Dr. Susan Love knows a thing or two about healthcare challenges. In fact, as a surgeon and cancer research advocate, she is regarded as one the most respected women’s health specialists in the United States. And what’s her advice? “Take care of yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically so that you can take care of the world.” And it doesn’t matter if you are a doctor or an office worker, we all have people in our world that we need to take care of. We all have people who are counting on us during these crazy times. And if we are going to be there for them, we have to take care of ourselves- mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Mentally- The words that role through your mind are important. They shape your perception, which causes you to have certain feelings, which directly correlate to your attitude and actions. If you focus on the negative, you will see the world through a fearful lens which will then guide your interactions with patients, co-workers, and family. If, instead, you make the decision to only use self-talk that focuses on love, gratitude, or how you can improve the situation in spite of the circumstances, your actions will perpetuate optimism, faith, and hope. While it isn’t easy, you do have control over what you think and what you say. Pay attention to your thoughts. Watch you word choice. Take charge of your attitude and make the current situation a little brighter for yourself and someone else.
Spiritually- Spiritual self-care is the act of connecting to and nurturing your true self. Many people achieve this through attending religious services, observing cultural traditions, or studying religious texts. In the broader sense it can also be experienced by spending time in nature, creating or enjoying art and music, or even writing in a journal. There is no one right way to feed your spirit, but taking even a few minutes each day to do so increases the clarity and focus you will have when it is time to help others.
Physically- Our body is the vessel that allows us to put our personal mission into action. If our physical health suffers, it doesn’t matter what we want to do, we won’t be able to be there when people need us. It is more important than ever that we begin implementing, or continue practicing, healthy habits. Prioritize sleep, find opportunities to move and stretch throughout the day, and keep healthy snacks in plain sight. You don’t have to be perfect or do everything at once. Choose one small change that you can make to be just a little healthier this week than you were last week and feel confident that your body will be there when you need it.
In closing, remember, keep your self-talk positive, spend a few minutes each day nurturing your soul, and help your body help you complete the tasks in your day so that you will be there when others need you