Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Do you often find that you feel tense? Does your list of priorities sometimes seem overwhelming? Do you have a strategy to boost your self-esteem and reduce your stress levels?
Everyone is different and will find different strategies for self-care supportive. I personally start my day with exercise; be it cardio, weights, or a mindful movement such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong. I find this sets me up for the day and motivates me to get moving. Routine for me is valuable so I can maintain my work life balance, yet set out to achieve what it is I need to that day. There are times when I feel overwhelmed and being able to identify this is valuable. At these times I will take time out of my day, even if it is for a 10 minute tea break or a walk. I will fully immerse myself in that task. If it is a tea break, I will focus on the preparation, aroma, sounds, and taste. If it is a walk, I will immerse myself in my surroundings. I will feel the climate, gaze at the scenery, listen to the sounds around me and the smells, maybe of freshly cut grass. Providing myself with this space permits me to return to my tasks invigorated and with a fresh perspective. Another technique I find invaluable if I can’t take that break is deep breathing through the abdomen as opposed to the chest. It is a skill best practiced best when in a calm state and it will become like second nature when your breathing begins to escalate. So, if you are in a meeting for example, you can take that pause and regain your composure.
As I mentioned these techniques will vary from person to person and it is about finding out what works for you. So that you have that skillset there when you need it. One technique for identifying what works best for yourself is to keep a journal. Make a note of what the pleasant experience was. Identify what in your day made you feel good. Note how you felt before physically and mentally, then how you felt during the experience. Try to note down as much detail as possible. Identify what thoughts, moods, and physical sensations you felt. Also note how you felt as you wrote the details down in your journal. Soon, you will build up a list of activities that you can use to motivate yourself and calm yourself both in the immediate and the longer term. Incorporating these into a daily routine can make a significant difference to your welfare.
It is always important to take care of ourselves, especially if we want to be in a position to support others. As ever, if you want to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We all need support. There is no shame in asking for it.