Welcome to the blog 🙂 I’m so excited to dive deeper into self-care in our health professions with you! This blog is about giving back to ourselves in the same ways we give to our clients, which I believe is needed now more than ever. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a study conducted by Lieberman, Raisor-Becker, Sotto, and Redle in 2018 found that an overwhelming percentage of SLP graduate students experience moderate to high levels of stress. From my own experience and that of those I love and work with, I believe a lot of this stress starts with the internal and external pressures we face as we work to get into grad school, succeed as a grad student, and then continue on as a clinician, often being rewarded by stretching ourselves and our schedules thin. We’re shifting that mindset here! On this blog, I’ll provide practical tools that will allow you to better understand and advocate for your well-being.
Self-care comes in so many forms and truly looks different for everyone: you’re unique, so your self-care will be, too! Check out this picture breakdown.
When I first saw this picture, I quickly identifed ways that I already show up for myself, as well as ways in which I can still grow, both personally and as an SLP. For example, I’ve historically prioritized sleep and time management, but setting boundaries and asking for help when I need it? That takes a lot more self-awareness, patience, and practice. Starting these conversations with ourselves allows us to gain a fuller understanding of what self-care looks like for each of us and, on this blog, I’ll explore common strategies that have worked for me and my fellow SLPs.
Where? Wherever you are!
Good news: self-care practices are portable. I wish I could light those classic candles, make a hot cup of tea, and take a bubble bath wherever I wanted but, unfortunately, this isn’t considered “practical” (and violates most agreed-upon social norms!). Thankfully, like speech therapy, one of the most fulfilling parts about self-care becomes the carryover: we can cultivate calm from within so that, regardless of where we are, our self-care will be there, too. Maybe your deep breaths, self-love, and mental resets start on your yoga mat or in your journal, but they can then generalize to the time in-between clinic sessions, the drives home after work, or even in the midst of those Wednesday morning temper tantrums in your preschool classroom. This is what we’re aiming for in this community!
When? Both when we think we need it and when we think we don’t.
I can’t tell you the number of times my to-do list has felt like miles long and I’ve sat in the same spot on autopilot doing work and more work for hours and hours on end (sound familiar?). While this practice may feel productive, ultimately, it’s not sustainable. Truly, I’ve found that when I take periodic breaks and consistently return to self-care to recharge, my work is both better and I’m able to keep it up for the days, weeks, and months to come. When we make our self-care proactive, we’re setting ourselves up for successes that are not at the expense of ourselves.
Why? By giving myself these things, I’m better able to give them to my clients.
Self-care is not selfish– it’s the ultimate, long-term investment in both you and your clients’ wellbeing. How can I have the stamina to last long clinic days if I don’t give my body rest? How can I grow as a clinical fellow if I don’t ask for help when I need it? How can I counsel clients and families with emotional maturity, compassion, and kindness if I don’t even talk that way to myself? These questions matter, you matter, and all will be explored on this blog.
Ready to get started? 🙂
For Further Reading:
Lieberman, Rochel; Raisor-Becker, Lesley; Sotto, Carney; and Redle, Erin (2018) “Investigation of Graduate Student Stress in Speech Language Pathology,” Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders: Vol. 2 : Iss. 2 , Article 6. DOI: doi.org/10.30707/TLCSD2.2Lieberman