On day 44 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored how continuing education helps me set clear goals that align with my vision for the future
Even as adults, we never stop learning. Some of our newly acquired knowledge comes directly from our life experiences – the conversations and connections we have with other people, the books we read for pleasure, the projects we work on, and the challenges we work through.
But sometimes we learn in more structured environments, through classes, workshops, specialized training and certification programs, and continuing professional education.
Many industries require a professional commitment to lifelong learning, often referred to as continuing education. This requirement helps to preserve the integrity of professions, ensuring that practices are aligned with evidence-based and ethical standards. It also encourages personal and professional growth that often leads to greater contributions within the field.
As my 5-year cycle for continuing education as a registered dietitian nutritionist comes to a close, I spent some time in deep reflection reviewing my accomplishments over the past 15 years. I’ve worked in hospitals, long-term care facilities, in physician offices, as a consultant, with government agencies, within the corporate wellness space, as a health coach, in private practice, and more recently as an aspiring author and self-care coach.
I place a high value on continuing education because it gives me the opportunity to reinvent myself periodically, without even changing professions. Taking the time to connect the dots between what I’ve learned in the past and the knowledge and skills I’ve gained over time helps me set clear goals that align with my vision for the future.
The relationship between self-care and learning is reciprocal. When we’re healthy, we’re more capable of learning; when we continue to challenge ourselves through learning, we’re also more capable of building a sustainable self-care practice.