Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) are busy taking care of clients, providing them with appropriate supports, helping families and even taking care of our own loved ones. We can very quickly get lost in this circle and forget to take care of ourselves.
We continue to teach others the importance of time management, self care and promoting personal growth. It is important the we apply these skills to ourselves. If we don’t take the time to love ourselves and nurture our needs we can risk burn out, become more agitated with daily tasks and as a result begin to provide ineffective services to our clients. Here are 3 simple ways to keep yourself in check.
1. Give yourself a moment. Set a timer for 3 minutes every day and do something that you enjoy. Remember start off in small increments and then gradually increase the time. But for now, just keep it at 3 minutes a day, 7 days a week for several weeks. The activity will vary from person to person. It might be something as simple as looking at pictures of nature, pictures of animals or watching a quick video of something that you enjoy. Apply your behavior analytic skills to your daily life. Prepare ahead of time by saving a few of your favorite videos or pictures to your favorites page on your browser. Set boundaries and don’t go over the 3 minutes. Reward yourself every day for taking this time to nurture yourself.
2. Eat Healthy. Seems simple enough. However, for BCBA’s that spend a lot of time traveling in their cars this can be a daily challenge. Take some time on your off days to prepare daily healthy snacks to grab and go (e.g., nuts, pretzels, protein drinks, protein bars, dried fruit etc..). If you don’t have the time on your off days because of too many other commitments many supermarkets sell healthy snack options and they have been conveniently packaged in pre-portioned grab and go bags. Your healthy eating plan should include a few options to help you achieve this goal. If you set up a plan that has more than one way to contact reinforcement (e.g., healthy snacks) it is likely you will be more successful.
3. Get enough sleep. Yes, you have heard this before nothing new. But are you actually getting enough sleep? Have you set up some steps to help you accomplish this? If you haven’t then set up a plan that includes a few easy steps. Take some data and chart the amount of sleep you are getting daily. Then slowly increase that time by 10-15 minutes per night (e.g., try going to bed a few minutes earlier). You can chart it with pencil and paper or you can choose from a variety of fitness apps to download. Remember keep it simple.
Notice the variety of feelings and emotions that enter your mind daily. Acknowledge them and continue to move toward what is important to you- yourself. It is natural to be stressed, anxious and frustrated these are emotions that many of us experience and we can’t just stop feeling them. Notice yourself when they enter, don’t rush them away, and then take the time to move toward the behaviors that you have outlined and do the steps that bring you closer to your purpose which is: “taking care of me”.
Be kind to yourself you are worth it!