The term ‘self-care’ gets bandied around a lot nowadays and seems to suggest indulging in everything from elaborate skin-care routines and all day meditation, to eating an entire chocolate cake in the middle of the night because #treatyourself.

Self-care is actually a hugely important part of supporting our emotional and physical wellbeing, and it is essential for anyone who engages in regular tasks (whether for work or home life) that are draining, unpredictable or demanding.

Signs you’re not looking after yourself

  • You have way too much or not enough empathy for other people, which causes you to either over invest in their issues or conversely, not really give a shit. 
  • You feel resentment or apathy towards your job or creative outlet that used to inspire you.
  • You’ve adopted a negative view of people in general.
  • You struggle to control your reactions to others and are prone to outbursts.
  • You aren’t getting as much satisfaction or pleasure from things that used to “spark joy”.
  • You engage in harmful behaviours to avoid or escape thinking about work.
  • You cancel plans, distance yourself from others and isolate yourself.
  • There is an increase in complaints or conflict at home or at work.

Taking care of yourself

Here are a few tips to help you to take care of yourself, to help restore your energy levels and ensure that you are able to keep showing up for meaningful work and relationships now and into the future. 

  1. Set boundaries. Be clear about your role and purpose at work, and what your needs are in your relationships. Be assertive with your communication.
  2. Understand your drainers. Develop an awareness of the situations, tasks and relationships that tend to drain your energy and/or light your emotional fuse. Move into these situations or interactions mindfully, perhaps prepping with a breathing or grounding exercise. Minimise these situations or interactions where possible. 
  3. Make time for creativity and growth. It’s important to develop a sense of mastery and to engage in play (we’re all big kids after all!) Find a hobby or activity unrelated to work and allow yourself to immerse yourself in it, just for the fun of it!
  4. Nurture your relationships. Your relationships are a great point of connection and support (even though they might piss you off sometimes). Make time for the important people in your life. Be open and vulnerable with people you trust, and talk about how you’re feeling and how you’re coping. 
  5. Check your thoughts. Notice how the way think impacts on the way you feel about situations and other people. Challenge thoughts that are not accurate or helpful. Do your best to give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to look for the good in people and situations.
  6. Look after your body. Keep your body healthy through a good diet, regular sleep and exercise. 
  7. Find time for fun. Make time for healthy distractions away from work and obligations, e.g. watch a fun movie, go see a show, find a new hobby or sport, go out with friends. 
  8. Tend to your environment. Make your home or work space something that soothes and inspires you. Make time to clear up mess or clutter.
  9. Nature time! Make time to spend in nature – from inner-city park strolls, to beachside walks, to rambling bush adventures. Research has shown that time spent in nature is relaxing and restorative.
  10. Get clear on your values. Remember your personal values and what motivated you to do the work and live the life you do. When you notice that certain things in your life don’t align with your values, see how you might revisit or shift them. 

OK.. what now?

If you’re feeling like you need a little help taking care of yourself, it can be useful to – 

  • Ask for help and support as soon as you notice yourself struggling. Reach out to family and friends, or find yourself a support group where people might be facing similar struggles.
  • Find a mental health practitioner that’s right for you (ask around, get on Google, or ask your GP for recommendations)
  • Check out these free resources:

Articles about self care

TOP 3 PODCASTS

Stop Trying to Be Extraordinary | 14 MIN
Tiny Leaps, Big Changes

Tiny Leaps, Big Changes is a personal development podcast focused on exploring the day-to-day behaviors we all engage in that determine the results we gain in our lives. Hosted by Gregg Clunis, the show shares simple strategies you can implement into your life to start moving the needle towards your biggest goals.

Listen to Tiny Leaps, Big Changes here

Is being kind good for your brain? | 10 MIN
Super Brain

Eve

The Super Brain podcast provides weekly ‘boost shots’ with practical tips to transform your everyday brain into a healthy and happy super brain. In other episodes of Super Brain podcast host, Dr. Sabina Brennan, talks to a huge mix of inspiring guests about thriving and surviving in life.

Listen to Super Brain here.

Alicia Keys| 53 MIN
Happy Place

Host Fearne Cotton talks to all sorts of incredible people about life, love, loss, and everything in-between as she reveals what happiness means to them.

In this episode, Alicia Keys discusses people-pleasing, self-worth and her then-upcoming 2020 studio album ALICIA.

Listen to Happy Place here.

TOP 3 BOOKS

Ten Times Happier

by Owen O’Kane

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters – and How to Harness It

by Ethan Kross

The Daily Zen Journal

by Charlie Ambler

TOP 3 APPS

Shine

The Shine App is the daily self care app for everyone. Helps users create a daily self-care ritual to help users meditate, connect, and reflect each day.

 

Free to Download on iOs and Android

Reflectly

Journaling app, Reflectly uses AI to help user structure and reflect upon each day and your thoughts and problems.

Free on iOs and Android

Waterlogged

Waterlogged is an app to help remind you to drink waters, a simple and easy self care practice we can all develop.

Free on iOs and Android

VIDEOs about self care

Sound Check: Ash Grunwald