Working with people in a helping role can be stressful. Add a pandemic into the mix and we can find ourselves becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of issues that need to be dealt with.
Whether a counsellor supporting an individual to deal with addiction issues, or a social worker helping a young person make informed choices, helping professionals can often find themselves dedicating all their energy to caring for those around them at the cost of their own wellbeing.
As a result of not caring for ourselves, we can compromise the quality of care we provide to others.
Below is a list of resources and reading for anyone interested in learning more about the importance of self-care and what it might look like in practice.
- As part of our ISSUP webinar series, we were lucky enough to have Cary Hopkins Eyles, ICUDDR deputy director, conduct an online session on Authentic Self-Care for Addiction Professionals. In this webinar, Cary explains how to identify healthy and unhealthy traits, how we can care for ourselves, and what authentic self-care looks like. You can view the recorded video and access the presentation slides here.
- In this scientific statement, entitled Self‐Care for the Prevention and Management of Disease, the American Heart Association put forward their argument for the importance of self-care. The article is designed for health care professionals and provides clear definitions and techniques to monitor and manage your emotional wellbeing.
- At times, it can seem that every organisation has its own slightly different definition of self-care. This reduces clarity, quality within research and, most importantly, our ability to practice. In this study, researchers from the UK describe The Self-Care Matrix: A Unifying Framework for Self-Care, a model designed to incorporate all the elements of self-care into one definition.
- Acknowledging the importance of self-care is simple. However, putting it into practice is not always so easy. In Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself, Tchiki Davis, PhD describes the importance of self-care and provides 12 measures that you can put in place in order to take notice and care for your wellbeing.
- Professionals working with people with substance use issues often hear stories of hardship, abuse and trauma. As we listen and empathise it can be difficult not to be affected by the tales we hear. This is called vicarious trauma. In this fact sheet, you can find out more about the signs that indicate vicarious trauma.
- Organisations encourage their employees to practice self-care. Work and Well-Being: A Guide for Addiction Professionals is intended to assist agencies to create supportive work environments as well as provide guidance to employees on enhancing their own well-being.
- Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. This website provides information about the signs of burnout as well as ways to avoid reaching a point of exhaustion.
- The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) takes self-care seriously. Here you can access the slides from the webinar Practicing or Just Preaching? Self-Care for Addiction Professionals: Why It Counts and How to Do It that was presented by David Mee-Lee, MD and Dr. Deborah Teplow.