Student column

This month we explore the pros and cons of practicing self-care and your limitations

By Diomaris E. Jurecska and Chloe Lee-Zorn, MA

Self-care has been defined as “the right and responsibility to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being” (Salvucci, 2001). But, what does this mean? We kick the word around like a soccer ball, passing the responsibility off on our clients, while often struggling to maintain balance in our own lives. Although we often have the best intentions to serve as the model for our client, engaging in regular exercise, healthy eating, and emotional attunement, the reality can often be the exact opposite. The dichotomy of being a successful professional, while also adhering to a routine of wellness can present as the ultimate inverse correlation; potentially, professional success equates to diminished self-care.

This begs the question: how do we avoid passing the accountability off to our clients? In what ways can we improve in our own lives not only for the sake of role modeling, but more importantly, to become happier and more well adjusted individuals. The key to this success can be summed into a few simple rules.

  1. Assess and monitor basic needs. Eating, sleeping and regular exercise should be as important as meeting deadlines, or productivity standards at work.

  2. Set limits. Know yourself, maximize your strengths and develop your weaknesses by striving for a balance life.

  3. Engage in self-care activities. Find a way to transition after a stressful day at work, whether it is taking a brisk walk, calling your best friend or snuggling with your favorite furry companion.

  4. Use rewards and reinforcements. Give yourself a treat, such as a latte on the way home from work, a pedicure on the weekend or a camping trip with friends, after a long day or week at work.

  5. Create a support system. Establishing a confidante within the field, such as a supervisor, who acts as a mentor when navigating uncharted territory, such as beginning internship, obtaining licensure or starting a private practice. Develop a social network with friends, and family members who care and are available to support you when you find yourself in stressful situations.

Editor’s note

This column was co-written by our student representative Diomaris Jurecska, a doctoral candidate at George Fox University and intern at Children’s Hospital and Research Center, and Chloe Lee-Zorn, a doctoral candidate at George Fox University and intern at the University of Hawaii-Manoa CSDC.