The importance of self-care

With everything going on right now with Covid-19, it’s hard not to let the worry and panic take over. With all the uncertainty, and no way of knowing how long it will go on for, making time to take care of ourselves is more important now than ever.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

In order to be there for others, we first need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. Setting aside time, however small, to do something everyday that will keep your cup topped up is not selfish, it’s necessary. Over the past few months I have seen how much better I feel after taking a little time to do something for me each day. I have more patience, I don’t feel as if I am unraveling all the time and I am able to give so much more to my family and friends.

Whether you have found yourself working from home for the first time, homeschooling like we are, or are one of the valuable key workers that have suddenly found themselves with much more on their plate, carving out a little time for you is going to be harder than normal. So I hope these ideas will help you restore some order, give you a sense of calm and help you build in time for your all important self-care.

Have a plan

It doesn’t have to be set in stone and it doesn’t have to be forever, but a list of things you need to achieve against the hours you are able to do them can be a great life raft for those times when you feel that you are losing grasp of everything and need something to bring you back in.

Prioritise some time for you

I’ve talked before about finding those things that fill you up and doing at least one of them everyday. Now is the time to run with it. It will take a bit of trial and error but eventually you will find something that works for you. My morning cup of tea is currently in flux, but I keep an eye out throughout the day for a moment when I can squeeze it in so that I can have a few minutes to re-charge my batteries.

Don’t overestimate

I’m terrible at overestimating how much I can get done in a set amount of time. I’m getting better, but only through learning the hard way. If you’re suddenly working from home you need to acknowledge that you may not be as productive as normal, especially if you have children or a partner around as well. A good rule of thumb I’ve found is to make a list of how much you think you can get done, then highlight the 3 things that are the most important and make those your priority. If you still have time you can always do something else from the list. This method helps me feel like I’m achieving the things I need to do, instead of feeling guilty about not finishing the list.

Stick to your usual routines where possible

If you are newly working from home then trying to stick to your usual routines of when you eat and go to bed can help keep a familiar sense of structure to your days. Trying to bring some of your usual ‘winding down ready to go home’ routine in to your new work day can also help your brain to switch off. I still struggle with this one so if you have anything you find useful I’d love to hear!

Share how you feel

Whether it’s talking to your partner, a friend on the phone or writing in a journal; getting your thoughts out of your head can be a huge help. It allows you to make sense of things, helps you feel calmer and can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

The main things to remember are to be flexible. The situation is always changing and could go on for some time. Be kind to yourself. Hopefully we’ll find a new normal soon to help us ride out his storm. In the meantime, follow your governments guidelines, stay safe and stay strong.

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