When it comes to providing care for others, self-care should be at the top of your priority list. Self-care is defined as taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. It includes everything you do to stay healthy and maintain your energy levels. Unfortunately, it's often the first thing to go when life gets tough, whether due to health problems, financial issues, job loss, divorce, or the current pandemic.
That's why it's important to make self-care a priority and not an afterthought. Caring for someone with intellectual or developmental disabilities can be both challenging and rewarding. However, it can also take a toll on your health if you don't take care of yourself. Research shows that taking care of yourself allows you to better care for and relate to others. Proper nutrition, healthy sleep and exercise routines, and taking time to rest are all essential for maintaining the energy you need. Self-awareness is also key when it comes to self-care.
This is defined as the ability to combine self-knowledge with an understanding of the patient's needs. This is especially important for medical professionals who are dealing with personal and professional stress factors. There are several strategies that can help mitigate these effects, such as prioritizing close relationships, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, encouraging recreational activities and hobbies, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and pursuing spiritual development. A comprehensive review of graduate medical education competencies revealed a shortage of competencies in the area of symptom management and communication skills related to end-of-life care. Fortunately, there are self-care strategies in both the personal and professional spheres with proven benefits to mitigate the effects of exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and moral distress.