If time is the number one barrier that gets in the way of your own self care, you are not alone!
It is by far the number one struggle that I hear from busy, working parents and providers all the time.
Running all day long, both at work and at home, leaves little time to settle in and practice the highly touted self-care practices that we so frequently hear about.
Healthcare providers know they should be practicing better self care. But instead, I often find practitioners feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and even guilty that they have yet again “failed” to take care of themselves.
One Simple Solution
I believe in the power of practicing self care with my clients. In fact, weaving self care into patient care is not only good for our own well being, but is highly beneficial for our patients as well.
In my opinion, almost everyone can benefit from a brief moment of mindfulness, practicing gratitude, or a few deep breaths during their day!
If your patients are struggling with pain, stress, or frustration…then chances are these self care practices will help them too!
After years of integrating complementary modalities into traditional patient care, I love teaching providers exactly what this would look like.
Consider trying one of these ten tips the next time you are feeling short on time for self care!
- Gratitude: Taking a moment at the beginning or end of each session to think of one thing that you feel grateful for. This allows you both the opportunity to tap into what’s good in your lives, bolstering motivation to keep moving forward when things get challenging.
- Breathing: There are so many benefits of stopping to take a few slow, intentional, deep breaths with your patients during their treatment sessions. Whether it’s helping to decrease the stress or pain response or increase lung and ribcage expansion you can’t go wrong with this moment of provider/patient self care.
- Celebrating Successes: Celebrating wins and highlighting progress is motivating for both clinicians and patients. Intentionally savoring how hard you have both worked and how far you have come is an amazing way to begin wiring the brain to seek out the good!
- Mindful Awareness: Bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgement, can be especially useful if you or your patient are having a difficult time maintaining focus during a session.
- Self Compassion: We tend to be our own biggest critics and no matter how hard we work it may never feel like enough. Consider what you would say to a friend or a colleague struggling with a similar challenge. Acknowledge the struggle and be kind to yourselves for doing your very best.
- Grounding: Feel yourself getting frustrated or having difficulty concentrating? Try using awareness of the 5 senses to bring you back to the present moment, it will help to ground both patient and provider so you can get the most out of each session.
- Music: Find a tune that you and your patient can relate to and then jam out for motivation or lean into the calming, healing effect that music can have on you.
- Body Scan: Practicing a brief body scan can help to bring awareness to any areas that may be painful or holding tension. You might follow it with a few gentle stretches and an invitation to release tightness- a win for both your patients and yourself!
- Hydration: Take a water break together! Nothing helps inspire your patients to drink more water like modeling the behavior for them.
- Relationship Building: Positive relationships are known to be one of the biggest predictors of resilience. Yes, I know we all do this anyway. But, intentionally taking a few extra minutes to know and appreciate your patients beyond their physical injury can help them to feel seen. It can help you to feel more connected and present in your work- especially when you’re having a rough day.
So there you have it. One of the most effective antidotes for combatting lack of self care time is integrating it into what you already do.
Try using one, or a few, of these strategies with your patients and see how it goes! Reminder, approaching with a sense of curiosity and kindness as you try on something new.