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  • Mark Sutton

The Importance of Self-Care

Stress management and massage

I am sitting here nursing a Cold and some Lemsip, looking at the pile of paperwork that is building up, the workshops to prepare for, seminars to write. Such are the perils of being self-employed I tell myself. It seems somewhat trite so say a phrase like: “If you don’t look after yourself, how can you look after someone else?” But there is a lot of truth in that, It’s something worth remembering: Self-Care is very important. It’s very tempting to keep soldiering on with work. Occasionally is fine, but when this becomes a habit then there are very real dangers: Stress, Burnout, lowered immune response, illness, impaired cognitive thinking.

The temptation is to keep going, but it will be a pyrrhic victory: The work is continuous, your health is not. Ask yourself this, would you use a piece of equipment or a tool solidly, or drive a car continuously without a sharpening, switching it off or servicing it? Why then should it be any different with your body and mind? It’s one of the reasons I have one day a week to do something different, re-charge with interests that are not work related, hobbies I can indulge in to re-charge, I meditate and I know the positive benefits of massage, even a night away, but it’s important to make that date to switch off. Studies have shown that People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem and feelings of resentment.

With carers the situation is the same. My mother looked after my father for over 16 years during his illness, I have boundless respect for that. The carers who were present 3 days a week, provided a limited respite as they had others to look after: They were on the go from dawn until late in the evening, for little reward and doing a job that was more of a Vocation, but even here, the extra paperwork, the extra duties were slowly grinding them down. They still come around, years after his passing, for a cup of tea and a chat. What about Parenthood: Does this quote sound familiar?

“Being a parent is dirty and scary and beautiful and hard and miraculous and exhausting and thankless and joyful and frustrating all at once. It’s everything.” ― Jill Smokler, Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary

As much as you may feel otherwise Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint and your own needs need to be catered for, so that you can maintain a steady pace.

Whatever your role: Parent, carer, employee, breadwinner etc. all involved need breaks: Look to re-framing what, as a carer or parent you need to do. It is not selfish to take time for yourself, you are not being somehow a bad person. If you are feeling the pressure and the stress, ask yourself what would happen if you collapsed, if your systems broke down: Do You have a support network you can call on? If the answer is No, isn’t it about time you looked to rectifying that?

How to do it? It is important look at your strengths and weaknesses in relation to self-care. Ask yourself some questions: What are my current stress levels?, what shape am I in physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? Which areas in my life or roles do I need to prioritise? What stops me taking care of myself? What helps me relax? What physical activity can I engage in on a regular (2-3 times per week) basis? What helps me meet my emotional needs and distracts me from worries? What activities do I love doing and how long can I commit to doing them?

Remember too that Self-care is not necessarily all about the big things, it pays to self-care in small ways:

  • A massage, soak in the tub or other forms of pampering revitalize you inside and out.

  • Simple changes of scene and being alone can help immeasurably.

  • Look too at your lifestyle: is it healthy or are you eating on the run, drinking excess coffee, alcohol or smoking to maintain your focus.

  • Look to changing unhealthy habits to healthier habits and start small!

  • Seek guidance and support, a different view can help you to reframe, can support you in lifestyle changes and maintain your self-esteem and motivation!

Contact me on 0833978707 of Email: to give yourself the important

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