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Self Care is NOT Selfish – A Peak into Our World Here at Prevail!

March 8, 2018

The start-up life consistently demands long hours and high energy.  In this fast paced environment upheld by coffee, employees easily burnout. Prevail, however, is a group of individuals passionate about accessible mental health. While employees of Prevail cannot change the stressful nature of startups, we can change how we react to the chronic stress. We do that through relentless self care.

As humans, we have many needs. In 1943 Abraham Maslow first proposed human’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. This pyramid organizes the importance of all our needs, serving as a guide to achieving “self-actualization”, or our utmost potential. Our most basic needs are biological (physical safety, food, rest), and from there we begin nourishing a sense of belonging and feeling loved. With these solid relationships, our “ego”, or esteem flourishes. Accumulation of all these supports – physiological, socioemotional –  we can reach “self-actualization”. Maslow designed the hierarchy in an attempt to understand motivation, observing that neglect in any category resulted in decreased motivation and an inability to grow. Maslow’s theory began an important conversation about motivation and many modifications and theories have emerged from his work, but fails to explain people’s functioning and successes despite lacking biological needs. To learn more about his work, click here.

Maslow makes some important observations regarding human needs: hunger and thirst, shelter and stability, belongingness and love, accomplishments and self-esteem. Ideally, we always have all these needs met, but life stress thwarts the balance, and when we cannot cope with the imbalance, we burnout. Bressi and Vaden (2017) apply this balance to the professional and personal self of an individual; when the professional disturbs the personal or vice versa, burnout occurs. Burnout is more than feeling stress. Burnout from any kind of chronic stress results in emotional exhaustion, decreased self-efficacy, health risks, and depersonalized feelings towards clients (Maslach and colleagues 2001 , Barnett, Johnston, & Hillard, 2006  ). In essence, burnout disrupts employees and their clients.

The solution to personal and professional burnout? Self-care. Bressi and Vaden assert self-care aims to “maintain equilibrium or homeostasis within a self system ” (2017). For mental health professionals, self-care is an ethical responsibility. The American Psychological Association, the Canada Psychological Association, and the American Counseling Association all mandate self-care practices . The ACA provides a comprehensive explanation:  “counselors engage in self-care activities to maintain and promote their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being to best meet their professional responsibilities” (Section C: Professional Responsibility).  As an innovative behavioral health treatment reaching thousands of communities, users, and peers, Prevail Health embraces this responsibility of self-care.

Prevail headquarters incorporates self-care into office culture, addressing each of Maslow’s suggested needs to enhance employee productivity, satisfaction, and competence (actualization!). Foremost, Prevail understands employees as humans – Prevail always has plenty of snacks lying around, resides in a neighborhood surrounded by trendy restaurants, and has a deal with the coffee shop downstairs for discounted artisanal drinks. The location and snacks allow us to eat during a busy day and re-energize when running low on sleep. Moreover, meals incite socialization. Coworkers become friends over frequent coffee runs, and every Friday night Prevail hosts pizza and beer nights – fostering a sense of belonging. Finally, as a small team, Prevail values the strengths of each individual in the office, viewing each person as the expert of their position during morning check-ins. Altogether, Prevail takes care of its employees, so we can take care of you.

 

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologistsand code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060 –1073.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.57.12.106

Barnett, J. E., Johnston, L. C., & Hillard, D. (2006). Psychotherapist wellness as an ethical imperative. In L. VandeCreek & J. B. Allen (Eds.)

Canada Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics forpsychologists. Ottawa, Canada

Innovations in clinical practice: Focus on health and wellness (pp.257–271). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resources Press. https://link-springer-com.flagship.luc.edu/article/10.1007/s10615-016-0575-4

Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 397–422

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