There is a growing buzz word on the streets that is ‘self-care’. We as doctors now need to ‘self-care’. But what exactly does that mean?!
When I speak to most people, they like me years ago don’t have a clear understanding on what it is to take care of ourselves.
When I speak with people about self-care their responses are usually, after a prolonged pause and thinking along the lines of:
‘Pampering yourself from time to time’
‘Making sure you eat healthy’
‘Knowing when your mental health is bad’
‘Having hobbies outside of medicine’
All those things are part of self-care, but they are not the all of what self-care is.
Most of us know that when we are ill, we need to take care of ourselves and get rest.
But what if we took care of ourselves all of the time?
Might that change the quality of life that we daily live in?
True self-care is not just about what we do to rescue ourselves when we are blue and down and out, but it is about taking care of ourselves in all aspects of our lives so that we lead amazing lives, feeling truly well.
In Medicine, our concept of life is that we survive life, that we survive the day, that we survive the week, and thus it makes sense that when we consider self-care that it is something that we do the bare minimum to make it through the day, the week and the year without dying.
But if we shift our focus and consider that we are here to live truly well in life, to thrive instead of survive, then that shifts our focus on the way we take care of ourselves.
The way that we feel comes from the way that we live life, in all areas of our life.
There is no one area of our lives that we can compartmentalise as being separate from any other aspect of life. We are the same body, literally, in all of life. We all know how stress at work can feed into and affect our home life, and vice versa. Thus self-care is about taking care of ourselves in all areas of life.
Self-care is not just doing the things that function, it is about the way that we do things with and for ourselves.
Self-care begins with a quality. Continue reading