Achieving Best Care starts with you: Top tips for practicing self-care

Jan 19, 2017, 17:30 PM by Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer, UTMB Health System

Happy goodAs we begin the new year in a positive manner and navigate the challenges we encounter along the road to achieving Best Care, it is important to remember that in addition to being positive with others and maintaining a focused and optimistic outlook, we also need to take care of ourselves. No one can go on endlessly doing for others without also recharging their own batteries. Follow these simple tips every day to feel re-energized:

  • Make a plan. Outside of work, take time to look at your daily activities and determine which ones help you feel happy. Schedule these activities in your calendar. If you plan them, you are more likely to actually have time for them.
  • Check-in. Ask yourself throughout the day how you’re feeling to see if your routine needs to be changed. Sometimes we forget to ask ourselves basic questions, such as “Am I tired?” or “Am I happy?”
  • Go for quality not quantity. You may not have three hours to spend on yourself at a spa, but when you get a 15-minute break, how do you use it? Instead of staring at your phone or watching TV, take a short walk or start reading a new book. Release your mind for a few moments and relax.
  • Just say “no.” If you’re taking on so many responsibilities that you’re left feeling drained, make a list of priorities. Whether you decline a social event or take a rain check, don’t feel bad saying “no” sometimes—it could be exactly what you need.
  • Take a timeout. Many of us sometimes become so dedicated to our work, we feel reluctant to take a vacation. However, if you don’t take breaks, you could eventually feel burned out and hurt your work performance. Working more does not mean you will maximize productivity. In fact, just the opposite is true.
  • Have some hobbies. What are you passionate about? Set aside an hour a week that is only ever to be used for those activities.
  • Journal. There are many ways to journal—you can write one sentence a day or keep a list of inspiring quotes. Reflecting on what happened in your day and how you’re feeling can help enhance your overall well-being in the process.
  • Focus on the present moment. Become more aware of your thinking. Are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this and practice mindfulness to bring yourself back to the present.
  • Laugh it up. Never underestimate the benefits of laughter! It releases a flood of endorphins that boost your mood and is great for stress reduction. Surround yourself with family and friends or go see a good movie, and have a good laugh!