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K-State Today

March 24, 2021

Working Wildcats: Self-Care

Submitted by Human Capital Services

Human Capital Services shares the second article in the Working Wildcats campaign offering helpful tips on self-care. Managing self-care is critical to overall health and well-being, enabling success in a well-balanced lifestyle.

In a webinar hosted by the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources, or CUPA-HR, titled "Self-Care for Personal and Professional Success," presented by Alex Yannacone, University of Colorado School of Medicine, self-care is defined as a holistic approach to ensuring personal well-being in six areas: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, relationship and workplace. Individuals who practice self-care reap the benefits of balance between personal life and the workplace. Self-care promotes energy, overall health and positive relationships which translates to happier employees, reduced absenteeism and increased productivity in the workplace, even during difficult times. Whereas self-care promotes energy, stress can lead to a loss of energy and eventual burnout. Indicators of stress include over-reactive emotions, a sense of urgency and over-engagement. Damage caused by stress is mostly physical in nature while damage from burnout is emotional. With burnout, disengagement and a loss of motivation are prevalent.

Establishing a base-line for self-care is an important first step in developing a balanced lifestyle. Take a proactive approach to self-care by engaging in self-reflection and developing a preventative plan through the following steps:

  1. Identify situations of high stress or burnout and work to recognize the warning signs, approach taken, resulting experience, and any improvements that can be made.
  2. Follow-up by recognizing areas of improvement by completing a self-care assessment.
  3. Identify current habits and areas of success as well as areas that need to be developed further.
  4. Lastly, create positive habits that will further strengthen areas of personal well-being.

Creating a self-care plan will provide a road-map toward a balanced lifestyle. This plan specifically defines current strategies for managing stress and well-being, identifies activities for future use, lists obstacles which prevent practicing good habits and helps to discover solutions to negate obstacles. Stress and negative life-triggers occur often and frequently without warning. Practicing self-care can assist in navigating multiple life-stressors.

Scott Degan, physical therapist at Lafene Health Center explains why self-care is important for him:

“Self-care is something I have to prioritize, otherwise it’s too easy to push it aside. I find that it helps to prioritize it if I make it a habit. Exercising right after I get home from work instead of turning on the TV, going to bed at the same time each night, setting aside time to do the hobbies I enjoy, etc. If I stay consistent with those self-care habits, then it’s easier to get back on track after those hectic days where my schedule is thrown off.”

How are you practicing self-care? HCS encourages you to take a picture and share your response on social media and use the #workingwildcats hashtag. As a reminder, these articles are archived on the HCS website.