If we could be more resilient and happier why wouldn’t we priorities self-care?
Recognising our own needs, boundaries and limitations is a huge part of self-care.
Self-care is often something that takes practice, especially if you are not in the habit of making your own needs a priority. The most difficult thing about self-care is often the adjustment in priorities.
Self-care does not need to be complicated.
Sleep – Research shows that sleep and our immune system are directly related. Whilst in deep sleep our immune system rebuilds itself, and our serotonin and norepinephrine rebuild and replenish themselves.
Research also suggests even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on stress and mood. Lack of sleep is associated with increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and overall mental exhaustion, and could even increase emotional stress by up to 30%. Exhaustion should not be worn as a badge of honor!
Look after your body. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and exercise. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it is tired, rest! When we are busy it is so easy to skip meals. You would not let your tractor run out of fuel, and you should not do the same to your body. Having some healthy snacks at the cowshed or in the office is always handy.
Schedule regular breaks and time off and not for running errands, catching up on paperwork or housework. Take time out for YOU!. Whether it is to read a book, go for a walk or listen to music. Even a short break is better than no break. It may even be a good idea to turn your phone off so you can really take some time off for a while!
Connect – take time to catch up with friends and family, even if it is just a phone call or FaceTime. Maybe arrange a team BBQ, a chance to connect and relax with your colleagues to check in and see how they are doing. If you are feeling stressed or anxious give someone a call. If you want to talk because something is worrying you, but are not sure where to go, Rural Support is free, confidential, and only a phone call away.
Social media, love it or loathe it, social media is here to stay. Be mindful of what you are spending your time watching and when. There are certainly pros and cons but be honest with how you interact with it and be sure that it does not stop you from real-world experiences and connections!
Putting pen to paper – when we have lots going on it is often hard to clear our heads and think straight. It may sometimes keep you lying awake at night. Writing things down, whether it be a list or your thoughts or whatever comes to mind can be hugely beneficial for clearing your mind and helping you sleep or organise your day.
Have some fun, do something that makes you laugh - life can be very serious. When you have the opportunity to laugh, either alone or with others, just enjoy it for that moment. However busy life gets, remember to have some fun. Remember to take time to do the things you enjoy.
Be thankful - Feeling appreciative and thankful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you do not have. The benefits of practicing gratitude are numerous and range from getting better sleep to having a stronger immune system.
When you are busy on the farm or at work, we often miss out on things that are happening in our family. A fantastic way to reconnect is by sitting down at the table for dinner and asking each person to share what they are thankful for. It is a wonderful way to reflect on the positives during the day and get the conversation flowing.