I recently came across this article from our EAP provider, First Sun. I think we all could use a reminder that first and foremost, we need to take care of ourselves. It’s only then that we can be productive and good caregivers…
Do you trust you to take care of you?
Trust and self-care are strongly linked. Taking care of yourself requires an investment of time and commitment. If you can pay attention to what your needs are, slow down and practice good self-care, you will actually get more done. In the same way, earning, building or rebuilding trust requires good self-care – it is very hard to have the attention, patience and discipline to manage trust when you are burned out. Regular self-care can have a strong impact on your health, your relationships and your work life.
So what is self-care? Self-care is practicing behaviors that help you feel refreshed, motivated, and open to life. It’s a way of keeping your batteries charged so you are “ready to go” when you want to get somewhere. There are three main components to self-care: physical, financial and mental/emotional. Here are some good ideas for taking care of yourself.
Physical – Trust that no matter your age or current fitness level, you can make a big change by starting small.
• Move your body every day – stretch, walk, exercise, play a sport, play with the kids, or just dance around (even housecleaning counts).
• Eat good food – If your diet isn’t the best, try a small change – one less soft drink, one more glass of water, a piece of fruit instead of that candy bar, a whole grain bread instead of white bread.
• Get a massage or buy a new item of clothing – these things help you feel good in your body and encourage you to want to take better care of it.
Financial – Trust that you can develop a plan that you can feel happy following.
• Be realistic about what you want and need. Often people set budgets that don’t honor how they live. Be honest and see if you can find a way to make it work. Allow yourself permission to spend on things that are important to you.
• Get help – If you are struggling with finances, consult with an expert who can help you.
Mental/Emotional – Trust that you are not being selfish by taking care of yourself. Self-care gives you strength and inner resources to help you give more to others.
• Be kind to yourself. Accept that you far from your ideal. Accept that you made some mistakes. Be accepting and encourage yourself forward. Think of how you would treat a friend who needed support. Do the same for yourself.
• Have reasonable expectations. This doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. The point is to stretch- not break- yourself. Set limits for yourself and for others who ask things of you.
• Spend time with people who make you laugh, who share your values and who you admire.
• Give yourself time to do things that are creative and fun. This can help you to gain a new perspective on things and feel new energy and motivation.