Self-Care Reflection Essay

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The definition of mental health is subjective to each person, but all have a common goal of having a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Working as a health care professional tests your mental health the most, as this requires another level of self-care and reflection because it's crucial not only for us but for future patients as well. This paper explains how suppressing feelings causes mental health issues that lead to burnout, which is avoidable through contemplative practices. My definition includes being productive, participating in activities, and making healthy choices in all aspects of life.

We are emotional beings and need ways to release our emotions. My realistic strategies worked as I depended on them throughout the semester. I adjusted my first refresher of going swimming between study sessions and instead started going to the gym. These both lead to the same goal of distracting my mind and working through any troubles. My second refresher was harder to achieve during the midterm season compared to regular school days. Volunteering at University Hospital and my neighborhood medical clinic required more time management in order to complete, as my schedule, at times, would not fit into theirs. I still managed to go once a week and it was beneficial because seeing other health care providers inspired and motivated me to work harder. Of all these self-care refreshers, I used my third one the most. I talked with my Mom and friends every day, this helped me reflect on things and get any negative thoughts out. At times I went on walks with my mom or went shopping with my friends; having people around during challenging times, such as midterms, made me feel well-supported (see Appendix). Speaking about my day or things I experienced that were new territory gave me a chance to breathe and become ready to take on the next day. I have had moments where I keep things to myself, which goes for days, and it's hard to get out of the “slump”. I will continue these three approaches but also add more since over time they will get overused and become ineffective. Overall, I was successful in the sense that I was not burnt out from school and work and was able to destress when needed.

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In the article, “Suck it Up” the mentality in nursing needs to change, says traumatized nurse Nicola Griffith says, “I threw myself into work, again unwilling to confront my emotions” (Griffith N.,2019 pg.39), these powerful words suggests how as nurses we are not good at talking about our own mental health. When we continue to bottle up our feelings and damaging thoughts then they have a chance to build up causing us even more harm and leading us further away from practicing good contemplative practices. Nicola mentions she experiences divorce, learns she is unable to have kids, and experiences the death of loved ones within the same year. Her solution was to plan a vacation instead of dealing with her sorrows; this was a good refresher for her as she was back and “happy” but was not a long-term solution as the euphoria did not last. The work she once enjoyed became a burden because “burnout has little to do with patients” (Griffith N.,2019 pg.40) instead the worn-out feeling of burnout has to do with ongoing chronic stress. As this continues it becomes a harder state to come out of which may require time off, medical treatment, or medication.

Negative feelings, thoughts, and issues all start as small problems but as they go unresolved become bigger monsters like burnout. To prevent burnout, daily self-reflection and a support system are needed. Nicola’s suppressed feelings ruled her life and she learned contemplative practices through a difficult route. It is important to remember that any emotion will be transformed into either something positive or negative.

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Self-Care Reflection Essay. (2024, January 04). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Self-Care Reflection Essay.” Edubirdie, 04 Jan. 2024,
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