Thursday, March 22, 2012

Self-Care for the Birth Professional - How to NOT Feel Guilty!

I was alot like you.
I didn't feel like I deserved to rest, let alone be pampered.
I didn't take time for myself.
I felt so guilty when even a little pampering happened.

Then it came like a bolt out of the blue.  Signs of impending burn-out.

You know the effects of stress on a person's mental and physical self.  And it can affect YOU as well as those for which you care.  The key is to recognize that you need self-care BEFORE it becomes an issue.

And no - it is NOT pampering.  It is taking care of one's self.

Lisa Chu MD, writing for, identifies five major self-care points.  You can read her whole blog entry by clicking here.

Chu's five self-care points include:

1. Setting defined boundaries.

2. Move from the reactive state to the creative mode.  Setting intentions for the day and meditation may sound like hippie-speak but those techniques DO work!

3. Listen to your body, your intuition and your felt experience.  To me, this meant slowing down and not trying to multi-task.  Taking time, and "smelling the flowers".  Half of the time we don't even SEE the flowers, let alone smell them!

4. Find out what restores you.  No, it is not a nap or watching your favorite TV show.  Leave the email go and don't succumb to your smart phone.  If this is hard, try it for an hour.  Then work your way up to 2-3 hours.  Read a book, do a craft, take a walk in a park, taking a soothing bath with candles and zen-like music.  Get a massage! Take a yoga class or art class.  The results may amaze you.

5. Give yourself permission to feel good, and want what you want.  As birth professionals, we are constantly caring for others, often at the expense of time for ourselves.   We tell ourselves we don't have time for that pedicure, that it is a waste of time and money - and who really sees our feet anyway.  We see our feet every day and if it makes you smile to see that bright color and nail art on your big toe, then it was worth it!

Find a special place, too, that can be your go-to place for self-care.  I have a gazebo on our deck - it cost about $100 at Big Lots.  I have decorated it with tiny white (Christmas) lights, flowers, and wind chimes.  When I need to escape, even a little, I leave all electronics inside and go outside.  The soft breezes and birds chirping help to make all of the stress float away on those breezes.  You can find your place too.  Set that as an intention for the rest of the month - finding your go-to place!

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