Monday, 11 November 2013

Looking after yourself…it’s all in the planning


"In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, 
if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, 
to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective." 
~ Dalai Lama

Wise words, as always, from the Dalai Lama. Have you ever noticed how much he smiles and jokes around? Seeing him speak always reminds me to lighten up a bit – there is such restoration in laughter.

It can be really difficult to remember to care for ourselves consistently and to place a high enough priority on self-care. For those of us who have worked in the community services sector, or in jobs where we are caring for others, there are added levels of stress and strain that come with the job. Unfortunately, those stressors often go unaddressed or are put to the side, because their importance is undervalued and because we’re all just so busy!

But the risk of burnout and other serious physical and mental health-related issues is really high if we don’t prioritise taking some time out to plan how to integrate self-care into our work and home lives. Like anything else you want to achieve in your life, ‘self-care’ and ‘work-life balance’ require planning. It’s so much more than doing those things we all know we need to do, like eating well, exercising, meditating etc etc. I’ve learnt that if I create a plan and do a few little things consistently, then I’m much more likely to keep a bit of balance in my life and ‘allow’ myself to take the time I need to refresh and restore myself.

A couple of years ago - prior to starting my business - I was working in the youth homelessness sector, which I loved. But it was ‘brutal’ in terms of the emotional stress it had on my life. So - after having been to a few self-care workshops that I found to be too unfocussed and wishy-washy for my liking, I began talking to people in the sector to see what it was that they felt they needed in a self-care workshop. Like me, most of them felt like they needed some really clear strategies to put into place – something that would be a nice balance between practical and ‘heart-level’ stuff. 

Over the last 2 years I’ve created, run, then refined a workshop called ‘Productivity, Planning & Stress Relief’, which I just loveI’m holding a session in Logan (Brisbane) soon, so if you want to start building up your ‘stress immunity’ and resilience for next year, I’d love to see you there!

Here are just a few things I do as a part of my own plan that might resonate with you…

SELF-NURTURING ACTIONS
~          Play some music you haven’t listened to before.
~          Bake bread or cookies.
~          Light a candle – or lots of candles!
THE POWER OF WORDS
~          Write a letter to yourself from the point of view of your ‘ancient’ (100 year old) self. What would your 'ancient self' say to you right now?
~          Write a thank-you notes to someone who has touched your life and inspired you.
PLAYFUL ACTIVITIES
~          Play a game of cards or another game with your kids or friends.
FUN PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
~          Throw a ball or Frisbee for a while (bounce it up against a wall if you’re on your own).
~          Throw rocks in the water.
~          Squeeze or pound clay (great stress release).
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES TO LAUGH
~          Your friends or family will always be there to make you laugh if you ask them…try saying “I need to have a giggle…tell me something funny”.
~          Watch a funny movie or TV show.
~          Goof around with children.

Daily habits 1/3/10/20 minutes
       1 minute – smile for one minute with your eyes closed
       3 minutes – close your eyes and think about how great your day is going to be, and be grateful before you even start the day
       10 minutes – write in your gratitude journal, or at the very least think about 3 things you are grateful for right now…get past the obvious
       20 minutes – meditate or go for a walk. Concentrate on gratitude and cheerfulness.

Planning, Productivity & Stress Relief Workshop
Wednesday 11th December, 2013
Logan ~ Brisbane
Details and registration form ~ www.inspireinq.com.au

And in the meantime...enjoy this absolutely gorgeous video of a bubba laughing at the most simple of things. What a great reminder!

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