‘Self-Care For Busy People Part 1’ written by Dr Suzanne Henwood and published in Great Health Guide (September 2017). Do you find yourself feeling tired, like you’re at your maximum capacity? Nowadays, people are working longer hours in the day, over-stretching themselves and suffering from stress and burnout. It is important to take care of your health and wellbeing using a practice called self-care. Self-care is not a value-added commodity, it is an essential component of a sustainable future so remember to take time for yourself and unwind. In this fantastic article, Dr Suzanne Henwood demonstrates five ways in which you can incorporate self-care in your daily life to create holistic health and wellbeing.
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GREAT HEALTH: Self-Care For Busy People Part 1
written by Dr Suzanne Henwood
Are you someone who works long hours and wonders where the day goes to? Do you feel you are working at, or beyond full capacity, with no space for anything else?
I will show you that it is easy to build time into each day for self-care, so that it becomes a natural practice.
It is very easy to put yourself and your own needs at the bottom of the list of priorities, but research is showing us that our health is suffering due to stress and lack of self-care. Our work environments are often challenging and with the ever-increasing rate of change, those challenges are only likely to increase over time. If you don’t prioritise your needs, you will not be here to continue serving and meeting the needs of others at home and work.
Your self-care is not avalue-added commodity; it is an essential component of a sustainable future. So, we need to find time in our busy schedules to build it in. Just as 5-7 pieces of fruit and veg a day is good for your health, 5-7 practices of quick and easy self-care activities a day, or at least once a week, will help you to create holistic health and well-being.
CHOOSE YOUR FAVOURITES SELF-CARE PRACTICES FROM THIS LIST OF EXAMPLES AND FEEL FREE TO ADD IN YOUR OWN:
1. Carry out self-assessment.
We often get so caught up in work or commitments at home, that we don’t even realise how we truly feel. A great practice is to take 2 minutes out at the start or end of the day, to self-scan and check in with your body to see if anything requires attention. Whether it is physical aches and pains, emotional discomfort or old habits and patterns which are impacting on your behaviour – a quick scan can help you focus on changes that could improve your health and well-being.
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2. Perform deep breathing.
Set an alarm and STOP what you are doing every two hours. Turn the alarm off and take a deep breath in. Place your hands on your belly and make sure the breath is deep and even and pushes your belly out as you breathe in. Now let that breath go, blowing out the breath and imagining any tension or negativity being exhaled with the air. Consciously relax your abdominal muscles and allow your breath to move easily and freely. Repeat these actions, three to five times, holding a feeling of appreciation at heart level, ensuring the length of the breath in and breath out, are the same. The combination of these activities will facilitate a lowering of high heart rate, which is healthy for your whole system.
3. Try mindful breathing.
Alternately you can try mindful breathing – again stop what you are doing, put all your attention and focus on your breath and just notice what you notice. There is no aim to change anything, or to judge any feeling you become aware of – just notice. This will bring you into the present moment. Research shows that this can have a significant reduction on stress levels, along with an increase in immune function, learning and memory, to name a few of the evidence based benefits.
4. Do random acts of kindness.
There is a vast array of research to show that demonstrating kindness to others, makes you feel good. What better way to practice this than at work, which has the double benefit, where both you and your colleagues gain from those actions. Think of ways to show kindness, whether it is washing up someone’s mug, leaving a positive note on their work station, doing a task you know they don’t enjoy, or bringing in healthy food to share. Whatever you think of, ideally something that is tailor made for the individual, enjoy the pleasure it gives you as you find creative ways of doing these acts of kindness. Over time the people with whom you spend your work days, will benefit as well.
5. Practice gratitude.
One of the most effective ways to increase mood is to practice gratitude. Buy yourself a diary and each day write three things you are grateful for. It can be small and simple things that you notice, but what you will probably find, is that in a very short space of time, the number of things that you record grows. You can set a certain time of day to fill in your gratitude diary so it becomes a habitual and normal part of your every-day practice.
While there is no one ‘right’ list of activities and everyone will have their own preferences, you can adjust and refine these simple ideas to fit your work environments. Whether you use these examples, or create your own practices, the key to success is making a firm commitment to pay attention to all areas of your life at home and work.
Your defining principle must be the belief that this investment of time and energy in yourself is worthwhile.
Author of this article:
Dr Suzanne Henwood is the Director and Lead Coach and Trainer of mBraining4Success. She is also the CEO of The Healthy Workplace and a Master Trainer and Master Coach of mBIT (Multiple Brain Integration Techniques) and can be contacted via her website.
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