Practical Guidelines for Self-Care

by Kim De Alba, CPSM
SMPS Oregon Member | Associate/Regional Marketing Manager at Interface Engineering

It is widely agreed that self-care is extremely important in times of uncertainty. All of us have likely taken measures to shield ourselves from the daily barrage of frightening information. No matter what our personal circumstances have been over the past year, many of us have been in a heightened state of alert—much more than we’re accustomed to dealing with.
Each of us can benefit from taking cues from the people whose jobs involve constant emergencies, continuous empathy, and problem-solving 100 percent of the time. These are the people who more commonly suffer from burnout, social isolation, compassion fatigue, empathy failure, depression, and various traumas. Right now, during this time of global pandemic and political division, even those not working as front-line workers are subject to these conditions.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has become a readily accepted, proactive approach to mitigating emotional reactions to the stressors around us. Healthcare practitioners, teachers, and others in the business of well-being tout MBSR as effective and easy to do for most people. For more on MBSR, see:

Additional Self-Care Strategies

While MBSR can be good for our mental health, professionals in the healthcare discipline have also shared these strategies:

  • Minimize risk posed by the social isolation of working from home through formal (professional counseling) and informal activities (virtual social gatherings, virtual participation in groups with people who share similar interests).
  • Schedule activities that are not work related and develop daily strategies for transitioning from work life to home life—even when our work is at home. (Think, having your “Mr. Rogers Time” when you change from your work-costume to your cozy-at-home costume.)
  • Commit to healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.
  • Set appropriate boundaries for work-related activities such as beginning and ending meetings on time and limiting work-related communications to specific times of the day.
  • Diversify work activities as much as possible.
  • Seek out tools for obtaining self-awareness, self-monitoring, and emotional competence.

There’s no one-size-fits all strategy to self-care. We must open up to others and also do our own research. Find the healthy solution that works best for you and make self-care a part of your day.

Adapted from Fisher, C. B. (2016). Decoding the ethics code (4th ed.). SAGE Publications.

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  1. Shawn Mitchell

    Feb. 24, 2021

    I'm a big fan of self-care and appreciate SMPS highlighting the importance of this. Thank you Kim and SMPS!


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