Self-care and Service

As National Health Corps (NHC) members, we all have a passion for serving others. With our service term coming to an end, this passion has led many of us to burnout. A valuable lesson we have learned this year is the importance of self-care. As a Care Coordinator at UF Health-Jacksonville Healthy Start, self-care has become a staple to staying motivated and focused in my position. Serving at a public hospital definitely has its perks and has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. However, hearing some of the heart-wrenching stories from clients on a day-to-day basis has taken a toll on me throughout my term of service.

NHC members have the benefit of a member retreat in March. This is around the time many of us were going through burnout. I know for myself and others, we were just trying to juggle programmatic responsibilities, host site services, graduate/medical school entry exams, applications and the daunting question of what we do next. The March member retreat allowed us all to take some time to reflect on our term of service, the impact we have made and the toll it may have taken on ourselves. For me, this retreat was eye opening. I had gotten so caught up with studying for the MCAT, service responsibilities and applications, I forgot to take care of myself. This is when I committed to finding one fun thing to do every weekend and exercising several times a week.

NHC members have found a multitude of methods to practice self-care. Some of us go to the beach (one of the perks of the Jacksonville area), some of us exercise, some lay in bed and watch movies, others find something new to do every weekend to escape. We have also learned that selfcare is largely individual. Some members prefer to recharge by surrounding themselves with others, while some choose to spend some time alone.
Regardless of how we each practice selfcare, we have all learned the importance of taking time for ourselves in a field that demands we dedicate so much time to others.

This blog post was written by NHC FL AmeriCorps member, Elyssia Johnan.

Elyssia serves at UF Health at Jacksonville - Healthy Start as a Care Coordinator.