Take the test below, to see if you need to balance more towards self care:
If the majority of your answers are "Strongly Agree" or "Agree", then you have a higher risk of "care addiction". The test is adapted from Lee Lipsenthal from his book "Finding Balance in a Medical Life: a guided program to help you reclaim a sense of balance in your busy life in medicine." If you score high on the test, he suggests you read Bryan E. Robinson's book "Chained to the Desk".
In the meantime, here are some simple reset wellness tips to try:
1. SELF WEALTH:
Repeat to your self: "I am worthy of great care." Try to feel this in your body, your heart, your mind. Try this for 5 minutes, with deep breathing the uses your diaphragm.
2. CRYSTAL CLEAR:
Crystal clear boundaries at work: Take a moment every 1 to 2 hours and check in how you feel. Notice if you can care with compassion and kindness, and be wary of empathy or trying to connect by feeling the same as the person you are caring for. Studies show that monks practicing "mehta", or loving kindness, do not experience the same stress or brain rhythm scarmbling as monks who listen as if they were in the other persons' shoes. Recognize your role. Be a consultant, and a professional, rather than a rescuer or saviour.
3. TAKE A BREATH:
Take breaks in the day, mini ones and longer ones. At the end of the day, take 30 to 60 minutes alone to destress and put the day to rest. Review moments of excitement, positive or negative, and calm your nervous system with mindfulness, meditation, exercise, or heart math, as you do this. Decide how you will approach the day differently tomorrow. Then engage with your family, your loved ones.
Enrich your connections. Talk to the important people in your inner circle: your family, your closest friends, people outside of work / care duties. Ask these people how they can feel deeply appreciated by you, experience quality time with you, or something they would like to hear you say. Give to your inner circle, let them feel the gratitude you have for them being in your life. Be honest about how you are actually doing. Hiding how you are or pretending you are okay when you are not, does not help you or them.
5. A DAY OFF:
Book an entire day off a week. No plans. Zero. Just time to "go with the flow". See what happens. Take a pause in your week.
Write down, "If I had all the time in the world and everyone was taken care of, then I would . . . "
Think of five small things you would do for yourself if you had all the time in the world. Make a point to do these five things by the end of the next week.
7. RIGHT NOW:
Simply take a deep breath right now, and soften your gaze or close your eyes. Ask yourself, "What healthy activity do I need right now?" See what the answer is. Some possible answers: a walk outside, a sweet conversation with my partner, a guided meditation, listening to some music, remembering a great time in the last year, planning a future holiday, reading a good book, yoga, making a healthy meal, re-reading my goals for the month, spending some time laughing with friends, a big hug, a quiet space alone . . . you get the idea.
8. IF THIS DOESN'T WORK:
Book an appointment with your family doctor, and discuss your stress levels and wellness and health. Consider a referral to a psychiatrist or certified wellness coach who works with health care providers. Take Care of You. For emergencies in Vancouver, contact the AAC for yourself or a loved one, and for general emergencies, contact your local crisis line.