Practicing Self-Care as a Caregiver

Many of our staff members at Indian Creek Foundation work in a direct care setting with individuals in our Residential Program, Day Program, and Behavioral Health Services. These positions are both highly rewarding and very demanding. There are physical, mental, and emotional components to each day, and our staff members take their jobs very seriously. We also have quite a bit of joy and laughter in this job, which we embrace and share with each other.

In a profession where direct care for others affects so many people, it is vital to make sure that we take care of ourselves. At ICF, we rely on each other’s commitment to good health so that we can all come to work every day feeling like our best selves. Self-care is a topic of discussion throughout our campus. Everyone from our Leadership Team to our Behavioral Health Clinicians, to our Direct Support Professionals, to our Administrative Assistants is encouraged to practice it in their daily lives.

Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care means different things to different people. Some people define it as taking time out for fun or relaxing activities, while others think of it in terms of physical or mental health maintenance. Once someone defines what self-care means to them, they should think about whether those actions really do make them feel fulfilled, energized, and healthy.

There is a saying that you cannot pour from an empty bucket. Self-care fills a person’s bucket so that they can pour into other people in their lives. When we spend all of our time and energy caring for others, there is nothing left to care for ourselves, and we burn out.

Self-care is not just being indulgent to our own wants. It is the very thing that allows us to care for others on a daily basis. We simply must continually fill our own buckets.

What are Some Examples of Self-Care?

The following ideas for self-care are meant to prompt your own creativity. Not every example works for every person. The great thing about experimenting with self-care is that you will find a number of different ways to refill your own bucket both meaningfully and just for fun.

Leisure time – spending time in hobbies, going to the movies, reading, collecting, shopping, or going on vacation helps you relax and decompress.

Health maintenance – make sure to exercise, eat healthy, drink water, visit your doctors, and address any health or pain concerns to keep yourself in good physical health for your job and to enjoy a high quality of life.

Mental/emotional care – enjoy social time, work with a counselor, attend worship services, or join a support group to prioritize your own mental and emotional well-being.

Learn to say no – caregivers are often people pleasers who have a hard time saying no, but stretching yourself too thin leads to fatigue and burnout. If something does not fit your schedule, or would pull you away from something else (even downtime!), get comfortable saying no without any guilt.

Self-advocate – everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect. If someone is harming you, report it through the proper channels at work (or law enforcement for non-work issues).

Continued learning – pursue your personal and professional interests through classes, workshops, and other learning opportunities.

Care for Yourself to Care for Others

Caregivers are among the most compassionate people on earth, and they need to apply that compassion to themselves as much as those they care for! At Indian Creek Foundation, we strive to maintain a positive work culture where everyone feels valued and able to take good care of themselves.

If you enjoy caring for others, have patience, a big heart, and love working with a great team of other caregivers, consider joining us at Indian Creek Foundation. We are hiring in many direct care positions, and our employees enjoy competitive pay, excellent benefits, career growth opportunities, and encouragement to practice self-care. Visit our Careers page to view all of our current openings.