Advocating for Self-Care

The reality we face as empathetic, hardworking, public health advocates: Burn out.

Fresh out of college I was fortunate to enter my career in a grant writing/youth development role and adjunct instructor position for a local community college. My “passion pants” as I like to call them, were proudly worn each day along with my many hats.

A year into my career, I was charged with redeveloping a program to align with healthier eating guidelines and a progressive health focused curriculum. I faced a lot of resistance to change. My “passion pants” lost their inflation and the hats felt heavy.

Fast forward through a transitional period of moving and growing my family. I mustered up my excitement for a new position where in the first month, my passion and excitement were quickly again stifled. I was told “Don’t worry you’ll be jaded soon, just give it 9 months.” I was devastated that this was the attitudinal culture of my workplace, what I thought was the greatest thing to happen to me in my career. This meme was entirely relatable.

In many workplaces, there is an absence of ease, or a “dis-ease,” that is caused by many contributing factors, including lack of self-care and stress that affects the culture of many workplaces, especially the public service sector. The dis-ease, if not tended to, can infect the work culture, slowly suffocating creativity, drive, and confidence.

So how do we ward of this dis-ease in the way we would any other public health crisis? Using holistic mind-body techniques has always encouraged me to take self-care. For example taking time to move each hour, listen to sound therapy and meditations, and utilize paid and sick time off for maintaining wellness before the weight becomes too heavy.

Inspirational Speaker, Shannon Cohen, professional strategist for reigniting joy among leaders in the workforce, hit the nail on the head at the GLC SOPHE conference. She spoke about the importance of self-care and the overwhelming numbers of burn-out in the field of public health. Her words spoke loud and clear about how easy it is to care for others first before we take care for ourselves and our internal operations. I was reflecting and finding tears in my eyes for the relatable pain, but also the culminating message that brought a sense of hope. I immediately thought about the passion and hunger for change to create both healthier workplaces and communities among current students and professionals.

We must find authenticity, compassion, and mindfulness for ourselves each day. First look inward, identify strengths and work on growing those. In order to advocate for public health policies and healthier communities, we must first advocate for self-wellness.

Advocate for your own self-care & wellness

  • Sound therapy (endless free videos for stress reduction through brain wave reset)... Isochronic relaxation tones

  • There are numerous videos that serve different needs, playing constantly at my desk. I also use them to fall asleep...Get 8 hours of restful sleep... Isochronic sleep tones

  • BREATHE 4 second inhale, 7 second hold, 8 second hold.

  • Daily affirmations & meditations for strengthening self-esteem... Daily check-in tool

  • Yoga, stretch, move... Brett Larkin Chakra balancing yoga

  • Journal even if it is one word.