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The Whats, Whys and Hows of Self-Care

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What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.
What isn’t self-care?
Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. Self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”
Self-care isn’t a selfish act either. It is not only about considering our needs; it is rather about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, being subsequently, able to take care of others as well. That is, if I don’t take enough care of myself, I won’t be in the place to give to my loved ones either.
In a few words, self-care is the key to living a balanced life
Where do you start?
Well, there are three golden rules:
  • Stick to the basics. Over time you will find your own rhythm and routine. You will be able to implement more and identify more particular forms of self-care that work for you.
  • Self-care needs to be something you actively plan, rather than something that just happens. It is an active choice and you must treat it as such. Add certain activities to your calendar, announce your plans to others in order to increase your commitment, and actively look for opportunities to practice self-care.
  • Keeping a conscious mind is what counts. In other words if you don’t see something as self-care or don’t do something in order to take care of yourself, it won’t work as such. Be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are.

Examples of Self-Care

Physical self-care
Activities that help you to stay fit and healthy, and with enough energy to get through your work and personal commitments.
  • Develop a regular sleep routine.
  • Aim for a healthy diet.
  • Take lunch breaks.
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Take your dog for a walk after work.
  • Use your sick leave.
  • Get some exercise before/after work regularly.

Self- Care when you have four kids

Psychological self-care
Activities that help you to feel clear-headed and able to intellectually engage with the professional challenges that are found in your work and personal life.
  • Keep a reflective journal.
  • Seek and engage in external supervision or regularly consult with a more experienced colleague.
  • Engage with a non-work hobby.
  • Turn off your email and work phone outside of work hours.
  • Make time for relaxation.
  • Make time to engage with positive friends and family.
Emotional self-care
Allowing yourself to safely experience your full range of emotions.
  • Develop friendships that are supportive.
  • Write three good things that you did each day.
  • Play a sport and have a coffee together after training.
  • Go to the movies or do something else you enjoy.
  • Keep meeting with your parents' group or other social group.
  • Talk to you friend about how you are coping with work and life demands.

Spiritual self-care
This involves having a sense of perspective beyond the day-to-day of life.
  • Engage in reflective practices like meditation.
  • Go on bush walks.
  • Go to church/mosque/temple.
  • Do yoga.
  • Reflect with a close friend for support.

Relationship self-care
This is about maintaining healthy, supportive relationships, and ensuring you have diversity in your relationships so that you are not only connected to work people.
  • Prioritise close relationships in your life e.g. with partners, family and children.
  • Attend the special events of your family and friends.
  • Arrive to work and leave on time every day

"Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what's left of you"

- Katie Reed


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