I've been thinking a lot about self care recently. It's a term I use regularly in my clinics especially with patients that present with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Self care essentially means 'looking after you' and helps us to manage the stresses of everyday life. Sounds simple right?!
Many of us are constantly on the go these days whether that be in our careers or home life. We rarely get time to just stop and take a moment for ourselves to rest and take check of how we are doing. You can also feel guilty for taking a bit of 'you' time away from loved ones. For those of us that work in professions that involve caring for others it is important to look after yourself to prevent compassion fatigue. If you regularly feel stressed, have problems sleeping and become easily irritated these can all be signs that you need to take a break. We tend to wait until we become unwell and are forced to rest instead of looking after ourselves and being kind to ourselves to prevent stress related illness occurring.
Top tips for self care:
Sleep - try to make sure that you get enough sleep for your body. If you are struggling to get off to sleep try not using your phone or TV in the hour before you go to bed and stop caffeine after 6pm. If you ave anything on your mind try and write it down so that the thoughts are on paper and not spinning around your head!
Food - eating enough to sustain your energy levels is vital! Try to minimise processed foods and keep your gut happy! Being mindful of where and when you eat is all important. Make sure you give yourself dedicated time to eat so that you don't feel like you are rushing.
Workload - know your limits! This is one of my key issues as I am sure it is for many of you. Its okay to say no to things especially if you already have a hectic caseload or diary. No-one can do it all! Spending your day rushing round like a maniac can end up leaving you exhausted and close to burnout so learning how to slow down the pace whilst still getting things done is key.
Exercise - it doesn't have to be in the gym but get up and get moving! Exercise helps us both physically and psychologically, improving your mood and lowering stress levels.
Self care is about taking the time to appreciate yourself. Its not selfish to give yourself a moment to do what you enjoy!
Self care can be done in so many different ways. From unwinding by listening to music on the way home from work, to yoga or going for a walk in your favourite place it doesn't have to be a full day just a bit of time for you. If you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed and would like help with managing stress and/or anxiety a counsellor can be really helpful. You can message me via the website contact forms if you would like further information/signposting for this.