With fall quickly approaching we thought it would be a good time for us to share information from our “Summer Self-Care Check In” community survey.
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who completed our survey! Sharing our experiences with one another (even in an anonymous survey) is one step towards developing a greater sense of connection and community. Belonging to a community of supportive, encouraging, like-minded women can go a long way in helping us take those often difficult and even uncomfortable steps towards improved self-care.
Yep, that’s right, self-care often means doing things that make us uncomfortable - like setting boundaries, raising fees, etc. So having a team of cheerleaders can really help us keep doing the uncomfortable things until they become more comfortable.
As for the summer survey results: Community members told us they expected to continue to engage in a mix of virtual and in-person services or exclusively virtual services. In regards to self-care plans within the work context, respondents indicated intentions to make (or sustain) several changes to their work schedule and practices, including seeing less people in a day, increasing fees, increasing breaks between clients, implementing cancellation policies, taking on new responsibilities, engaging in specific continuing education, no longer working with a particular client population or niche, and taking more vacation time. (Again, great examples of doing the uncomfortable!)
In terms of self-care practices outside the work setting, the most popular plans included increasing attention to diet/hydration, sleep, and incorporating regular meditation/mindfulness practices, followed by scheduling time for creative pursuits, time with family, and time for other enjoyable activities.
If you’re at all like us, you can probably relate to a lot of the self-care changes and plans identified by the members who completed our survey. They all make perfect sense, right? So, why is it then that we often continue to struggle in various ways to put these things in place?
In their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle (2019), Emily and Amelia Nagoski make a compelling argument that we are not the problem (phew!) but rather we’re just playing a game that’s rigged, and not in our favour. According to these authors, the “Human Giver Syndrome — the contagious belief that you have a moral obligation to give every drop of your humanity in support of others, no matter the cost to you” (p. 102) – plays a big role in rigging the game.
So what's the solution? Build a supportive community of female mental health professionals who encourage and support one another in playing a game with new rules! One where it’s okay for us to take care of ourselves and put more of ourselves into our days.
Interested in taking a step in that direction? Stay tuned for details about how you can join us for an upcoming workshop where we will have the chance to reflect, reset and re-write the rules on self-care!