Having a busy family life, managing my own business and my husband’s can be hectic and if I am not careful can lead to mild burn out or more. SELF care is something I have to mindfully add to my schedule, as a woman, mother, wife and business woman, I am often sucked into the daily vacuum of caring for everyone else first, leaving little time for me.
What I have learned over the years, is that I need to be at my best in order to care for everyone else well, in order to do my work well and in order to experience energy and joy from my journey.
My opinion of self care, involves our ‘whole’ selves, our Mind, Body and Soul – if we look after one and neglect the others it is a bit like having a house and only ever cleaning the lounge….
My life, partly due to personality, who I am in the world and what I choose to do for ‘work’ , is full of giving of myself to others, so it is VITAL (not a luxury) that I find space to receive and refill my tank.
Being at ‘ones’ best can mean many things and the answers will be individual, here are some things that have worked for me:
- Schedule ‘ME’ time into my diary, make it a physical BLOCK of time that can’t be moved or added to. Be realistic about this time and make sure that you can make it a consistent thing. I do it ahead of time for a week, I make it work, we can always make time for the things we value the most.
I recall this man telling me that every time he went on holiday, once a year from his crazy busy life, he got sick, I have heard others agree that this is the ‘norm’ they know of. I had to ask the question, WHY? There are probably many parts to the answer, some scientific, but it seems obvious that it may have something to do with the fact that he had neglected to rest and refuel on a regular basis, so his body just had to STOP him in his tracks, its almost as if some people have to get sick to allow themselves to stop or rest.
- I have adopted a ‘little and often’ principal to rest and restoration, here is how it might look over a month
Do exercise I enjoy at least 4 times per week, from 30 mins of walking – training in my sport
Put my feet up even if just for 15-30 mins some time in the day, usually after I have picked the kids up and they are eating afternoon tea, I will make a hot drink and sit.
Take one full week day off a fortnight, no I don’t appear to ‘have’ the available space in my diary and my to do lists are just as long but I MAKE the time, make this day all about me, even if it is catching up on sleep, taking a bath, reading a book. Because I have a big busy family I do this on a week day, I can because I work for myself, but this day can be any day and if a whole day won’t work what about a half day or 3 hours somewhere?
I used to be ‘all or nothing’, if I couldn’t fit in an hour work out I just wouldn’t bother, this way of thinking was not useful to my overall health and well being, so I had to adjust and realized that a small amount on a regular basis was just as beneficial if not more
- I have come to understand the art of mindfulness in all areas of my life, what I eat, what I say yes or no to (new commitments), how I feel, what my body is telling me it needs.
This is a bit of buzz word right now, but actually a very powerful thing to start to practice, it is just about becoming aware, rather than just repeating habits like a robot, stopping and just being aware the situation, hearing the amazing signals our body gives us to tell us what it needs at any given moment and then responding when possible.
- Being kind to myself, both in treatment but also inner dialogue, I began to notice my inner chatter and at times it was not very nice, I then set about becoming my own best friend.
And finally, deep diaphragmatic breathing often, breathing from the belly, this tells our body everything is OK, when things seem frantic, endless chores pile up, kids are scrappy and loud, my work ‘to do list’ is off the charts, emails are calling, deadlines pending – I BREATHE, and as I do I repeat ‘there is plenty of time to get what need done’ – I smile, laugh and sing to my favorite music.
I just take the pressure off myself, the results? Actually more productive, relaxed, happy and definitely more joy in all the small every day things.
Here is to your ‘self care’ – Breathe, enjoy and love yourself