Dr Heather Dyson
Self care without meaning is meaningless...
Self care is seemingly an increasingly hot topic, particularly in the work place. As the stress of living through the pandemic, working from home, and lack of access to social support, are taking their toll, employers are rightly recognising the detrimental impact on their staff. Email reminders to engage in "self-care" by "take breaks", "drinking water", and getting "eight hours of sleep" are useful but more frequently met with groans of frustration from exhausted employees, and understandably so. Drinking, sleeping, eating, are basic necessities and not something which should be considered as self care.
So what is self care? It is something which helps us regenerate our emotional and mental batteries. In short, self care can be anything. Consequently, it is deeply personal. What gives one person that feeling of contentment and recharges them, does absolutely nothing for someone else. This is where the challenge lies for companies, and where self care appears to become a tick box exercise. A friend of mine recently told me about her organisation offering "desk yoga sessions" and "sessions on sleep" to employees to help with stress. Both interventions are potentially helpful to some individuals, but lacked all meaning for my friend. What would have been more meaningful for her is an hour without having to take phone calls, not sitting at her desk stretching.
This is the key, self care without meaning, is meaningless. You can drinking as many cups of tea as you want, listen to the birds, go for a run, listen to music, call a friend, anything, but if that activity doesn't hold any meaning for you it is not going to be regenerative and restorative. So initially we have to figure out what self care looks like for us. What gives you that "Oooh" feeling? Feel free to comment and let me know what your self care looks like. I'd love to know.
If you're struggling for self care activities/strategies, here is a link to a page that might be able to give you some ideas...
Photo by Jess @ Harper Sunday on Unsplash