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Developing self-care at work

Keep, Jane A


Jane A Keep


Phd Title: Developing self-care at work


This PhD Study explored the practical development of self-care at work. The study enabled an understanding of self-care at work as a phenomena, and enabled the practitioners involved to free themselves from ideological and other chains holding them back from developing their own self-care at work, to such a point that in the end, they realised ‘I matter’ at work, and that self-care at work matters. The findings show that it is not normal for there to be a focus on ‘me’ and consider self truly during the working day, and that many people see clients, colleagues or their boss as ‘king’ consistently putting them first before considering self. The findings also show if we do not self-care at work, and, we keep working when we are feeling under ‘par’ it is uncomfortable for us to work in this way, and the quality of the services we offer can suffer.
In the implications for practice, this PhD study offers a simple conceptual framework for developing self-care at work, with a series of sequential stages and inter-connected prompts. It also offers a self observational reflective prompt to support those who choose to deepen their level of self observation, and self awareness. Self-Care at work comes in a number of guises, no one size fits all. Periods of self observation, and trying new ways of caring for self at work enables individuals to develop their own unique self-care at work approach. Self-Care at work includes not only traditionally cited aspects in workplace well-being such as exercise and nutrition, it also includes preparing and planning for work, maintaining perspective, learning to say ‘no’, and, the willingness to make self-care at work an ongoing self inquiry process, using self observation, and reflective moments. With simple yet profound effects, using the physical body as a barometer on a daily basis, guiding what works and what doesn’t work is fundamental to developing and deepening self-care at work. A profound impact of this study for practitioners is that in committing to making self-care at work a living inquiry and, breaking out of patterns or ideals getting in the way of self-care at work, self confidence can deepen, as can a deeper sense of self worth. Equally, developing self-care at work made a difference to the quality of services practitioners offered. Realising ‘I matter at work’ and that self-care at work matters whilst simple, and a ‘no brainer’ is profound, and deeply emancipating.


Keep, J. A. Developing self-care at work. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords Self-care, developing self-care, developing self-care at work,


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