Self- Care is something we hear about all the time now, but it isn’t just about massages and chocolate cake. It’s about putting your health and wellbeing first so that you have the time and energy to do all the things you want to do and need to do in your everyday life. Self care isn’t selfish, because you are just as important as everyone else.
When I was younger I worked in a large office and it was assumed you would carry on working even when you were ill and there was a lot of pressure to come in early and leave late. I now realise that long hours don’t equate to high productivity and that ‘soldiering on’ also prevents you doing your best work as well as risking infecting others! This has been part of workplace culture for decades, but I hope things are changing.
Modern women are often looking after children, older relatives, running a home and working full time or running a business. In order to do this, you put yourself at the bottom of the pile.
But if you get sick or burnt out you won’t be able to take care of anyone.
In order to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing you must start to put yourself first. Your physical wellbeing requires attention to your diet, exercise, and sleep and these are the basic self-care needs.
Finding some Stillness in your busy day is so vital to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing that it will have an article to itself, as will Sleep.
I know that you are compassionate and want to be of service to others. This is of course a wonderful thing, but many of you forget to be compassionate to yourself.
You don’t like to say NO to anyone, you help at charity events, school events, help your family and neighbours, you spread ourselves thin and get stressed, frazzled or just run out of energy.
You must set healthy boundaries, set aside time for yourself as well as to be of service to others. If you are already in a caring profession such as healthcare or teaching, you are giving all day at work and probably when you get home too.
At work or even at home you can find yourself doing the same thing for hours on end, often under pressure of a deadline. Long periods of continuing stress will eventually start to adversely affect your physical and mental states.
Regular breaks in the working day are essential as you are only able to function at a high level for a fairly short period of time. Productivity is one of the things that starts to suffer so you will work better if you take a rest.
Lose friends who drain your energy, true friendship is a two-way street, it requires both giving and receiving. There may be people in your circle of family or friends who no longer fit with your beliefs or way of doing things. The saying that ‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime’ is worth remembering. Not everyone grows and evolves in the same way as you do.
And allow yourself to become open to receive. When you become open to receiving from others, you will be able in turn to give back more than you can now.
You need to be doing things that bring you JOY. These can be small things like having a coffee in the garden listening to the birds, walking barefoot on the beach, or reading your book for 20 minutes. You don’t have to spend a fortune or even leave home.
For many people writing out the way they are feeling can be really cathartic, you may not be able to express how you feel face-to-face with someone, but writing down how you are feeling can get it out of your head and onto the page so you stop going over it again and again.
Getting rid of anger or hurt by writing it out can reduce your feelings of helplessness and sometimes the act of writing makes these feelings real and you can see solutions more easily.
Some suggestions to up your self-care:
- Make a list of 20 things you could do in a spare 15, 30 or 60 minutes
- Get into a routine of doing things for yourself
- Set clear boundaries around what you are available for and what you are not
- Practice saying NO
- Try journaling about the way you feel
- Get enough sleep
- Pay attention to diet and exercise
- Take breaks in the day
- Take some time each day to be still
- Be kind to yourself
- Spend time with people who uplift you rather than drain you
- Ask for help and accept offers of help
If you want support in doing this, take a look at my free Facebook group, Serenity Circle, or get in touch to find out how I might help you.