Imagine that your Headteacher came in one morning and said, ‘take the day off, go on, go and do whatever you want!’. But imagine that he or she also said you couldn’t do any school work, or housework, or other jobs like this, it had to be a day off, doing something for you, something that would truly rejuvenate yourself. This is self care, and basically we don’t do enough of this, but we must, if we are to feel like we have some assemblence of a reasonable work-life balance.
If your Headteacher did say you could have the day off, would you grasp it with both hands and know exactly what you’d do, or would you actually feel guilty at the prospect of such an indulgence? Self care is important if you want to be your best at work so don’t feel guilty. Let me give you a car analogy. There’s probably certain checks and maintenance you’d do on your car if you planned to go on a long journey as well as the general maintenance throughout the year. And you’d need to ensure you had a mechanism to refuel too! Self care is the human equivalent. It might seem counterintuitive to spend time ‘frivolously’ when you could be doing a whole host of things on your long ‘to do’ list. However, caring for yourself is essential (even in little ways) to your health, general well being, and work-life satisfaction. So, Coach Julie Cohen says:
- commit time and energy to looking after yourself – have specific and sacred time booked in just for you.
- put yourself first – believe in the benefits of focusing on yourself because if you don’t, you’ll feel you are stealing time from some other activity you could be doing
- stay clear on what matters to you – what are your self care priorities and how do you want them to make you feel?
- surround yourself with a supportive environment – who are the people who can offer you support and encouragement to engage in your self care?