Mindful Self-Care Scale
In the emotionally intense field of healthcare, and the helping professions generally, the ability to peacefully inhabit one's body, maintain good boundaries, and be fully present during care is essential. After many submissions and revisions, the development and validation of the Brief Mindful Self-Care Scale, written with mindfulness researcher Dr. Catherine Cook-Cottone of the University of Buffalo, is finally published...with Cambridge University Press. Feels good that our validated mindfulness and self-care tool can now be used by other hospice and healthcare professionals. That it is published in the region of my ancestral roots, the United Kingdom, is especially sweet.
The Mindful Self-Care Scale (MSCS) is a validated and standardized tool for assessing the variety and frequency of self-care strategies (Cook-Cottone & Guyker, 2017; Hotchkiss & Cook-Cottone, 2019; Hotchkiss, 2018; Hotchkiss & Lesher, 2018). "Based on theory and emerging empirical work, the MSCS items were developed to align with a set of actionable practices that promote positive embodiment and well-being" (p. 1). Below are the self-care aspects assessed.
Taking care of one's body through: hydration, good diet, exercise and sleep is a central self-care strategy. How are you taking care of your body?
The degree to which one feels supported while working in a helping profession has been found to be strongly correlated to well-being. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. How's your support system?
When life gets busy or stressful, it’s so easy to loose touch with body, thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness is about being more present and aware of your behavior in each moment. It can help you change habits that are no longer serving you.
Self-compassion and purpose
Well-being has also been found to be closely correlated with the regular practice of self-compassion. Being able to acknowledge challenges, engage in supportive self-talk, express feelings and experience meaning in your career and personal life is vital in your self-care plan. Take care of you!
Mindful relaxation is about being present with a relaxing activity (such as reading, connecting with a friend, relaxing music, art, film or aroma therapy) -- in contrast to numbing behaviors such as substance abuse, denial, violent media and excessive Internet use. How do you relax?
Good supportive structures include: a manageable schedule, organized work areas, pleasing living environment and restorative balance between caring for others and caring for self. These structures can help you to survive and thrive while helping others.
Cook-Cottone, C. P., & Guyker, W. M. (2017). The Development and Validation of the Mindful Self-Care Scale (MSCS): an Assessment of Practices that Support Positive Embodiment. Mindfulness. doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0759-1
Hotchkiss, J. T., Cook-Cottone, C. P. (2019). Validation of the Mindful Self-Care Scale (MSCS) and development of the Brief-MSCS among hospice and healthcare professionals: A confirmatory factor analysis approach to validation. Palliative and Supportive Care, 1-9. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/S1478951519000269
Hotchkiss, J. T. (2018). Mindful Self-Care and Secondary Traumatic Stress Mediate a Relationship Between Compassion Satisfaction and Burnout Risk Among Hospice Care Professionals. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. doi:10.1177/1049909118756657
Hotchkiss, J. T., & Lesher, R. (2018). Factors Predicting Burnout Among Chaplains: Compassion Satisfaction, Organizational Factors, and the Mediators of Mindful Self-Care and Secondary Traumatic Stress. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 72(2), 86-98. doi:10.1177/1542305018780655