Two Dirty Words - Self Care
Being a health professional, the term ‘self care’ has been thrown around and drummed into our heads through training and from management teams. We also often see posts about self care on social media and while it appears to be a great and obvious idea, we aren’t overly good at putting it into action or even really understanding it completely.
What is Self Care?
Basically put, taking care of yourself. We often begin to consider this only when things are already on top of us. We really need to be better at creating time for self care before we get to the point of needing to make time. It can mean different things to different people, from spending a day watching Netflix, to booking in a massage or even making time for a walk by yourself.
Why do we Need Self Care?
We need to take care of ourselves as we often try to fit in more than we can handle, become over tired/exhausted and then can not put 100% into anything. People with busy lives often have difficulty sleeping because their minds are racing, trying to figure out how they are going to complete tasks for tomorrow. Getting enough sleep can be incredibly important to our mental health and also our physical health.
We often think that providing ourselves with care makes us look selfish. This is not true. We have a false concept that we have to put everyone else before ourselves. Let me remind you of the emergency procedures in an airline: if the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, you must first fit yourself with a mask and then help those around you. The reason they ask you to do this is simply because if you pass out, you are unable to help anyone else. So put into context, if you don’t look after yourself first, you are unable to help anyone else.
I hear people say that they don’t have the time or money to go away anywhere. You don’t need money but you do need to make time. You can always go on a day trip to the beach or have a picnic in the mountains to clear your head and recharge your batteries. But you have to make time for this. No one else can do that for you. And doing this, is the first important step to self care. Doing this regularly as a maintenance activity will ensure that you are more focused and more able to continue doing the things you need to achieve or love to do.
Ideas for self care:
· Go somewhere for a day trip or a weekend
· Have the kids go to the grandparents or their friends house for the night
· Go to a movie with a friend
· Spend all day inside watching TV and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about it
· Go shopping
· Book in a massage or something similar that you enjoy
· Take your dog for a run on a dog friendly beach
· Remind yourself of all of the things you have accomplished
· Go to dinner with a friend
· Go on a boy/girls night out
These things sound so simple yet we often do not prioritise them. If we were to simply turn up to work day in, day out and do nothing other than going home to do housework, it would only be a matter of time before we experienced burn out.
Learn what works for you and implement it now. Don’t wait until you’ve already hit exhaustion. Self care is so important!