Working as a care coordinator is extremely rewarding, but it is also stressful. Plus, I am the only care coordinator for three clinics and each clinic has approximately 100+ clients. That's about 300+ clients that I am trying to help, give referrals to and enough care. By the end of the day, I am exhausted and just want to sleep. So, how do I take care of myself?
Part of my job is also attending community meetings or going to other facilities to market our business. I went to one the other day that focused on integrative health care. This place had everything! From therapists/counselors, to group, to a gym and even massages! I was fortunate enough to get a free 45-minute massage and I was finally able to relax! So, I went home and found the massage therapist and set up another appointment. Check for self-care. What else is there?
1) If massages are inconvenient, a warm bath might suffice. I learned that using essentials oils (my favorites are Lavender and Rosemary) can help relax the body. Rosemary is also anti-inflammatory. Epsom salt can also be used to relieve sore muscles and reduces stress.
2) Nature is a huge part of my self-care. Nature is very relaxing for me, whether it is hearing the waves crash along the shore or the birds chipping in the wilderness. I love hiking and while it can be relaxing, it can also be great exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins which can lessen the symptoms of depression.
3) Writing in a journal also is a part of my self-care. It allows me to reflect on my day and gives me the opportunity to express my emotions without being afraid of judgement. Once I write in my journal, the stress from the day is gone and I do not have to worry about it anymore.
4) While it might not be also be healthy, ordering take-out is sometimes part of my self-care. Ordering in food allows me not to stress about cooking and then washing the dishes afterwards. However, I only do this on rare occasions since take-out is not good for my body. Still, I have found some more healthy take-out options, like Chipotle or Salad and Go.
5) Getting a manicure is also part of my self-care. While I can do this myself, sometimes it is nice to be pampered. However, I am very ticklish on my feet so, I skip the pedicure. Plus, simple manicures are not always expensive, and it is a great activity to do with friends.
6) Again, it might not be the healthiest option, but I look to bake! It allows me to make something that I enjoy, and it does not feel like a huge chore. Plus, baking in the winter heats up my apartment and I do not have to use as much electricity! That is a bonus!
7) I have to practice meditation at least once a day in order to keep myself sane. Meditation is good for the mind, body, and spirit. It allows me to remember to be in the present moment and only focus on what I can do. As a care coordinator, I must remember that some patients do not want help and I cannot force them to help themselves. Meditation allows me to stay calm throughout the day and let stressful situation go.
8) This can be more difficult, but taking a mini vacation always helps me. Taking a break from work, whether it is out of town or just a day at home allows me to come back to work refreshed. I usually take a long weekend as my mini vacation, so I do not have to use a lot of vacation days. Plus, using my weekend as part as the vacation allows me to take multiple trips throughout the year. Even if I stay home, taking a break and a mental health day is essential.
9) Sometimes taking a nap is all I need for self-care. I usually try to nap only for a hour at max because I still want to be able to sleep at night. Plus, if I take a long nap, I wake up feeling groggy and not refreshed. Taking a nap allows my body to "heal" after a long day of work, especially when I work 12-hour shifts.
10) Going to the movies or a show is also a part of my self-care. Sometimes going alone is exactly what I need. Plus, if I go by myself, I do not have to worry about pleasing others. Still, there are other times when having company is enjoyable. It just depends.
Self-care is anything that helps you relax and relieve stress. Everyone can have different styles of self-care and who are we to determine what people consider relaxing. Finding what form of self-care works for you is extremely important to your well-being.