This week it’s Self Care Week, which focuses on educating people about self care and helping people to practice it. It’s about understanding the importance of prioritising your mental health and wellbeing, and how you can manage this.
The Self Care Forum has been organising this annual national awareness week since 2011, and define self care as:
“The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.”
As a healthcare provider, we see first hand just how self care can impact someone’s recovery from injury or illness, and how proactive self care can help prevent health issues.
Work Rate and Management
Work stress isn’t going away any time soon. According to The Global Burn Out Study 2022, employee burnout has increased by over 5% in the last 12 months. Factors including workload, management style and poor work/life balance due to homeworking as a result of COVID all contribute to work related stress.
The art of self care is important here, starting with recognising when you, or your employees, or your colleagues are feeling stressed. Tell-tale signs, according to the HSE, include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling the need to take time off
- Lack of punctuality
- Mood swings
- Being withdrawn
- Loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
- Increased emotional reactions – feeling tearful, sensitive or angry.
The second is to recognise the impacts of certain lifestyle choices that could be exacerbating the situation – things like an unhealthy diet, too much alcohol, smoking and not enough exercise.
For employers, a health solution such as onsite assessment days where employees can drop in and receive a confidential health check can really help employees understand their health and take action to address their lifestyle to improve it. This is self care.
Self care and recovery
Following injury or illness self care is hugely important when it comes to recovery. Reducing stress is key to this, as the physiological effects of ongoing stress can make it difficult for the body to regulate inflammation. This can then affect the recovery process.
Any stress experienced following an injury of accident will vary from person to person, but could be brought on by:
- No being able to carry out their usual daily activities of living
- Not being able to go back to work
- Feeling angry, depressed or anxious as a result of injury/trauma
- Financial pressure
- Lack of social support.
Self care after injury or illness might include:
- Talking to someone about worries or just expressing how you feel, whether that be a friend, a family member or a professional
- Exercising in a way that supports recovery and is appropriate to the level of injury or illness
- Practicing mindfulness or meditation – just the act of being ‘present’ and not acting on or paying attention to negative thoughts can really help
- Eating well and making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to help your body recover
Following traumatic injury, there will often be a case manager involved who can support the individual with reducing stress and help them to actively manage it themselves. They may:
- Organise psychological support such as therapy and counselling
- Support the individual with gentle exercise to help improve mood
- Encourage the right nutrition and help them to plan and maintain a healthy diet
Case managers will also put various support, interventions and treatments in place so that the individual can focus on getting better. These resources, tools and solutions can soften the triggers of stress that negatively impact recovery and allow the individual to focus on self care.
If you’d like to understand more about the ways in which HCML can support people with personal injuries or provide assessment, advice and treatment for workplace health and wellbeing, get in touch on 020 8649 8006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
 CIPD, 2021