The Importance of Self Care
by See Change Ambassador, Adrian Yeates
Fadó, fadó, I used to pass a house each day going to and from school. It was a beautiful, imposing building with a long driveway and immaculate gardens. There was an orchard at the rear, and my friends and I often “unofficially” helped with the harvest each year! I remember thinking that I would love to own that house when I was older. Many years later, I returned to my hometown having lived abroad for some time and was greatly surprised at how much things had changed. Firstly, the village was so much bigger and now even had traffic lights. However, I was shocked to see that the big house was almost a ruin and the gardens and orchard were totally over–run with weeds. Apparently, after the owners had passed on, there was a dispute in the family and the house became neglected.
I am always reminded of this house when I think about self–care. Of course, a house can’t care for itself, but if it is not properly maintained, things will quickly go wrong. If the neglect goes on for a long time, then it will lose its beauty as well as its usefulness. In my opinion, we all need to think about our health in this way, and I’m referring to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Life has its ups and downs at the best of times, but with Covid, some of our most basic needs have been seriously challenged. The lockdown restrictions have, in particular, created high levels of anxiety and loneliness in a society which is so used to regular contact.
Now, more than ever, we need to work on our self-care. We are all essentially a function of demands versus resources and the amount energy we have to manage what life throws at us. For the most part, we can find our way through the stress of life, but if we’re not careful, we can bite off more than we can chew. If we overextend ourselves, we drain our resources. This is not a problem if we take care of ourselves and replenish our energy. However, if we find ourselves under pressure for an extended period of time, we dangerously deplete our energy which is essentially what burnout is. We become that tumbledown house and lose our motivation, joy and creativity.
Self-care is not vanity and certainly should not be seen as self-ish. Instead, we need to become more self-aware and ensure that we support our own wellbeing through doing those things that make us feel good and energised. These will be different for every individual but will usually include a favourite hobby, consistent exercise, good nutrition, regular sleep and social contact with others. Unfortunately, we can’t delegate the responsibility for our personal health to others, though we can certainly get support and advice from them.
Although I didn’t get to buy the big house from my youth, I like to think that at least I have looked after myself as best I can.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following