How Self Care Impacts Service Delivery

In my career, I have worked at about 10 different agencies and collaborated with about twice that many. I have done this over a 24 year period of time. In all of my interactions at various levels of involvement, it has been clear to see those professionals who stand out in their ability to connect with others in such a way that those “others” want to do better in life.

I have been curious as to what makes a person have the ability to generate a desire to change for the more positive in those they are around. As I reflect back on conversations to this affect, it seems that there is a common theme. Those who can impact others have something to offer, and what they have, in my assessment is a more accurate understanding of who they are, what their limitations are and where they fit in, in life. They have been able to come to this place in their lives by ongoing self examination, knowing when to do less and developing an element of self acceptance in their lives.

These are all very nice words, but it was the concrete interactions I observed which sparked my interest. As I have explored this over the years, it has become clear to me that there is a lot of work to do on myself in the area of having an element of “ok-ness” with me and thereby be able to offer it to those around me. The questions that give me information about how ok I am with me are:
1. What do I experience when I have nothing to do?
2. What goes on when I am not distracted by a task list, electronics, another person or anything at all?
3. What does my brain do when all is quiet and I am the only one there?

It is my belief that if I am comfortable with what I think and how I feel in these situations and others just like them and I spend time in self reflection and self examination of myself, then I have something to offer irrespective of whether I am a Direct Support Professional, Executive, Administrator, Housekeeper, Therapist or Support Staff. If people are more invested in what they bring to the job, there are numerous positive outcomes such as: therapy is insightful, meetings are more productive, administrative tasks are easier, co-workers come prepared and accountability is in action.

I can’t give something away that I don’t have. Education, knowledge and training are important, but relationships are where the healing takes place and that is what we do at Grafton. As we care for ourselves, without distractions, we have more to offer in the workplace. In addition to reflection and self examination, it is worthwhile to engage in the following on a regular basis:
• Strive for a healthy balance between work and play
• Pursue self-enhancing activities
• Focus on the here and now
• Identify what you are grateful for each and every day