Juggling life roles: self-care
The balancing of life roles can be tricky, but it is possible to resolve a lot of daily stresses by taking some action. In the previous 2 blogs we looked at juggling life roles and also looked at home schooling whilst working from home. With those addressed it leaves self-care for exploration. You may be thinking ‘As long as everyone else is sorted then I’ll be OK.’ It’s a common assumption but let me challenge that- without you, you can’t take care of others. So, you are important and you need to come first in your list of priorities. I can hear the laughter and surprise but truly- if you aren’t in good shape mentally then the chances of you being able to support and care for other people even in the medium-term are greatly reduced.
How to self-care and support yourself:
Identify the problem(s): Admit things aren’t going quite right. Listen to your mind and body; understand which areas are causing the most concern and stress for you. Make a point of listing how it makes you feel, what it’s affecting, what support you feel you need and think about who you need to talk to for additional support. Admitting you can’t carry on alone is actually very freeing, despite the constant avoidance of doing so.
Ask for help: Book an appointment with your manager or HR and don’t be afraid to be honest about your experiences. Both managers and HR want you to be able to work at your usual capacity and will want to support you if you are struggling. Employers have a duty of care to all staff and that includes addressing mental health concerns if you find yourself unable to cope, feel overwhelmed or notice your moods are dramatically different lately.
Speak to your partner, family, friends or care providers and look at what elements need the most attention.
Ask for a referral: If you think your concerns are beyond your usual day to day worries then accessing a counsellor is much easier than it used to be. Services are confidential and they don’t have to be face to face if that doesn’t suit your lifestyle. If you are finding a counsellor yourself, then find one that you gel with as it is important to feel able to open up and explore your problems. A counsellor shouldn’t add to your concerns, you should feel safe and secure enough with them to talk through whatever the issue(s) may be. Vet a few counsellors, if the first one doesn’t seem right then go with your instincts.
If your company has an employee assistance programme then counselling is likely available via that service. Speak with your manager or HR about a referral.
It can be hard asking for help and you may feel that going to your manager or seeing a counsellor means things are out of your control. Please remember that each of those things requires your decision, your own choices and your own commitment to addressing your needs. That means it’s firmly in your control!
Here are some additional resources that can support you and help you build up a regular self-care routine in order to help support your own mental health:
Insight Timer & Headspace are fantastic meditation apps that are free to download or have free features within them.
‘Hello Fresh’ is a weekly (optional) subscription which allows you to pick healthy meals that are delivered straight to your door, each meal is bagged up ready for you to cook so no more resorting to takeaways 5 days a week while you struggle to cope, let alone consider what to make for your evening meal. Each meal is ready to go whenever you want to cook it. You choose the meals and you choose the amount of time you are prepared to stand cooking it. Take the hassle out of meal planning, supermarket shopping and trying to create gastronomy in the home when you have zero energy and feel flat.
Meal planning put aside an hour a week to batch cook, label the meals and freeze them for when you need them, making evening meals quick and easy without the hassle of spending an hour a night cooking for you/ your family.
Exercise: ranging from a 10-minute yoga YouTube session, a walk around the block or a 5-hour bike ride! Find what clears your head, experiment but above all you must enjoy your time away from the PC and the home otherwise it won’t be something you stick to. Regular exercise can reduce stress levels, increase sleep and promote better problem solving.
Samsung Health App if you have an android phone then this app can help you look at your lifestyle as a whole, ranging from nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight, and setting goals on steps per day, exercise and caffeine intake. It helps you make healthy choices each day.
Journaling: getting the negative thoughts out of your head or at least down on paper can be a great way to face what is going on in your mind, it can help you consider if the stress associated with them is necessary or not and it can also release some of the burden and responsibility that you may be carrying around.
Self-compassion: you might be your own worst enemy right now by constantly criticising yourself and your actions. Stop, take a step back and try some compassion. Recognise the world is a stressful place right now and acknowledge you do your best each day. That is enough.