The importance of self-care

If you’ve ever taken a flight, you know about the safety announcement before take-off. Whether it’s a big flight with fancy screens in the seat-back in front of you, or just the stewards standing in the aisle pointing towards the exits, every flight has them. And in every announcement they say:

Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.

That’s the theme of today’s post. Self-care. As many people have told me over the years, you can’t take care of people if you aren’t taking care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t…..unless YOU come first.

It’s not an easy concept to remember. I’m getting better at it (I’m also learning there’s a fine line between self-care and self-indulgence, but that’s something to talk about another time!)

You might know I’m a social worker. I work, therefore, in a social environment. You might also know I’m an introvert, and I don’t actually like “people”. Somehow, I’ve ended up called to a profession where people fill my every day. Needy people. Demanding people. Traumatised people. Angry or sad people. Sometimes, rude people. And it’s my job to give myself to them, day in and day out, week in – week out – all the time.

Not actually ALL the time – the organisation I work for is good at establishing boundaries and ensuring that at 5pm I can switch my phone & emails off and trust that the OOH team will take care of things until morning, when I switch back on again – but that doesn’t mean that all these people don’t remain in my head, as I drive home, make dinner,  interact with more people (I have patient friends!), try and get to sleep.

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So, self-care is important and as I’ve said, it’s been a learning curve for me – trying to establish what self-care looks like is different for everyone, but here’s what it looks like for me…

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Nesting… My nest (my bed) is a very special place. On Saturdays it is not unusual to find me just hanging out here, watching tv on my tablet, listening to music, reading, or sleeping in! However I have recently imposed a ban on screens in bed. NO phone, NO tablet, after bedtime. This has majorly improved my sleep!

 

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Chai tea latte…so good.
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Gratitude reminders…I have these all round me.
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Hanging out with this babe…
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Bible study. Refocusing on Him…
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Remembering this!
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Sewing or crafty stuff. I like to make nice things, and I like the peacefulness that it requires
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Food!! I love making food for people. Not so great at remembering to cook nice things just for myself, but I love to cook generally
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A good cup of tea. Tea is so good. I know it’s quite “British” to say that, but it’s true
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Solitude. I need peace, and space. Also, this picture represents America. I need my Americans!

 

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And lastly… this guy. The sweetest (and now, squishiest and chunkiest) nephew who has stolen my heart and who I get to see in 16 days. 16 days too long…but then I get cuddles for 5 days straight. All the squishes.

 

-x-