As midwives, our primary task is to provide “CARE” services to our patients. It is indeed our responsibility to make sure that our patients are well taken care and receives sufficient attention in providing their needs. However, while doing so, we should also consider paying attention to our own needs as an individual.
Self- care is a popular word that has been trending in various articles and online publications, even topping the Google Search engine tab in the previous years. It’s also been the subject for self-empowerment, especially amongst women, in politically overturned times. Yet, it feels overused to the point where many of us have grown tired of hearing it. Many failed to realize that self-care can be a strategic and integral part of modern business plans. Adding self-care approaches can help improve productivity, teamwork and innovation.
Midwives who pay attention to their own physical and emotional health are better able to handle the challenges of supporting their patients. They adapt to changes, build strong relationships and recover from setbacks. Here are some suggestions for personalizing your self-care strategy. While self-care once seemed like a foreign concept, there is increasing understanding within the healthcare industry that not only it is beneficial for our personal heath, but by taking time for ourselves we also become better midwives.
1. Wellness and mind-body practice is a health path forward.
As we struggle to “do it all”, how much does all facets of our health suffer? What are our daily practices to protect our body, mind and spirit? According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, individuals who engaged in a meditation retreat were assessed before and after. Active participants reported a decrease in anxiety and depression as well as an increase in mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness is as simple as maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts through a gentle, nurturing lens.
“The best investment you can make is always in yourself. It’s always worth it.
2. Don’t we all deserve that level of self-care?
The positive effects of meditative practices on mental fitness, autonomic self-regulation and inflammatory status are believed to be related.
3. Benefits of hitting the pause button.
In our personal quest to achieve “success,” we can lose the internal cues that are foundational to our connection with ourselves and we diminish our ability to self-regulate (control emotions, concentration, and joy). With consistent and persistent practice, we can achieve a powerful ability to decrease anxiety, increase joy and fulfillment, increase performance capabilities and produce a more mindful state. At the root of all these attributes is self-regulation.
Simple yet powerful effects of breath play an essential role to the fundamentals of health, well-being, healing and human performance. Specific breathing techniques can have a tremendous impact on decreasing stress and other inflammatory states, enhancing brainpower and balancing emotions. Sharpening this internal regulation tool will assist to achieve deeper sleep and improve digestive issues while resisting “thought clutter.”
Further, specific breathing practices will enrich the connection to yourself (self-awareness, self-esteem, etc.) as well as deepen your connection to a powerful reserve of energy that will support a higher level of health, healing, wellness and performance in all areas of your life.
Consider how many times a day you actually stop all activity to simply “be,” without motion or in the state of doing? Experts agree that the longer we stay in motion of “doing”, the less healthy we are “being.” Yes, it stands in direct contrast to satisfying our billable hour requirements and project lists, but, in the long-term, we will benefit from a more efficient and productive work schedule. Try it for yourself.
4. Can you hear you now: self-talk
All day, every day, we are speaking (consciously or subconsciously) with ourselves and affirming information about ourselves, in an endless loop. What messages are we sending to ourselves? Positive or negative? If we speak-emotionally charged messages to ourselves repeatedly, they will eventually become our beliefs. These beliefs translate into a powerful feeling, a feeling that cultivates action (or in-action). The action we take on a consistent basis manifests our reality.
5. Attitude of Gratitude.
You may have heard that spending a few minutes a day being grateful for all of the things your life, your family and friends and your health can produce positive health effects. Some individuals find maintaining a Gratitude Journal a useful blue print to positive health, especially when life does not progress in the way we expect. This one is easy and very powerful.
6. A continual work in progress.
Reaching a state of ideal health – body, mind, spirit, is not a destination, usually due to so many variables in our lives over which we have little or no control. Yet, we should take hold of the things we can to realize great health effects, manage stress more efficiently and, overall, experience a more positive life experience.
Taking small, simple steps every day and even during the day is the most direct path to increase overall wellness. Twenty minutes of practice daily will help us begin or continue on our path to health, healing and wellness.
Why does it often seem so easy to care for others while we forget taking care of ourselves? We should always remember that in order to achieve our goals, we must stay healthy and happy. The vitality that we provide others must always start within ourselves.
GREAT PREVENTING BURNOUT COURSE AVAILABLE: