Self-Care Action Plan
When I was a social worker I often provided intervention for suicidal patients.
In the realm of healthcare a "suicide safety plan" is a routine intervention utilized for patients who experience suicidal ideation.
I remember the first time I ever created one.
It was my FIRST week after graduating with my master's degree and I was covering another social worker's team of patients at the local non-profit hospice where I worked.
I was sitting with my co-worker's patient and her husband at the bedside in the hospital as she took her final breaths.
Though he didn't say he would become suicidal after her death I *knew* in my gut that's what would happen.
The next day in our team meeting I expressed my concern for his well being (she died 20 minutes after I left the hospital).
In the midst of the meeting, we got a call from him requesting support as he had become suicidal.
I went to his home and though I had never been trained to do so I completed a suicide safety plan (I was taught this intervention skill at the VA about 4 years later).
Essentially a "safety plan" includes a list of the people you can call on, the places you can go or the things you can do that you know will offer you the support you need.
Research shows that when in crisis we do not have the ability to access the critical problem-solving part of our brain.
The safety plan is designed to have you do the work ahead of time so you have the information on hand in the heat of the moment.
My question for you is this: When shit hits the fan and you are having a REAL bad week do you have your SELF-CARE ACTION PLAN readily accessible?
I know the answer is no which is why I would like to encourage you to create one.
Get out a pen and jot down the things that you would need to do to honor your needs, take care of yourself, be surrounded by people who love you unconditionally, places you can go, and the things you would need to do to keep your head above water.
Alright, now put it somewhere you can see it.
Now all you have to do when the shit hits the fan is walk over to that note and simply read it and do ONE thing...and then another....and another.....till you have your feet back on solid ground.