While learning to help your patients be healthy and show them compassion, be sure to make your own health and self-care a priority, too.
Engaging in specific self-care practices can improve your well-being. For example: Notice the positives in your life. Being sure to notice what is positive is a practice that can help build a positive mood and cultivate hope.
Self Care Self Assessment
Mindful Self-Care Scale – A validated and standardized tool for assessing the variety and frequency of self-care strategies. Offered by Catherine Cook-Cottone, Ph.D.
Definition: Self-compassion, like compassion for others, involves noticing suffering, feeling moved by and caring about that suffering, and offering understanding and kindness. To give yourself compassion involves not judging yourself or others harshly, but instead, considering our common humanity (Neff, 2020). Self-compassion is important when dealing with disappointments and setbacks, which inevitably do occur in medicine and medical training (Bird, 2020).
Bird Amber, Tomescu Oana, Oyola Sonia, Houpy Jennifer, Anderson Irsk, Pincavage Amber. A Curriculum to Teach Resilience Skills to Medical Students During Clinical Training. MedEdPORTAL. 2020;16:10975. doi:10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10975. PMID: 33015355 PMCID: PMC7526502.
Neff K. Definition and Three Elements of Self Compassion | Kristin Neff. Self-Compassion. 2020.
Notice the Good in Your Life to Cultivate Positive Mood and Hope
Positive psychology has found that intentionally noticing positive experiences in your life, spending time thinking about them, and expressing gratitude for them has many positive benefits. Increasing the time spent thinking about them often results in improved mood, more positive experiences, better health, and more resilience. Spending a few minutes regularly to think about positive and personally relevant topics results in preferred mental states, such as a better mood or more self-confidence.
Activity: Make a list of what sustains you (Bird et al., 2020).
Examples of possible sustaining experiences:
- In life outside of school: People, community, “me” time, hobbies/passions, interests, creative outlets, spiritual/religious/mindfulness practices
- In your clinical work and studies: School, peers/mentors/staff, patients and their families, yourself.