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In recent times, wellbeing has been brought into sharp focus. Workplaces are now acutely aware of the importance of taking care of employees health & happiness. We are encouraged more and more to ‘Work to Live’ not ‘Live to work’. But what if you aren't taking care of yourself in during non-working time?
Self-care shouldn’t have to be justified; in or out of the workplace it’s important to recognise our wellbeing needs. Whilst we may not be facing an immediate emergency ‘putting on our oxygen mask first’ is a great rule of thumb; take some deep breaths before you need urgent care. After all, if you don’t take care of you, you won’t have anything to offer anyone else in need. It shouldn’t take a health set-back, or sheer exhaustion to alert us to our own needs.
We all have our individual thresholds for stress, and different ways of taking the pressure off. All of which are valid, and as are as individual as we are. It’s worth finding out for yourself what those thresholds are – what limits do you have? If you can, also find out what limits your family or team members have. Sharing these insights is a great way to build resilience and respect for one another.
Once you know where your limits are, consider how you can protect yourself against reaching those limits. For instance, have you ever found yourself wishing you’d said ‘no’ to something? It’s probably a feeling that’s more familiar than we care to admit; we all do it. Setting boundaries in our personal and professional lives is important because it sets expectations for others and is a reminder to ourselves that our time and effort matters. Whether it’s being stricter with limits on screen time, or how much overtime we are prepared to do, it’s a useful skill, and a key element of true self-care!
Before you agree to something, consider if you could reasonably say 'no'
Give yourself permission to take some time out - a 10 minute meditation a day is a great place to start.
Revisit something you love doing - try something that uses your hands, like baking, colouring or a paper craft. Or revive a retro album that gets you singing and dancing.
One last thing
Take your time getting comfortable with prioritising your self-care. If you aren’t used to putting yourself first it may take a little time to break old habits. Start slow, raise your awareness of your needs and adopt some new routines. Take a nap, go to bed 30 minutes earlier or set aside time to listen to a podcast. The more you address your needs, the easier it will become to recognise what you want.
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