Self-care is valuing and appreciating our worth. When we value something, we take care of it. This should apply to ourself in the same way it does to people or things we care about.
We want to feel physically well, be able to cope with stress and the challenges we face, to feel positive emotions and generally enjoy our life.
This won’t just happen.
The metaphor often used is ‘you can’t pour from an empty container’. It is vital we refill the container and replenish our resources through self-care. Yet as parents, and working parents, replenishing these resources can feel like yet another task on the ‘to-do’ list or another thing to be self-critical about.
What gets in the way of self-care?
The list is consistent:
- Lack of time
- Putting the needs of others first
- The belief it is selfish and self-indulgent
Take a moment to challenge these:
- Lack of time presupposes self-care is time consuming. Sometimes it is about changing unhelpful habits, or stopping things that are detrimental to our wellbeing.
- Many of us have caring responsibilities. We may have been brought up to think of others. I am not challenging this but sometimes we can take it to an unhelpful extreme. How might we get a better balance and sometimes say no to others?
- Self-care does not need to be time expensive and indulgent. Sometimes a form of self-care might be a treat and that is fine. Most of the time actions don’t need to cost money or take a lot of time. Often self-care is about stopping something that is detrimental to our wellbeing.
What can you do differently?
My approach encourages people to create a plan that is practical and realistic for their life.
We all have a unique set of demands and commitments. We all enjoy doing different things. We all have differing levels of physical and mental resources.
Therefore, our self-care plan needs to be tailored for us.
Invest a few minutes in considering changes you might make that will enhance your wellbeing. Make sure they are specific actions including when you will do them. Ideally build in some accountability to help you stick with your plan, but alongside that remember to be kind to yourself if sometimes life gets in the way of plans.
- What habits are detrimental to your overall wellbeing that you will stop?
- How can you create obstacles to these habits to help you change? For example, if you constantly check emails take steps to make it harder – put your phone away, turn off notifications, set to Do Not Disturb, move apps from the home screen so it takes more effort to open (it’s a small change but it works!).
- What will you start doing that enhances your wellbeing?
- Make them simple, realistic actions that fit in with your life. Saying you will go to the gym won’t work if you hate the gym. However, you could commit to a short walk each lunch time, or even just to taking a break every day.
- How can you remove barriers to these actions? For example, block time out in your diary so a meeting can’t get in the way, agree to meet a friend for a walk and you’ll go because you won’t want to let them down.
- What are you currently doing that supports your wellbeing and you will continue?
- Take a moment to reflect on these good habits and ensure you keep them up.
Enjoy making your personalised self-care plan and feel the benefits. You can download the template to help you.
If you would like to join a free Self-care Power Hour session to develop your plan, details and dates can be found via this link https://proteasolutions.co.uk/events/
This article was written by Marion Hewitt, one of Careering into Motherhood’s Partner Coaches. Marion is helping women to value and appreciate themselves, develop greater self-kindness and optimise their natural strengths. You can get in touch via her profile page, visiting her website https://proteasolutions.co.uk/marion-hewitt/ or LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/marion-hewitt/
May 1, 2023