Setting your self-care resolutions
11th January 2022
Self-care is necessary for physical health, mental health, resilience, coping with stress and our overall wellbeing. Therefore, it should be a priority. For many of us this is not the reality.
Self-care and wellbeing
Personally, I am not someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, on the basis that you can make changes on any date (Did you know only 10% of resolutions made in January are still in place by December?) However, I know that at this time of year I will struggle to park when I go spinning, but in a few weeks’ time it will calm down as good intentions fall away.
In this blog we will consider:
- The different aspects of self-care
- What we can do to enhance both our physical and mental wellbeing
- How to make changes that are realistic and enjoyable so that we stick to them.
When I talk about wellbeing, I describe it as a balance between the challenges we face and the resources we have available. The model below demonstrates when times are more challenging, we should make more time to look after ourselves. This is rarely the reality, so resources become depleted and both our physical and mental health declines and can even contribute to burnout
What gets in the way of self-care?
People have shared many reasons for not prioritising self-care including:
• Time (and for many people juggling multiple demands this is a real challenge)
• A belief that it is selfish or self-indulgent and they should always put others first
• Thinking that it’s expensive
• Not knowing what to do
Challenges to these obstacles
• Looking after yourself isn’t always about doing something that is time consuming, sometimes it is as much about what you stop doing e.g. checking emails out of working hours.
• For many people time is a genuine issues, often juggling work, caring responsibilities as well as everyday life. However, it is only by being healthy that we will be able to do these well, so it is an investment in caring for others. It is useful to think about ways to take care of ourselves that aren’t time consuming but help us recharge.
• Self-care can sometimes involve a treat and be indulgent or luxurious – but rarely. It can be going for a walk or enjoying reading a book for a few minutes.
• If you don’t know what to do, keep reading for some ideas!
Reviewing your approach to self-care
What could you stop doing?
Take a hard look at the habits you have got into and see if there are some simple beneficial changes you can make. This may include:
• Working / not working boundaries, particularly if you are working from home. For example: have you absorbed commuting time into your working day? Do you constantly check emails out of hours? Do you book back-to-back online meetings? Do you work through lunch?
• Being constantly attached to technology with no down time.
• Making unrealistic to-do lists and being harsh on yourself when you don’t achieve everything.
• Putting the needs of everyone else first to an unhelpful level. I am not suggesting that the desire and need to look after others won’t often be a priority, I am asking you to consider whether there are times when the balance could be different.
What do you want to continue doing?
• Think about the things you are already doing that are good for you and you enjoy. List them and make sure you continue doing them.
What could you start doing?
• Start by compiling a list of all the things you can think of under different headings e.g. physical (going for a walk and connecting with nature), emotional (being kind to yourself), social (having a chat with a friend), and spiritual (meditation).
• Also think about work, for example committing to taking a break each day or setting boundaries around availability.
• Don’t’ forget the importance of sleep which is crucial to our wellbeing, and often something that is compromised in challenging times. Make sure trying to get a good night’s sleep is something you prioritise.
• When you are building your lists consider things that take different amounts of time to give you more options within a busy life. This might be from a few minutes of focused breathing during the working day, through to a long walk with family or friends at the weekend.
• Make sure that the things you put on the list are ideas you will enjoy doing. Self-care should not be another job on your ‘to-do’ list! List things that are realistic and practical for your life as it is at the moment.
Your action plan
• Review your lists and decide what changes you would like to make and give yourself permission to commit to them in the knowledge that looking after yourself will help you do all the other things you want to do.
• Plan for the next week including realistic ideas. Add the end of the week review what has worked well and what you could do differently in the following week. Note how you are feeling and what you are doing when you feel your batteries being recharged.
• Notice the benefits will be the best incentive to keep going.
To help you stick to your good intentions build in some accountability or reward. This may be committing to do something with someone else, setting a reminder each day or a telling someone what you are going to do and asking them to make you accountable.
The clue is in the name, self-care is something that should be pleasurable and good for us. Develop your own personalised plan and feel the benefits – both for you and those around you.
Contact us for details
Get in touch through the contact form below or call us on 01202 612 326 to discuss how we can help you with self-care, either for yourself or your organisation.
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