Study Document

Self Care Action Plan Essay

Pages:13 (3787 words)



Topic:Action Plan

Document Type:Essay


A Self Care Plan for Preventing Burnout at Work


An action plan is a way to establish a step-by-step guide for oneself to follow in order to achieve a goal. The main goal for this action plan is self-care. There are six areas of self-care that this action plan focuses on: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, financial and spiritual. The action plan identifies three sub goals within each area and describes the steps that I will take to reach those goals. This specific action plan was chosen to prevent me from becoming burned out at work. Self-care is important as psychologists and even the bible have shown. This paper provides support for the plan using scholarly sources, books, and other reference material, and the action plan shows why the goals and steps described are helpful in my self-care plan.

Outline of the Action Plan

This Action Plan will go through six realms of self-care:

1. Physical Self-Care

2. Emotional Self-Care

3. Cognitive Self-Care

4. Social Self-Care

5. Financial Self-Care

6. Spiritual Self-Care

Each specific realm comes with its own requirements. For instance, physical self-care involves dietary and exercise concerns; emotional self-care involves relieving stress looking after one’s emotional needs; and so on. The Action Plan step-by-step details are described later on in this paper. However, for now it is helpful to know that the Self-Care Action Plan selected here is based on the areas of life that can most commonly be neglected by a worker in the counseling field. Taking the time to address each of these areas individually as part of a larger self-care plan is important for the overall holistic health of the counselor.

To support the action plan, however, knowledge is important. Boosting one’s health literacy is an essential step in addressing one’s own health needs (Whelan, 1984). Thus, this action plan will also include a focus on continuing education through reading about physical, emotional, cognitive, social, financial and spiritual health to make sure that up to date information is being applied in the action plan at every step of the way. As new information is learned it will be accommodated and incorporated into the action plan.

Why This Specific Action Plan was Chosen

This specific Action Plan was chosen because it offers a holistic pathway to whole-person health. Instead of just focusing on one aspect of self-care, such as mental health or emotional health, it looks at all the areas in which a person might require self-care—from finances to spirituality to physical needs. It is a comprehensive approach to a self-care action plan and therefore one worth pursuing. What good would it do, after all, to focus on physical and emotional self-care while forgetting to address financial self-care? If one is financially insecure that financial stress can cross over to affect other areas of a person’s life. Thus, every area of a person’s life has to be addressed from a self-care perspective because if one is not taking care of oneself then one is not going to be able to take care of others.

This approach to self-care is based on the Dorothea Orem model of self-care. Her theory of self-care was published in 1971 and it is founded on the idea that people should be self-reliant first of all if they have any inclination to help themselves or to help others (Nursing Theories, 2012). Orem believed that modern society tended to make people dependent upon others to take care of them. This dependency led to powerlessness and an inability to care for one’s own health properly (Orem, 1991). By not taking the proper steps to care for one’s own health, one essentially relegated oneself to a breakneck mode of existence that would eventually lead one to a hospital where one would seek treatment for an emotional, physical or cognitive breakdown. To counteract that approach

Why This Action Plan is Important

This action plan is important to help protect against burnout on the job. Burnout can occur for a variety of reasons: too many hours spent working without rest, relaxation or recreation; too much stress and not enough release; too great of a workload, lack of professional support, long hours and emotional exhaustion are other factors (Dall’Ora et al., 2016; Sadati et al., 2017). People should be concerned about burnout and their own personal health because of the negative impact that can arise to undermine one’s health and career if one is not attentive to one’s need to regenerate and revitalize from time to time (Wang, Liu & Wang,2015). Burnout can be manifested in numerous ways as well: bitterness while on the job or towards one’s job, lack of focus, delays in performance, sudden inability to communicate effectively, chronic feelings of illness, weight loss or weight gain, depression, sleeplessness, and irritability can all be signs that one is approach burnout levels in one’s work. The Maslach Burnout Inventory – Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) lists 22 items in its survey to explore one’s responses to three basic areas: Emotional exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Low sense of personal accomplishment (National Academy of Medicine, 2019). Evaluation of one’s exhaustion, feeling of depersonalization and low sense of personal accomplishment can all be indicators that one is burned out and needs to address one’s own health before anything else. This action plan allows one to do that.

Support for the Action Plan

Support for the Action Plan can be found in Maslow’s (1943) theory of the hierarchy of needs. Maslow theorized that people cannot reach their potential, the level of self-actualization that allows them to be their best selves, if they do not meet lower level needs first. Lower level needs include a need for basic necessities such as food and shelter (physical needs), and after that come social and psychological needs (love, friendship and self-esteem), and then comes the need to develop and grow as a person by learning skills and being recognized for one’s accomplishments. As these various needs are met they allow a person to flourish and become a fully-functioning human being capable of reaching an ideal level of selfhood. However, if the lower level needs are not satisfied first, one’s potential will never be reached. From Maslow’s (1943) theory one can see that every person needs to take time to engage in self-care so that one can develop fully and attain the level of self-actualization that is at the top of Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

Robinson and Frank (1994) point out that people who have low self-esteem tend to be risk takers: they do not consider how their actions might negatively impact themselves or others. They throw caution to the wind and let fly. They injudiciously set a course of action and accept what comes willy-nilly. But people who value their own selves, have high self-esteem, and take care of themselves tend to make better choices, have a higher level of performance, and enjoy healthier lifestyles (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger and Vohs (2003).

There is also a biblical reason to engage in self-care. Some may think that self-care is narcissistic and self-centered, but they would be mistaken. Cosentino (2020) points out that self-esteem is built by expressing love towards others and by having love expressed to oneself. Indeed, this is essentially a Christian idea. Christ said, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). What He meant was that people need to look out for others but what He also implied was that people inherently love themselves. If one does not love others the way one loves oneself, then one is not acting neighborly. But if one does not even bother to love oneself then one is neglecting the body, mind, heart and soul that God has given one. Thus, it is important even from a biblical or Christian point of view to care for oneself using an action plan. Support for this action plan can therefore be seen to come directly from Heaven as well as scholars in the field.

The Action Plan, Detailed, and Step-by-Step

The first step in any action plan is to recognize what one’s condition is and what one’s goals are. One needs to know where one wishes to get. To aid in that process, it is necessary to increase one’s health literacy. This action plan thus begins and ends with education. Education is the foundation stone for this plan and to increase health literacy, reading is essential. The six areas in which self-care is sought in this plan are:

1. Physical Self-Care

2. Emotional Self-Care

3. Cognitive Self-Care

4. Social Self-Care

5. Financial Self-Care

6. Spiritual Self-Care

Each area is an area where health literacy needs to be increased, so to begin this action plan, a text that provides insight into health in the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, financial and spiritual areas will be…

Sample Source(s) Used


Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., &Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(1), 1–44.

Cosentino, B. W. (2020). Loving Yourself. How to raise your self-esteem.

Dall’Ora, C., Griffiths, P. & Ball, J. (2016). 12-hour shifts: burnout or job satisfaction? Nursing Times, 112(12/13), 1-2.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370.

National Academy of Medicine. (2019). Valid and Reliable Survey Instruments to Measure Burnout, Well-Being, and Other Work-Related Dimensions. Retrieved from

Nursing Theories. (2012). Retrieved from

Orem, D.E. (1991). Nursing: Concepts of practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book Inc.

Robinson, R. B., & Frank, D. I. (1994). The relation between self-esteem, sexual activity, and pregnancy. Adolescence, 29(113), 27–35.

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