change.

Self-care for self-development.   These are intentional self-care practices designed to bring baseline balance and satisfaction in our lives and in our work—self-development, self-awareness, self-reflection and most importantly cultivation of self-acceptance.   I believe that these skills get us through those times of resistance to self-growth and times of hollow practices. These are based in emotional intelligence and mind body science.

Self-care for wholeness. This path of lifelong learning grows honesty, truth, trust and self-acceptance, authenticity, all of which open our hearts to humanity and caring consciousness. Common practices include mindfulness for consciousness cultivation and transformation. Our sense of wholeness is wrapped in wellness processes, healing and a sense of wellbeing. Wellbeing is the state of integration and balance within our mind-body-spirit-heart.

May you enjoy self-care soon. 


image courtesy of Ariel Lustre @ unsplash.com


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