Healthcare careers carry a high risk of burnout even at the best of times. COVID-19 has amplified the stresses of healthcare work beyond what most of us could have ever imagined and has showed us more than ever how significant it is to take care of your mental, physical and emotional health. As a physician assistant student in healthcare, I have already been thinking about the importance of taking care of yourself. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of your patients. Here are 5 tips to connect back to yourself.
- Check in with yourself. Listen to your body. Trust your gut and intuition, you know your body better than anybody else does.
- Take a break from technology. Drink water, stretch, breathe, sleep. Spend time in nature. Disconnect when needed. Move your body and nourish it with what it needs. Dress up, even if it’s just for yourself. Indulge in your favorite activity. Watch that show you love. Evaluate what self care means to you, then practice it. Do not judge yourself, allow yourself to just be.
- Set boundaries for yourself. Say no when things do not resonate with you. Don’t neglect yourself trying to please other people. You are ultimately hurting yourself. Honor yourself and your needs. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
- Forgive yourself and move forward. Surrender to perfection, it is not real. You are not perfect, no one is. We are all human.
- Give yourself a break. Slow down. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is more productive than partaking in something while being mentally checked out. Get quiet from distractions and connect back to yourself. You do not need to be going full speed all the time.
Learn to be present for yourself, fully present. Be present for your thoughts and emotions. Listen to your body. Value yourself. Who you are, what you think and feel. Be fully present for others too. Be present for their spirits and their emotions. And if you are present for yourself, then you’ll know how much presence to give to others.
Melissa Lilian Elist is currently a physician assistant student at University of California, Davis, cohort of 2021. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and an emphasis in Disability Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. She is a preventative care advocate and is very proactive in mindfulness, consciousness, and self-love. You can find Melissa on Instagram @melissaelist and reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org