Taking Care of Yourself When You Are Taking Care of Others
Try to leave work at work and make time in your life to do something you enjoy
By Carla Brink, Representative
You work hard taking care of residents, clients, and customers and looking after their needs. The dedication, persistence, and strength that you continue to show in sometimes very difficult circumstances is amazing.
Being professional when all types of things are thrown at you—unfortunately, sometimes literally!—is not easy, especially when you are also dealing with personal responsibilities, such as taking care of family, friends in need, and people in your community.
With all the often-stressful obligations and responsibilities, self care is often left off the list. But it is important to take care of yourself to continue to have the energy to deal with the realities of life.
Recently, I read about a Swedish tradition called Fika, which is a break from activity to drink coffee, eat cake (or other snacks), and relax with others. It reflects their cultural tradition of slowing down to appreciate the small joys of life.
Workplaces in Sweden have their own Fika breaks during the work day. Our workplaces all have scheduled breaks, of course, but over the last two years, we have been missing some of the positive community effects that having breaks together brings.
COVID restrictions have brought in plexiglass partitions and limited food-sharing opportunities. Hopefully, over the next few months, some of those opportunities will come back.
For now, try to leave work at work and make time in your life to do something you enjoy. Schedule a coffee date with a friend. Read an old favourite book. Spend some time sitting outside with your favourite beverage. Turn everything off and tune everything out for a short period of time. Go for a walk on a sunny day. Have a nap or head to bed early to catch up on some much-needed rest—and don’t feel guilty about it! You need to take care of yourself too.
As American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”