Why is self-care important?
How often do you take care of yourself?
How often do you put others needs ahead of your own?
How often do you say I have not got time for me; I will get round to doing that thing for me later?
If you are someone who puts others ahead of yourself then you may find you dont give yourself enough self-care
Self-care can often come bottom of the pile, but it’s not just self-care you are putting bottom of the pile, you are putting yourself at the bottom of the pile.
You are essentially saying I’m not worthy, I do not deserve this, I am not good enough for this, everyone else is more worthy and more deserving of my time than I am.
Not recognising your own needs can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, low self confidence and low self-worth, all these feelings can lead to a negative view of yourself and this can lead to depression and anxiety.
I always remind myself of the safety announcements on planes to remind myself of the importance of me.
When they give the safety announcement on the plane the air steward will ask you in the event of an emergency to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting someone else with theirs.
Why do they ask you to do this?
Because if you are not in a healthy place you will not be able to assist someone else.
If you have difficulty breathing whilst helping someone else than actually you are no help to either of you.
Self-care puts you in a better place to be able to help others.
Self-care was one of the first things I learnt to prioritise as a counsellor. If I take on board too much personally, I will not be in the best place help to my clients.
If putting yourself first is unfamiliar to you and feels like too much of a challenge I would urge you to rethink and start to put in some actions that can help you.
This is not being selfish the definition of selfish is a lack of consideration for others, being devoted to or caring only for yourself regardless of others needs
If you are a selfish person you would be concerned excessively and exclusively about yourself.
Self-care on the other hand is being mindful of your own needs, so that you are better able to support and care for others
Self-care is often talked about as spa days, massages, visits to the nail parlour, but it is so much more than this.
It being able to take care of your physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual health.
It is something you need to be practising every day. Not just when you get stressed or overwhelmed.
By practicing self-care, you will be more present for yourself and more present for others.
Here are some tips on how you can put yourself first so that self-care becomes your priority.
1.Protect your me time as if it were an Appointment.
Write your me time in your diary or put it on your calendar like any other appointment. and schedule something just for you, something you enjoy or some quiet time.
Make it an appointment you cannot miss like a doctor’s appointment or a dentist appointment.
How often do you cancel your me time because someone else has asked for your help.
If you had a hospital appointment you would let them know you were not available, start to do the same with your me time.
Of course, sometimes you might have to cancel your appointment, we all cancel appointments sometimes, but make it the exception not the rule.
2, Be honest with yourself about your own needs
If you are honest with yourself about your needs, it is easier to communicate this to other people.
When I worked in sales I had what we call an elevator pitch for my sales, have your own elevator pitch ready for when someone asks why you cannot do something for them.
"I'd love to be able to help, will this time be OK for you? That is the best time for me."
You are recognising how important you are, but not disregarding the needs of others, this is self-care in itself.
Think about other people you know, do you think they are being selfish when they fit in their gym time, or want to watch their favourite TV programme.
If you do not feel you are worthy of the moments just for you, than you are communicating to others you are not worthy, and that it is ok for them to demand anything from you at any time.
3. Do not say yes when you mean no
This is one of the hardest things to do if you are a rescuer and always putting others needs before your own.
If you are bottom of the pile, then of course others are more deserving of your time than you.
You might feel like you are top of the pile because you are being the SUPERHERO
Being a superhero feels great, everyone turns to you for help, everyone knows you can sort their problems, you are the kindest person they know, you can be relied on- that feels great doesn’t it?
However on the flip side you may think, unless I help people they won’t like me, you feel like you are being taken advantage of a lot of the time, people cant cope with things unless you are around, nothing would get done if you didn’t do it.
Being a superhero puts you at the top of the list for others, but at the bottom of your own list
Next time you want to say No just say it, do not apologise, or offer up an excuse, you are allowed to say no.
You are not being selfish and disregarding others needs, you are practicing self-care.
There is a time to say yes and a time to say no-you need to develop a sense of when both words are important to you and therefore to others too.
If you feel like your oxygen mask is not in place that is the time to say no.
Remember Self-care is important
It is not a selfish act
It is the practice of taking an active role to preserve or improve your own health and wellbeing
Laura Knight is a qualified and experienced Counsellor and a registered member of BACP (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
She is an approved Anxiety UK Therapist and has her own private practice SeeClear Counselling, in Poole Dorset.
She can offer face to face, telephone and video counselling sessions
Laura also spent some time working with Dorset Mind delivering education to local employers on how to identify and manage stress at work reducing the impact that work stress can have on people's everyday lives.
Laura found that many of her clients would present with Anxiety and because of this enhanced her training to include CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as there is evidence to suggest that CBT is effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Laura now focuses on working with adults who struggle with Anxiety and panic attacks within her private practice, working with them to reduce the scary physical and emotional symptoms they experience and help them change their negative thinking patterns so they can lead a calmer life.
For more information about Laura please visit her website https://www.seeclearcounselling.co.uk
Or visit her Facebook page https://facebook.com/seeclearcounselling
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07975733029