Self-Care Survival Guide: Your Well-Being is Worth It!
By Hillary Landry
Hillary Landry leads a group of Natchaug employees in gentle stretching.
Photo by Jeff Evans
As the well-being manager for Hartford HealthCare, I try to walk the wellness talk as much as possible. As frontline and sideline players, both during and after the pandemic, we all need a time-out for ourselves. Here are some of my favorite self-care treats:
• I start and end my day outside. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and daylight, even for a few minutes, does wonders for my mood.
• I leave work at work. I wash my hands and say, “Enough is enough for today.” There will always be one more thing to do. Allowing yourself to be ok with what you accomplished for the day can help you enjoy your down time.
• I check in with my squad. Group text or FaceTime with friends. We all have a basic human need for connection with those who share our experiences. Supporting each other in small ways helps us feel cared for and understood, even in difficult times.
• I move. Even if it is only for five or 10 minutes, exercise or movement can help boost my energy, help me feel less stressed and sometimes get the creative juices flowing to generate new ideas. Take a quick walk around the office, climb the stairs, stand up and stretch or do a few jumping jacks in place. I try to do something every hour if I can.
• I say no. Many of us “Yessers” out there have a hard time saying no. Creating healthy boundaries and delegating when appropriate can feel freeing. Having too many commitments or too much on your plate can take a toll on your well-being.
• I read. A book with pages! Particularly fiction or mystery. It’s a way to be transported to a different world and it takes my mind off of day-to-day stressors. Audiobooks are a great alternative if you have a long commute or prefer to listen to the story.
• I drink water. A lot of water. Staying hydrated helps my whole body, especially my energy and joints. Plain water isn’t always my favorite so I add fruit, veggies and sometimes herbs. Lemon, cucumber and mint is my favorite combination. Divide your body weight by two and that’s how many ounces you need per day.
• I am my own cheerleader. I write words, phrases or lyrics down on post-it notes and put them on my bathroom mirror, my computer monitor or I share them on my huddle board. We all need positive reinforcement.
• I use the End-of-Day checklist. It helps me bring closure to my day and be more present with my family. The checklist includes: looking in the mirror and being proud of the work I did; considering three things that went well; acknowledging one difficulty and, without judgment, letting it go; asking myself if I am okay; and choosing to switch my attention to home to rest and recharge.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. We need it to take better care of each other and our patients. Practice it, role model it, support it!