Self-Care for the New Year (Part 2 of 3)
The new year provides a great opportunity to reflect on the past and make commitments for the future. In this spirit I am posting a series of step-by-step activities developed by the University of Buffalo School of Social Work to aid in developing your own individualized “Maintenance Self-Care Plan.” Feel free to join along here and post comments below, or jump ahead by visiting the UB website yourself. Be sure to click on the BOLDED links to PDFs. (All material below is quoted)
PART 2: PLANNING
3. Outlining your plan. The spaces provided in the My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet each represent a self-care domain. In each space fill in the activities that you already engage in (“current practice”) and those you would like to add (“new practice”). Both current and new practices will comprise your Maintenance Self-Care Plan – the regular activities you engage in to take care of yourself.
4. Obstacles to implementation. Once you have identified these practices, it is useful to identify possible barriers or obstacles that could get in the way of implementing and/or maintaining them. You can revisit this topic and revise your list as you become more familiar with the demands of graduate school. For now, though, think about what you anticipate these barriers/obstacles to be (try to list at least 3 or 4 in the spaces provided), how you can address them, and how you can remind yourself to follow your plan. Write these solutions on the last page of the My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet as well. If you have chosen to limit or eliminate a negative coping strategy that you currently use, note this as well.
5. Make a commitment to yourself. Preparing a plan is important; it identifies your goals and the strategies to achieve them. However your success in implementing your plan is ultimately based on the level of genuine commitment you make to your own self-care. This kind of commitment is only possible when you recognize that your own health and well-being are essential and you acknowledge the importance of honoring yourself and your needs. If you find this to be a challenge, then take some time to explore your reservations. One reservation might be the tendency to put the needs of others first (a tendency that may be overrepresented among professional care providers). The truth is that your self-care is not only essential to your well-being (and that is a good enough reason in and of itself), but it is also a necessary precondition for you to be effective and successful in honoring your professional and personal commitments. Remember: Just like the flight attendant says, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can be of help to others. So, take a moment, think it over, and then make your personal commitment to your own self-care. You deserve it!
(Prepared by Lisa D. Butler, PhD, based in part on materials provided by Sandra A. Lopez, LCSW, ACSW, University of Houston, Graduate School of Social Work)
PARTS 3 will be posted before New Years Day.