Quick career tips: Make time for self-care in your career

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Today’s career tip is to make time for self-care in your career!

As much as we here at PH SPOT love talking about building a fulfilling career in public health, we recognize that doing so is not as easy as it seems and that making time for self-care is an essential part of this process.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why self-care is essential and should be prioritized for public health professionals
  • Examples of what to do for self-care
  • Benefits of self-care

Featured on the Show:

Other Resources:

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:02
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us Weekly right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva from PH SPOT.

Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining me today on another episode of PH SPOTlight, a space for you and me and everyone else in public health to share our stories and inspire each other. My name is Sujani Siva, the host of PH SPOTlight, and I’m here to help you build your public health career.

So as much as we hear at PH SPOT love talking about building a fulfilling career in public health, we recognize that doing so is not as easy as it seems. As rewarding as career winds are, the reality is that paving a career path requires us to devote a lot of time, energy and resources to meeting our goals, which can often take a toll on our mental and physical health. And sometimes this can take the form of burnout or sickness or mental distress, and it can really set us back when it comes to achieving the goals. We were so intent on meeting. And so that’s why making time for self care is so important as you work hard on building your career in public health. And that’s why today’s Quick Career Tip podcast episode is about exactly that.

So you’ve definitely heard the term self care at some point over the past few years, it’s increasingly become a buzzword that’s plastered all over social media. But you know, rightfully so, right? Because we need that glaring reminder to really pause, step away from the demands of everyday life and make some time for the things that help our body, mind and heart feel replenished and rejuvenated. So self care is also an excellent way of addressing whatever it is that you need the most. And a means of reflecting on who you are, where you currently are and where you want to go. And that self care can really look like anything to different people. So I know what you’re thinking and you’re in you’re probably thinking, okay, Sujani what does this actually tangibly look like? So, honestly, like I said, self care can take on so many different forms and can be catered to your unique interest. So for example, for some people, self care may look like taking breaks to rest, which can include soaking up some alone time on a weekend. This is exactly what I love doing, for example, or using their vacation days to relax and try new experiences. It can also look like stepping away from your desk and laptop screen and stretching and walking around a bit during the day. Or maybe it’s just mountain biking through a beautiful trail, right? So being intentional in making time to step away from the busyness of life and immersing yourself in something you enjoy can truly make a world of a difference in how you feel whether you notice it immediately or not. Aside from rest for some people, self care looks like setting goals and mapping out a path for how these goals will be achieved. We talk a lot about goal setting here PH SPOT because it’s key to carving out your career. But beyond career goals, I’d also encourage you to take some time to reflect and map out other types of life goals as what- as well as you know, friendship, life experiences, you want to try out financial goals, and the likes. And of course, setting lofty goals might leave you feeling a bit more overwhelmed. So to manage those feelings, you should break down the large goals into smaller goals. And for each goal, setting timelines for when you want to ideally achieve it and how you will get there and whose help you might need in order to meet those goals will also reduce that anxiety and overwhelm. Right? So goal setting is another form of self care on your public health career journey.

And another example is setting boundaries and saying no. You might find yourself balancing competing demands at certain points in your life. And you might get so overwhelming that the traditional types of self care that once grounded you are no longer working. So reflect on why that might be the case. Have you accepted too many assignments at work? Are people in your life demanding more time and energy that you can give them? Have you been unable to say no to the things you really want to say no to? If so be intentional in setting boundaries and vocalize them to those around you. In doing so you’ll feel more at ease less stress, and will likely have more time to devote to the things that ground and recharge you. Alongside setting boundaries, consider asking for help when things get too overwhelming. And be prepared to accept that help when it’s offered to you. It’s also important that you set up a healthy support system so that when you do find yourself losing sight of your goals, as you’re building your political career, you have the right people to lean on for comfort and support. So these might be your loved ones, friends, or mentors who remind you of who you are, and stand by you when things get challenging. These people aren’t always that easy to come by. So when you do find them, invest some time and energy in strengthening your relationships, so that they can be there for you when you really need them. And make sure you’re connecting regularly with these individuals and that you speak about the things other than work and your career when you’re in each other’s presence, because that’s going to truly build a lasting relationship. And so being around these individuals that you build these lasting relationship with should offer a refreshing mental break from everything else that you’re dealing with.

And, you know, the importance of good sleep exercise, mindfulness practice, and a balanced diet also can’t be understated. They are the original forms of self care. And when you manage to incorporate them into your daily routine, you feel a shift in your mood and overall well being. But I do have to say that the most important form of self care is simply being kind to yourself. When we’re in the midst of building our career, we tend to be our harshest critic, this often stifles us and makes it harder to move forward. Because we’re so fixated on succeeding, remember to take a breather, and remind yourself that you’re doing all you can, at this point in time to meet your goals. So essentially, you want to be your own cheerleader.

Okay, so that was, you know, a lot of examples. And you’re probably wondering, what’s the point of all of this self care. And, you know, there’s many benefits. And ultimately, what self care does is it helps you stay focused on your larger goals. It helps prevent and treat burnout, it helps to keep your immune system healthy, and improve yourself compassion, right, you know, you might find yourself in a period of being unmotivated, and not wanting to really work on anything. And at times, the reason is probably that you’re, you know, not getting enough rest, you’re burnt out. And that’s a good indication that perhaps you need to put aside everything, and focus on yourself. Give yourself that self care in whatever form that may be, you know, the, the best example I’ve heard was that, for one person, it can be sleep and another person, it can be a very tough mountain biking trail, that’s self care for them. So whatever your form of self care is, it’s really going to benefit you and help you get back into feeling rejuvenated. And you’re going to be able to give yourself more, you’re going to be able to work on your goals, and you’re going to be able to work in public health to help others in a way that, you know, really energizes you, right? And so that saying that goes, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others is very true. And so my challenge for you here today is for you to really assess whether this is a good time for you to focus on yourself. Really schedule in some self care, take care of yourself. And then once you do, you will find that you’re going to be feeling so much better, feeling ready to succeed in anything, and really tackle your goals, whatever they may be. So I hope you enjoyed that episode spotlighting this Career Tip for this week.

And before you leave, I wanted to let you know that PH SPOT is offering a very unique hands on program to empower public health professionals, graduate students with the mindset, the community and the skills to build their dream public health careers. You know, we initially titled it as a career program. We are speaking to individuals who have gone through our career program, we are going to make improvements to this program. And we’re going to come back with something that just doesn’t exist out there for public health professionals. And I don’t have too many details yet. But I do want you to, you know, subscribe to the waitlist at pHspot.org/program. And once you do, and once we have all of the details available for this program, we will definitely share that through that email and of course, through this podcast. So make sure you do that because I’m super excited to bring this program to you. It’s going to be very different from the courier program that we had initially spoken about. And I’m working with so many great individuals to bring this to our community and I can’t wait to launch it and yeah, so get yourself on the waitlist phspot.org/program. And I’ll see you over there, as well as on the next episode of PH SPOTlight. And as always, thank you so much for the great work that you do in public health, and I will see you on the next episode.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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