Sometimes we think that we’re doing enough for our self-care because we drank more water than usual for one day, we bookmarked the latest Instagram post from our favorite fitness guru, or we took a screenshot of some random wellness mantra that we’ll most likely never look at again. Although these are fine to do (I do them all so no judgement), we have to recognize when it’s time to do more.
We owe it ourselves to check in and be honest about where we really stand. That means paying attention to what our minds and bodies are telling us. Sometimes we just need a little bit of help with recognizing what we are being told. This is where the benefits of an assessment tool comes in.
Burnout is Real!
Last year, a wellness coach came to my job and shared a Self-Care Assessment tool during a training session. It was so helpful to use this tool to see where I truly stood in my self-care practice. As someone who works in the social services, a field where burnout is common, I was often feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and tired. A lot of that stemmed from my work-life balance (or imbalance) and challenges with how I was being managed – but that’s another story. Although I was taking some steps for self-care, it wasn’t cutting it.
I love helping people navigate resources and overcome challenges, it’s always been something that I’ve been good at and that passion has helped me to excel in my work. However, I was showing up almost every day for other people while putting myself in the backseat. At that time in my life, I was just transitioning to living alone for the very first time and trying to figure out who I am on my own terms. I always said that I’d do more things for my self-care once I had the space to do them. But it had already been a few months since I moved in and it felt like my routine was “eat, sleep, work, repeat.” So was I actually following through?
Have you been putting your self-care in the backseat of your life? Have you promised yourself to do a self-care routine that you haven’t yet started? Do you feel like there are ways that you can be doing better but are not sure what that looks like?
This simple assessment tool is divided into 5 categories: physical self-care, psychological self-care, emotional self-care, spiritual self-care, and workplace/professional self-care. Using the provided scale, you rate a subset of activities based on the frequency that you engage in them. This helped me to examine nearly every facet of my life and routine. I determined what I was doing – and not doing – and where work needed to be done. Some of the items on the assessment were things that I never even thought to include in my self-care practice or that I had been putting on a back burner. Needless to say, it was an eye opener.
This Tool Is For Everyone!
Since it’s been a bit over a year from when I first took the assessment, I decided to take it again to see how I’ve improved. And of course, because I love making a whole deal of it, I incorporated the tool as a wellness activity during a Self-Care Sunday with my boyfriend. We talked about how things were going for the both of us and what we aspired to work on. Some of his responses surprised me and motivated me to be more mindful of how I not only practice my own self-care but how I give space and encouragement to my loved ones to do the same.
So I say this to say, this activity is perfect to do with your partner, siblings, parents, friends, clients, or whoever. Even children! This tool is for everyone, no matter what age. If you have kids, you can use the tool to help demonstrate the importance of paying attention to our personal wellness and catering to it from childhood into adulthood. Even if there are items that they don’t exactly relate to (i.e. workplace/professional self-care), you can find ways to connect it to their personal experience.
For example, how can you aid them with incorporating self-care into their school life/routine? When we instill the importance of self-care practice into our youth, we plant a seed of wellness that will nourish and take root in the generations to come. We set the intention of well being for the communities that our children will be a part of. Conversely, what are some ways that we can help older family or community members maintain their self-care? One benefit of doing this with a loved one is that – if you feel comfortable sharing your results – you can have someone hold you accountable for what you need/want to work on and vice versa.
However, It is absolutely okay if you prefer to complete it independently. It’s a great exercise to do alone. Either way you choose, make sure that you have the time and space to be transparent about where you stand.
In comparing my two sheets, I noticed that I definitely began implementing things that I scored lower on last year. I set the intention to improve in all of the areas but especially with my emotional, spiritual, and psychological self-care. I have found that I am less stressed and less overwhelmed.
I am more at ease and at peace with things that I deeply struggled with a year ago. There are still some ways that I need to improve, such as my sleep hygiene. I am continuing to make efforts but it’s so hard! But I recognize that this is an area where I need to make more time for myself and that is the first step. Join me by downloading the tool below!
Remember that this tool is only a representation of possible self-care activities. It is not all-inclusive. Feel free to add anything that comes to mind as you take it. More importantly, no person is expected to be doing every single thing on the list – it’s just not realistic. So be easy on yourself.
Source: Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 389–399. Volk, K., Guarino, K., Grandin, M., & Clervil, R. (2008). What About You? A Workbook for Those Who Work with Others.
As we begin to experience increasing levels of stress and anxiety during these unpredictable times, it is so important that we are aware of ourselves, where we are at with our health and well being, and what work needs to be done. I’d also like to point out that this assessment tool is not meant to downplay anyone’s wellness experience or challenges but simply to serve as a tool to check in with ourselves.
It’s absolutely okay if you fall off or if you’re not where you want to be yet, that’s human so don’t beat yourself up about it! The important part is to extend yourself some grace for any “shortcomings”, recognizing what you can do to be better next time, and then doing it. As @high.vibrational has said, “forgive yourself each night and re-commit in the morning.”
After completing the assessment, ask yourself some of the following questions (which were included in an alternate version of the assessment):
- Were there any surprises? Did the assessment present any new ideas that you hadn’t thought of before? Which activity ideas seem like they would be more of a burden than a benefit to you?
- What are you already doing to practice self-care in the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and workplace realms? Of the activities you are not doing now, which particularly sparks your interest? How might you incorporate them into your life sometime in the future?
- What is one activity or practice you would like to “try on for size” starting now or as soon as possible?
Source: Building Blocks to Peer Success. For more information, visit http://www.hdwg.org/peer_center/training_toolkit.
Has this post been helpful to you? Do you feel that you can start making changes now that you’ve checked in with yourself? What other wellness tools have worked for you or what are tools that you feel you may need?
Share with me below!