Neglecting our own health and wellbeing serves no-one!
For anyone reading this who is already practicing self-care on a regular basis, well done; please encourage your colleagues of the benefits. This post may not offer any new ideas, but it may help you remember to keep up the good work. For anyone not practicing self-care often or at all, I hope something in this piece offers some reasons for you to rethink and also make time for you, as you do matter.
The Nurses and Midwives resource booklet on this site offers some ideas of places for support, and you can also find out what local arrangements are available in your place of work and community. In our work and personal lives things can happen which require more than self-care or self-management and this post doesn’t replace professional advice, but it’s a start.
Self-care takes many forms and can be simple; sometimes even taking moments to pause can make a difference, such as listening to this meditation which takes around five minutes:
We already know what to do, it’s what we do for others, however, for some strange reason when it becomes doing what we know for ourselves… it does not always go to plan.
Perhaps we have an unconscious bias about what self-care is. Our unconscious bias by definition is something we are not aware of; it happens at an unconscious level and is triggered by our brain moving into automatically making a fast judgement on something.
If we have a perception of ourselves as “hard working, going the extra mile, caring, putting others first,” etc, then we may assume self-care to go against that – “we don’t have time for self-care; we have too much to do.” However, if we replace self-care with good health, perhaps it may help us realise that self-care is not self-indulgent; it’s simply making time for our own health.
In an emergency on an aeroplane, we put our own oxygen masks on first not because we are selfish, it’s because we can’t help anyone else put on their mask if we have passed out!
We are all different, we have different interests, responsibilities both in and outside of work, so one size won’t fit all. What matters is that you find something which works for you. Something which you enjoy looking forward to and doesn’t feel like another chore.
Part of self-care is also touching in with how you are doing and not waiting until you feel ill to realise you have pushed yourself too far. There are many ways we can check in with ourselves from formal assessments, informal assessments, becoming more aware of what wellbeing means to ourselves and mindful when things are not as they should be.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. — Anne Lamott
You are amazing, the work you do is amazing, and you matter too so please, ditch the myth self-care is self-indulgent and think about how you can build some into every day. This wee video offers ideas on how we can use all our senses to relax. Sometimes building self-care into our day, is a lot easier and less time consuming than we may think.
Honorary Fellow QNIS