Self-help for healthcare professionals

The Thriving Giver: 7 principles for health professionals and caregivers to enhance self-care and prevent burnout (Practical Inspiration Publishing) by Sarah Kuipers, reviewed by Mya Kirkwood.

The Thriving Giver could not have been published at a better time. Amidst the dark and demoralising experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, no industry needs to prevent burnout more than the health and social care professions. 

At the book’s core lie seven principles for enhancing self-care and preventing burnout. The first two principles lay the foundations of better self-care, encouraging readers to assess the warning signs of their own wellbeing and replace unhealthy behaviours and beliefs with new empowering beliefs about self-care. The remaining five principles introduce simple and actionable strategies to nurture and protect against stress and burnout, such as calming your anxiety through conscious breathing, and replenishing your energy by investing time in enjoyable experiences, such as being with loved ones, exercising in nature or being creative.

Kuipers interlaces personal and professional stories with the evidence base and simple reflective interventions. Wellbeing checklists and questions help the reader action the advice. In one insightful section, Kuipers compares pre-emptively identifying signs of burnout with navigating deadly icebergs – early identification of the threat permits minor changes to trajectory, behaviourally and cognitively, to avoid irreversible physical and psychological damage.

Before finishing the book, I was already applying nuggets of its wisdom in my own life. Kuipers’ advice on how to best create new empowering beliefs particularly resonated with me. According to Dr Bruce Lipton’s research on the biology of beliefs, reprogramming beliefs is most efficient when they are verbally repeated (aloud or internally) in a transient state, such as relaxation or moving in or out of sleep, or when the conscious mind is engaged (think driving or hoovering!). 

This empowering self-help book provides healthcare professionals and caregivers with a rich toolkit of knowledge, tasks, and resources to help take their self-care and wellbeing into their own hands and create a balanced and nourishing life.

- Reviewed by Mya Kirkwood, Assistant Psychologist at The Occupational Psychology Practice International

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