What comes to mind when you think of self-care? Is it something that you view as essential, or more a nice-to-do? Self-care might seem like one of those terms that has been thrown around a lot these last few years, perhaps even over used.
And yet – the reality is that self-care is more important than ever.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines self-care as:
“The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.
The purpose of self-care is to maintain good mental and physical wellness, by spending time doing things that are geared towards that goal.
Self-care is an umbrella term used to describe all kinds of things that positively impact our overall health– emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.
Self-care can include activities that help you to focus on some of these areas:
- Health and personal care
- Lifestyle (including sports and leisure activities)
- Supportive relationships
- Living environment / community
- Financial wellbeing
- Professional / personal development
With more people than ever experiencing symptoms of mental ill health, and increasing pressure on mental health services, it is more important that every that we all invest time and energy in to self-care.
Self-care techniques can help individuals to manage and even prevent symptoms of many mental health problems.
Self-care means creating the time to do things that improve both your physical health and mental health and help you live well. When it comes to mental health, self-care helps keep stress at manageable levels, lowers the risk of illness, and increases energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a significant impact.
Self-care is different for everyone, and it is important to find what works for you – what you need and enjoy. And - although self-care is not a cure for mental health conditions, understanding what causes or triggers your symptoms of mental ill health, and what coping techniques work for you, can help maintain positive mental health.
Most of us, whether purposefully or not, will engage in some form of self-care in our personal time – whether that is our preferred form of exercise, spending time with friends, taking time to be alone, engaging in art or creativity or music, or something else. We might protect our personal time, so we can do the things we want and need to do for ourselves. We might say no to the things that we don’t want to do. This is all self-care.
With most of us spending a large percentage of our time at work, isn’t it time that we make self-care a part of our work life?
If we want to stay well at work and at home, to thrive, to be our best, to make the best contribution that we can at work – then we absolutely should be doing self-care at work.
So, what does this look like?
- Scheduling regular breaks
- Protecting lunch time – getting away from our desk
- Having breaks from screens
- Getting outdoors during breaks
- Having healthy boundaries in place
- Being honest about what we need
- Asking for help when we need it
- Saying no sometimes
- Switching off when we are off
- Having a good life/work balance
- Stay hydrated
- Have a healthy lunch
- Ask for feedback
- Make sure your workspace is comfortable
These are just a few ideas and we hope it inspires you to make self-care at work a priority. It’s really about finding what works for you and then making a commitment to doing what helps you to be at your best.
For more information about how we can support your organisation to create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, contact our team HERE.
With love, the MHIB team x