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The importance of self care

When you get on a plane and they do the emergency briefing, they say that you should put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. That’s because if you lose consciousness, you would be useless to help anyone else.

In real life, it’s rarely as dramatic as that, but the reality is that if you get burnt out, you aren’t going to be able to help yourself or other people.

WHAT is self care?

Self-care is about attending to your own needs to maintain and improve your health and well-being. It involves activities that help you recharge and maintain balance in your life.

It might be easier to explain what self-care isn’t. Many people think it’s about doing something enjoyable or fun. While we all need to do enjoyable things, sometimes self-care means doing the hard, less enjoyable thing so that your life improves as a result.

These things aren’t self-care:

  • Spending a lot of money on skincare if you can’t afford it
  • Deciding to get up at 6 am to do an hour of yoga and meditation before work – a great idea for influencers but unrealistic for most of us! A quick 15-minute yoga flow sounds much more realistic!
  • Complex routines with lots of steps that don’t fit in with your lifestyle

The key here is to recognize the difference between what you need and what you want – self-care is what you need. Make sure that what you plan is realistic for you. This will look different for everyone.

How to plan your self care routine

Step 1

Identify your stressors.  Grab a pen and paper and spend 10 minutes jotting down what gets you down or causes you frustration day to day.For example:

  • Lack of work-life balance?
  • House a mess?
  • Finances?
  • Not getting enough sleep?
  • Taking on too much responsibility because you feel like you can’t say no?
Step 2

Brainstorm Solutions Next, take a few moments to brainstorm ideas to address these problems. This could include seeking help from a professional or family member or friend. For example, if finances are causing you stress, do you need some financial help? Perhaps find some financial experts to follow on Instagram for tips or arrange to speak with a financial advisor.

         

        Step 3

        Create a simple routine. 

        Every decision we make uses up a little of our brain power, and over time, this adds up and can cause anxiety and overwhelm. Having a simple routine to follow every day can help reduce that fatigue by reducing the number of decisions we need to make.  Barak Obama explained how he reduces decision fatigue in an interview with Vanity Fair.

         

        You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make

        Barak Obama

        How about  a night time routine of prepping for the following day – plan and prepare your lunch for work the next day and put your clothes out ready?  The next morning will flow smoothly as you spare yourself the decisions of what to wear and what to eat for breakfast or lunch.

        Remember that self-care is about improving your wellbeing and life, so don’t become overwhelmed by overhauling lots of things at once. Set up a routine that is simple and manageable.

        Self-Care Checklist
        • Is this giving me what I need?
        • Is it realistic and achievable?
        • Can I afford it within my budget?
        • Does it fit my lifestyle?
        About me

        Hi I am Anna.  I am a counsellor specialising in anxiety and overwhelm and burnout.  If you are finding daily life a struggle get in touch or click the button below to arrange your free introductory call to find out more about how therapy can help you.  Or click the buttons below to follow me on social media for tips on mental health and self care.