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Table 4 Theme 2: Personalised self-care strategies within professional and nonprofessional contexts

From: Exploring the meaning and practice of self-care among palliative care nurses and doctors: a qualitative study

Philis It’s really not formulaic; it’s really quite individual, and so everybody has to find their own way of doing it.
Carmel You not only need self-care strategies in the workplace - but also in your personal life.
Felicity I do try and exercise a reasonable amount and I try and get to bed on time because I have to get up at a reasonable time… and diet’s important.
Gwendolen I regularly exercise, do yoga and have a regular massage as well.
Abbie [Having] a bath; it’s almost like I’m washing the hospital off me.
Larissa I have an extremely supportive, very good husband and I have an extremely good network of friends, so… spending time with family and friends.
Doreen Maintaining relationships with family; making sure I’m spending a reasonable amount of time with my children makes me feel that all is right in the world.
Abbie Meditate for half an hour a day; that’s all I actually need to do to function well - I’m great at work, I’m calm with [son]. But if I don’t do that, then I get irritable [and] I don’t have as much to give at work. With just half an hour of meditation a day as my top priority for the day, I’m just better all round.
Lucas I’m quite involved in my Church, and faith is actually a big anchor [that keeps me grounded].
Reece …my spiritual practice which, for me, is a very reliable tool; Buddhist practices… to do with strengthening my connection with compassion or loving kindness for self and others.
Deanna Work-life balance is really important.
Sandra There’s no such thing as work-life balance, it’s rubbish.
Cathi If it’s after five o’clock: (a) I won’t be [at work]; and (b) my diary will be sitting on my desk with my mobile phone on it turned off, with my name tag sitting on it. My computer will be off. [It’s] about making certain that work is at work, so I don’t take my mobile phone home. I don’t take my diary home [to follow up on things]; no, sorry that’s work, and it will wait… work stays at work.
Felicity I take the train… I can only arrive at a certain time and leave at a certain time – those boundaries are actually very helpful. I’ve never been very good at placing boundaries, so I actually have to do this physical boundary of ‘Right, the train’s leaving, and I have to go’ - and that’s worked quite well.
Deanna My de-escalating time is driving home and when I walk in the door at home, work stays at work… and I find that something to be really important to me actually – that the two don’t intermix.
Winston It’s not sustainable to give out more than you really can on an ongoing basis… absolutely [regulating work demands is important].
Cathi I take regular holidays. I’m not somebody who’s got an annual leave balance; I always take my meal breaks, take my days off, and sick leave when ill.
Larissa I chose [to work] part-time.
Scott It’s very difficult to do self-care without [team] support, and so you support each other in doing self-care at work, definitely.
Doreen A mindful activity, just grounding yourself …this conscious thing of ‘Okay, what can I see? What can I feel? What am I touching?
Carmel Supervision [provides] a safe and guided reflective space that allows you to talk about your practice; to think about what is meaningful to you, about a time, something you did, something you’ve been experiencing recently… allow yourself to really drill into - not just the story - but how did it make you feel… how did you behave… what would you change?
Darrell [informal debriefing] is a sign of a healthy team because that’s… self-initiated, as opposed to organised or imposed.
Deanna It’s Friday, I’m tired. A lot has gone on, and I’m giving a handover. I get half-way through the ward and then I start wrapping up. And they go, ‘What are you doing? There’s still the other half of the ward to go yet’, and I’m like, ‘Oh, damn’! So, being able to [make a mistake] and be able to laugh about it was important. Being kind and being compassionate about that. Being able to accept that you are human.
Abbie We’ve all got a very black sense of humour, so it works really well.