How To Take Care Of Yourself In High-Stress But Low-Paying Professions

Commencing each year on Mother’s Day, Women’s Health Week is a seven-day event that encourages women everywhere to place their health and well-being at the forefront of their priorities.

This is especially important because women often find themselves at the forefront of many high-stress, low-paying professions. From healthcare to education, hospitality to caregiving, women make up a significant majority of many fields where they are undervalued and underpaid.

When you’re working in a high-stress, low-paying profession, taking care of yourself often gets pushed down the priority list. Yet, it is precisely in these circumstances that prioritizing self-care becomes essential.

In honor of Women’s Health Week, it’s time to shine a light on the importance of self-care. Let’s explore some practical strategies and tips to help you navigate the demands of your profession and take care of your own health and happiness.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is often misunderstood as simply pampering oneself with occasional treats or indulgences. In reality, it’s an essential practice for maintaining mental, emotional, and physical well-being, especially for those in high-stress, low-paying professions.

Engaging in self-care not only boosts energy levels and enhances resilience to stress but also reduces the risk of burnout and illness. Neglecting it, on the other hand, can lead to exhaustion, decreased productivity, and compromised overall health.

As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Taking care of yourself is necessary for navigating the challenges of demanding professions with dignity and strength.

Self-Care Strategies To Try

Because self-care is not one-size-fits-all, a handy approach is to categorize it into different types. This helps us remember that there are multiple aspects of well-being and encourages us to ensure all parts of ourselves are well-nourished and cared for.

There are seven types of self-care, each with its own importance. First on the list? Physical self-care.

1. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care involves taking care of your body to maintain overall health and well-being, especially during times of high stress. When you prioritize physical self-care, you’re investing in your body’s ability to cope with the demands of your job and life. It can lead to increased energy levels, better focus, and improved mood.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to practice physical self-care:

  • Exercise regularly. Whether it’s going for a walk, doing yoga, or hitting the gym, moving your body helps reduce stress and boosts endorphins.
  • Eat healthily. Fuel your body with nutritious foods that provide energy and support overall health.
  • Get adequate sleep. Aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night to recharge your body and mind.

2. Emotional Self-Care

Taking care of our emotions is just as important as taking care of our physical health. Emotional self-care is about understanding and connecting with your emotions, letting yourself process them in a healthy way. Doing so can not only help reduce stress but also enhance your emotional intelligence and strengthen interpersonal relationships.

Here are a few ways you can take care of your emotional well-being:

  • Journal. Write about your day, your worries, or even your dreams—it’s all about letting those feelings out.
  • Meditate. Take a few moments each day to quiet your mind and connect with your inner self through mindful meditation.
  • Talk it out. Whether it’s with a trusted friend, a mentor, or a professional, sharing your feelings can be incredibly therapeutic.
  • Practice gratitude. Shift your perspective by counting your blessings. Take note of the small joys and victories in your life.

3. Practical Self-Care

Practical self-care is all about the little things you do to meet your basic needs and keep stress levels in check. Even the smallest ordinary task can be a healthy habit that makes a huge difference in how you feel.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Organize your email inbox. Take some time to sort through and categorize your emails, making it easier to find what you need when you need it.
  • Declutter your living space. This not only creates a more organized environment but can also contribute to a sense of calm and clarity.
  • Schedule a check-in with your financial advisor. Take proactive steps to alleviate any financial concerns and ensure your financial well-being.
  • Meal-prep. Invest some time in planning nutritious and delicious meals in advance to streamline your week and promote healthier eating habits.

4. Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care involves taking steps to keep your mind healthy and happy. It’s about doing things that stimulate your mind, elevate your mood, and keep your mental faculties sharp.

Here are some mental self-care activities to inspire you:

  • Try a new hobby. Ever thought about pottery, gardening, or painting? Trying something new can spark your curiosity and give your brain some “exercise.”
  • Read a book. Get lost in a new story or expand your knowledge with a non-fiction read. 
  • Write. Whether it’s poetry, letters to loved ones, or just jotting down your thoughts, putting pen to paper can be incredibly therapeutic and clarifying.
  • Visit a museum. Take a stroll through an art gallery or science museum to stimulate your mind and gain new perspectives.

5. Social Self-Care

We all need human connection and social self-care focuses on nurturing the connections that matter to us. Spending time with loved ones can boost your mood, letting you recharge your batteries and come back stronger. At the same time, you’re also building a support system that can be there for you when you need it.

So, how can you add some social self-care into your life? Here are some ideas:

    • Make regular phone calls. Catch up with your parents, siblings, friends, or anyone you love chatting with.
    • Hang out with friends. Host a game night, go for a hike, or simply catch up over coffee with your pals.
    • Send some love. Take a few minutes to write a heartfelt message to a loved one to brighten their day and yours.
  • Get to know your coworkers. Bond with the people you work with by going on team outings or retreats.

6. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care focuses on nurturing your inner self and finding your own sense of meaning and purpose in life. This sense of purpose can give you the motivation and strength to keep going, even when times get tough. It can also help you connect with others on a deeper level, helping you build meaningful relationships and support networks.

To practice spiritual self-care, try incorporating some of these activities into your routine:

  • Spend time in nature. Take a walk in the park, hike a trail, or simply sit under a tree and immerse yourself in the natural world around you.
  • Volunteer. Give back to your community or a cause you care about. Helping others can be incredibly fulfilling and spiritually enriching.
  • Engage in prayer or attend a worship service. Connect with your spirituality in a way that feels meaningful to you.
  • Create a vision board. Visualize your dreams and aspirations, and let them inspire and motivate you throughout your life.

7. Professional Self-Care

Professional self-care is about finding ways to maintain balance and fulfillment in your career. By prioritizing your well-being at work, you can reduce burnout and exhaustion, improve job satisfaction and fulfillment, and boost productivity and performance. Ultimately, this all works to enhance your overall quality of life.

So, what does professional self-care look like in action? Here are a few examples:

  • Set boundaries. It’s important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Setting a calendar reminder to take a lunch break or putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” after work hours can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Invest in your professional development. Whether it’s taking courses, attending conferences, or finding a mentor, continuously developing your skills can help you feel more confident and empowered in your career.
  • Prioritize your health. Listen to your body and mind. Take mental health days or sick leave when needed.

Taking Care of Caregivers

While these strategies can help alleviate some of the stress, it’s also important to advocate for fair compensation, better work environments, and work-life balance.

At Consumer Directed Choices, we understand the value of caregivers’ hard work. As a fiscal intermediary and premier provider of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), we’re dedicated to ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.

We want you to “get paid better for being this tired.” After all, when you feel empowered and valued, everyone wins. When you’re a personal care assistant employed by a CDChoices consumer, you’ll enjoy competitive pay and a wide range of benefits, including overtime pay, paid time off, and health and dental insurance.

During this Women’s Health Week and beyond, always remember to take care of yourself and make your health a priority. And if you’re a caregiver who wants better pay and benefits, reach out to us today.

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