I’m writing today about something that is a new concept for me – self-care at work. I can say it is not something I have ever given much thought to. That is, until I came across it as part of some training I did recently. It struck such a chord with me that I thought I would share my top tips for self-care at work.
Last week, I did Level 1 training in Reiki and Seichem Healing with the lovely Jo Dutfield (you can visit her Facebook page here.) Having a life-long interest in the subject, I took my courage in my hands and booked a place and I am so glad I did! It was a brilliant experience, which taught me as much about myself as these two healing arts.
For anyone who is not aware of Reiki or Seichem, a full explanation is available here
Top Tips for Self-Care At Work
One of the first tasks, was to draw a circle on a piece of paper. Next, as one would with a pie chart, we marked out the proportion of time each day that we dedicated to ourselves. My answer took me less than a second to decide. I realised with a shock that I spent no time on myself during a normal day.
In common with most VA’s, I work from home and I often work long hours. I often eat my lunch at my desk and only move from my chair when my bottom goes to sleep or my legs start to seize up! When discussing this with another freelancer I discovered how common this is. So that she could squeeze every minute into her working day, the lady admitted to visiting the loo rarely!
I realised that a lot of the principles we were being taught could apply to a wider audience. I am sure that many small business owners will be able to identify with the need for more self-care at work.
Take time – Selfish or self-care?
“Self-care isn’t selfish (it is a gift to all concerned) You can’t serve from an empty vessel” (Eleanor Brown)
As the body cannot function without fuel, so we cannot hope to give our best if we are mentally, physically or emotionally exhausted. But, are we working at our best during these times? Probably not. To be a fully-rounded human and give to others, we need to take time for ourselves.
Now, this doesn’t mean booking a fortnight in a swanky spa! Pressing the “Pause” button can be as simple as scheduling in regular breaks, going for a walk, or having a soak in the bath after work.
These sort of actions can be all we need and can make all the difference. Think about it. Are 30 minutes of “you-time” going to have that much detrimental effect on a working day?
Instead of thinking about the time taken away from work, think of self-care as an investment in a better, healthier, more productive future. As a small business owner, you cannot afford to be ill. So, as we all invest in insurance to safeguard our business, why would you not invest in your own health and well being?
Learn to say NO!
Picture the scene: A colleague corners you at work and asks you to attend a meeting in their stead. A meeting for which you have no background information You have done no preparation, and would rather eat your own head than attend. What do you say? You might think, “Noooooo!” but the word that comes out of your mouth is “Yes, of course, no problem!”
Why? Why do we all do this? Because we hate letting others down, hate to feel that we have disappointed someone or just feel obligated to agree? Instead, if we first consider our own needs, set professional boundaries and realise it is okay to refuse, then we regain control of our life and our time.
Remember you are human and everyone makes mistakes. Very often we can accept the mistakes of others, but are extremely hard on ourselves, expecting ourselves to be infallible. But it is our mistakes that teach us, right? Rather than beating ourselves up over things in the past, we should perhaps concentrate on learning from the experience.
If we adopt self-care as a business strategy and adopt the approach that self-care is non-negotiable, then with a few simple changes, we can shift focus to those tasks and goals that will leverage business success, instead of ploughing on regardless and ending up burnt out, frustrated and overwhelmed and surely that has to be worthwhile, doesn’t it?