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Mel Gravely

Staff Appreciation: How to Care for Ourselves

Self-care isn’t a one-time deal or a one-sized approach. Are you rolling your eyes? Do you think you don’t have time for this? Then you need to read this and start figuring out how to take care of yourself.

How many vacations do you take per year? What makes you feel refreshed? When in your life did you feel best? If you start thinking about these questions, you’ll gain some insight on how to add joy in your life.

What do you do for stress relief? Do you talk to a friend on the phone or visit someone? Do you like to cook or bake, or do you prefer to eat out? Reading? Exercising? Eating ice cream? Doing yoga or Pilates? Getting a haircut, makeover or manicure? Being outdoors, in the forest, at the ocean, or hiking? Swimming, surfing, biking, climbing, hiking? Visiting a museum, a library, a café? Praying or mediating? Singing or playing an instrument? Sewing, building, creating?

Who do you turn to for advice? There are so many options of mentors: friend, neighbor, family member, online mentor. You need somewhere to vent and turn to for advice. Or just someone to chat to. The Gravely Group on LinkedIn is a great place to question like-minded Head Start professionals.

Do something for yourself each day, each week, and each month (each day for a few minutes, each week for longer period, and each month for even longer period.) For example: I recently took a writing course, my colleague attended a retreat, and another colleague took a cake decorating course. Do something you enjoy, to rejuvenate, and add a spark to your day. Remember: you can’t fill the cups with an empty pitcher.

Take care of your health. We sometimes lie to ourselves and make excuses to ignore our needs. But the truth is, you’ll work better if your body is functioning better. Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water. Listen to your body. Visit the doctor and dentist.

Encourage your staff to follow these practices. Be a role model in self-care. Then, you will be a role model for the entire Head Start family.

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