Self-care for Helping Professionals in the Age of Covid

A person meditating in a peaceful outdoor setting

Whether you are a doctor, nurse, psychologist, teacher or pastor, those who work in helping professions are always giving out. You give of your knowledge, care, and time and this usually comes at a personal cost. That cost could be the emotional toll of the job, costs in time, or the cost of putting yourself last.

At the best of times helping roles are demanding, however, since 2020 we have also been dealing with a pandemic. This has made things significantly worse. Now you are supporting patients, students, and clients who are experiencing increased stress and worry. We know that many people have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Some 18 months into it, we can’t quite see the end.

So, as good as you are at helping others, we wanted to share with you some tips to implement for your own self-care and wellbeing.  

TIP 1: Maintain Connection with Others

We are social beings with social brains. So, keeping in contact with those who are important to us is important for our wellbeing and resilience. This could be as simple as a chat in the lunchroom, chatting online or video calling friends. Sure, catching up online is not the same as catching up in person but it is better than losing touch with the ones you love. So, schedule those video calls, and don’t forget, if your eyes are tired from all the telehealth / online teaching a simple phone call is a great option for keeping in touch too.

TIP 2: Slow Down – Being constantly on a schedule is tough and we may find ourselves getting caught up in the rush. Simply stopping for a few seconds, taking a deep breath, and slow down, can help us settle, be more focused, and manage whatever the day throws at us. In the midst of your busy day, try to carve out even 1-minute blocks to take a breath and remember the reason you do what you do.

TIP 3: Practice Self-Compassion – It can be emotionally draining being in a helping role. This is why it is so important to treat yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support that you would show your loved-ones. Remember to manage your expectations of yourself, we are living in strange times, so don’t expect yourself to function as you usually would. Celebrate the ways in which you make a difference in peoples’ lives (it’s so easy to focus on what went wrong and not notice what we do well). Notice any negative self-talk and challenge yourself to talk to yourself as you would to someone you love.

We hope that you find at least one of these tips helpful.

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