The purpose of this assignment is to deepen my understanding of effective self care planning. I want to share with you my stories of unbalances and stresses in my personal and professional life. There are many demands made on me both personally and ones that I can envisage for my future career as a caring professional, these anxieties have the potential to wear away the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological aspects of ‘self’. Maslach et al 2001 defines burnout as ”a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job” (p. 397). Thus, my aim is to identify ways to promote my wellbeing to prevent burnout.
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Personal/ Professional Stressors
Emotional stressors: Having the new role of mother was one of the most exciting and meaningful experience of my life and still is. However, the commitment that comes with motherhood is to nurture and protect my daughter, with this comes additional stress. With all the care and nurturing that Abigail requires, as well as additional demands such as college work I feel shortness of time, I feel that there is just not enough hours in the day, stress for me is not having time to get everything done or not having time to do the things I enjoy doing. As a mother I feel its important for me to invest alot of time with my relationship with Abigail, as a result the relationship I have with my partner often takes a back seat. I often feel torn between meeting the needs of Abigail and still have enough energy for a meaningful conversation with my partner, sometimes its hard to juggle the responsibilities of motherhood to get ‘alone time’ for myself, with my partner and friends. Financial stress is something I experience regularly, children are expensive!! Having the expense of paying for childcare, new clothes etc these can pose a strain on my financial budget, even though Abigail is more than worth the expense I do feel financial stress. Charged with the responsibility of caring for such a vulnerable soul, I am constantly re-evaluating what I am doing and I’m always looking into new insights to mothering. Being a conscientious mother means that I become stressed by the consequences of making mistakes. Among all these issues I find it difficult to make time and save energy to care for myself. I feel my pre child days of enjoying activities and socializing vanished with the responsibilities that motherhood brings.
Environment stress: with it being my final year in college I often find the process stressful and frustrating, the need to perform to my best ability, competition for the best grades and career choice. Deadlines for assignments are a great stress source, as a student I always feel pressure and fear that I will not rise to the expectations of the teachers. I find myself being confronted with a new range of emotions and stresses when it comes to the pressure of college exams. The learning schedule is pretty packed with new information, with the rigors of college environment I sometimes feel overwhelmed when trying to prepare for exams.
Professional stress: the stressors I envisage for myself when I pursue a career in the caring profession is the immense pressure of having the role of a ‘carer’ and how it will take its toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. The caring profession has always been portrayed as being physically and emotionally demanding, this as a result will require the utilization of resilient skills. However, in this current climate of recession sustaining this resilience will be made increasingly difficult with the continuing of staff shortages, and ongoing budget cuts. Working in this type of profession/ environment will undoubtedly mean working longer hours, while also being faced with the continual challenge of doing more with less. In addition the caring environment is one of constant change and adaption, thus, this may lead to communication problems among staff which in turn may lead to conflict. Another fear of mine that may lead to a source of stress is having job security; not just in the sense of losing my job but having to stay in a job that I dislike in order to make ends meat. As with college my job performance can be a potential source of stress, the responsibility that comes with the role of being a carer may prove to be very stressful. Stress at work may spill over and have the adverse negative effects on family life.
Self care plan:
Orem’s 1995 self care theory asserts that individuals should care for themselves to maintain health and wellbeing (Lubkin & Larsen, 2002, p361)
Emotional self care for me is about having the ability to process bad feelings of frustration and anger that arises due to being a full time mother, student, and being in a relationship. One way I can process these bad feelings is through practicing yoga on a weekly basis. It will allow me to release tension from my body and hopefully put me in a place of clarity and well-being. One aspect of my life I feel needs attention is simply having time to relax. For my self care plan I feel it’s important for me to set aside at least 1 hour a day doing nothing! This time will allow me to focus fully on myself, how I am feeling and how things are going for me whether it be in college or home life.
My physical self care as a priority has always been at the bottom of my list, taking care of ourselves is a fundamental part of life, yet for me it poses as my biggest challenge. I always rush through life without any appreciation for taking time to understand myself and my changing needs. Self esteem is essential for my physical self care, thus it’s important for me to build foundations of unconditional love so that the process of self-love and caring for myself becomes a natural part of my life. It is only when I care enough about myself that taking care of my physical needs will be naturally met. Counselling as part of my self care plan is essential; my hopes are that it will help me to know my innate beauty and inner self worth so that I can respond to life with self confidence. Another aspect of my physical self care that needs addressing is nutrition. The challenges I face is having an understanding of a balanced self care with foods. There are many emotional issues I deal with around foods, the core root of my problems come from lack of self esteem in my physical appearance. Addressing these issues now is important for me, counselling is the best method I can avail of to support me in my recovery of self worth.
Spiritual self care for me will involve finding a connection to the deeper meaning of my life. A key aspect to fulfilling balance and inner harmony will be achieved through meditation; this will allow me to clear my mind on a regular basis. Another fundamental aspect to my spiritual self care plan involves contemplation; by this I mean reviewing events of the day and questioning them; not only in my mind but in my heart. Contemplation is somewhat like meditation except my heart and mind will work as equal and active partners, this in turn will allow me to find my inner spiritual wisdom. Self awareness through journaling will also be apart of my spiritual self care practice. Evidence has found that journaling as a method for individuals to review life, to first set goals and then to make desired life changes are more likely to experience greater wellbeing. (Rosenfeld, 2004, p47)
To promote good mental health it’s important for me to include in my self care plan ways that can help improve my psychological wellbeing such as, looking after my physical health, this involves caring and loving self. It’s important for me to eat well and to have adequate sleep. I plan to view myself differently that of a ‘valuable person’ and I won’t set myself impossible goals. Supervision within the workplace will play an important role in preventing burnout as will support networks such as family, friends and work colleagues. Skovholt (2001) suggests that self care involves searching for positive experiences in life that lead to peace and happiness, thus the demands of the caring profession cannot be met by me if i don’t engage in self care. (Corey et al, 2007, p64)
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In conclusion to my self care plan I have learned that allowing myself this time on self care will replenish and energize aspects that cause stress in my professional and personal life. It is only through nurturing, loving and appreciating ‘self’ that I will be able to do the same for others.
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