How do we advocate for ourselves? It starts with self-care.
Self-care is an intentional and proactive practice. It should help you grow as a person and as a professional.
The practice of self-care will lead us to a better version of ourselves which allows us to care for ourselves and for others better.
Daily routines, we all have them, right? Mine is simple, let me roll out of the shower to a cup of coffee in my favorite coffee cup and don’t talk to me until I am finished. It only takes about 20 minutes, but it is important to me to have this 20 minutes to myself before the day gets started.
I tell others my people skills are in the bottom of that coffee cup, but the truth is, MY time belongs to others after my coffee is finished so I advocate for myself for those 20 minutes each day.
As you build your self-care routine, make sure you include things that are working to intentionally take care of you instead of simply helping you to escape from a current stressor.
So, where do you start? Plans… as Activity Professionals, we are planners. Make 1 plan for home and 1 plan for work. What do you want to achieve in these plans? Look at realistic and attainable goals and approaches. What do you need from others to achieve these goals?
Find your voice! Have hard conversations, they call them hard for a reason. It is not easy to advocate and speak up for yourself! You must have a hard conversation with the people that you need the support from to achieve these goals. This could be your spouse, partner, children, or employer. Let’s call them your support partners, after all, you’re a team!
Tell your story to your support partners. What do you need from them to take better care of yourself? Also remember, you may need to be a support partner for someone. Lets learn from each other!
Self-care at home could be no interruptions for your 20 minute morning coffee, or one hour to read a book each day, help with housework or a hot soak in the bathtub uninterrupted.
Self-care at work could mean asking for one day each week designated as “no meetings day” which would allow an employee to catch up on work that has been sitting or pushed aside, maybe it’s one hour each week of uninterrupted time with your supervisor or your staff. Tell your supervisor what you need from them. Not what you think they want to hear, but what you actually NEED from them to do your job. It shouldn’t be a complaint session, but thoughtfully planned with your asks, your concerns, your solutions, and a reaffirmation of your commitment to your employer.
Self-care at work can be working on your work/life balance and setting those boundaries needed by not taking work home or working off the clock. Yes, it helps you at the MOMENT, but we know it is not sustainable for life.
How about actually using the restroom when you first have the urge instead of an hour later because of other more important things happening in the moment? That usually happens on a daily basis, and we call that Activity Director Bladder!
Commit with your support partners for routine check ins. This could be once a month or once a week or even working it into your monthly meeting with your direct supervisor.
Also, check in with yourself! Evaluate how your plan is going. It’s YOUR plan! Edit, revise, add to it as needed. You are advocating for YOURSELF!
Last but most important, Celebrate the wins! No matter how large or small they may seem. A win is a win! This is a celebration of YOU, and you are worth it!
Kim Mead NAAP Leadership Team