I’ve been away from the blog for a while, mainly because I haven’t been sure what to write. It has been a really difficult few weeks at work and I’ve got so much I want to share, but I don’t know that I want this blog to become the forum for my frustration. So, I’ve stayed away. Work has been a rollercoaster. Just when I feel like I have things moving onward and upward, life throws a curve and a steep drop. I just try to make sure I’m holding on, staying centered, with my hands and feet inside the car.
It is times like this when I give myself daily reminders of the importance of self-care. I can’t do my job supporting children and families if I don’t take the time to support myself. Child life is full of happy moments, playful interventions, watching children master a difficult situation. But it can also be incredibly stressful and the number of hats to wear in a given shift can be daunting. Identifying ways to care for yourself is an essential skill for child life specialists. I do lots of things to help keep myself on an even keel and sensitive to the needs of my patients, and lately I’ve been adding new ones. Here’s a list (so I don’t forget!) of a few things that help me feel better:
- Taking a moment- stopping for a brief moment outside. Sunshine has a way of melting stress. Quieting my mind and momentarily letting go of the rush and anxieties of the day helps me step back into the job.
- Friends- a chat with a good friend goes such a long way toward righting the world.
- Reprioritizing- what are the three most important things on my to-do list? Focusing on completing these three things rather than the endless tasks to follow helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
- Baby holding- we almost always have a few fussy babies that need attention. At the end of a day, helping a baby relax and get some much-needed comfort is calming for me. My focus is on them, and all the rocking, sushing, and singing makes me feel focused and centered too.
- Reading- I love escaping in a good book. I can fly through novels when I’m stressed. I’ve put a hefty charge on my Itunes account this month by adding novels to my electronic bookshelves. Feel free to suggest some good titles in the comments as I’m always on the lookout for a good read.
- Manicure/Pedicure- basically any type of spa pampering will do. If I could afford to go every week, I would! This is a special treat that always makes me feel extra relaxed and indulgent.
- Mementos- I keep a few notes from colleagues and families at my desk at work. When I need a lift, I can read them and remember that my work is appreciated.
- Music- listening to the right song can motivate, validate, calm, make me laugh, get me excited, and generally turn my day around.
- Laughter- a good joke is just what the doctor ordered to relieve tension.
- Life Beyond Work- I try to make sure I give myself something non-work related to look forward to during my time off. I love to cook, go to the movies, explore the city, etc. This helps calm the pull of work-related tasks.
I have many, many things in my life for which I am grateful. I try to remember that the difficult time I am having now is temporary. As quickly as things can take a turn for the worse, they can also get better. Sometimes it is just really hard to be patient :)
Photo Credit: Patty Lagera via Flickr