Recently I experienced some changes in my life. Last year when the entire world stopped, I was pregnant with my second child, and taking care of my 4 year old daughter. I went into a panic mode when the pandemic kicked in.
I have been running my coaching business for over 6 years now, helping others changing their mindset and perspectives to help them navigate career changes.
Yet there I was, wondering how on earth I was going to manage the business with two children to take care of as well.
My new baby was born. I stopped working on my business full time because of tiredness, and exhaustion. Although I felt bad for not working all hours, I realised this is exactly what I needed; time and space to assess the situation and make adjustments.
During challenging times like this, we need to stop and become fully aware of what’s going on. To deal with big, unexpected changes, we need a clear head – which means looking after mind and body and being kind to ourselves. This is what self-care is all about.
Without practicing self-care, I was certainly heading for a burnout.
“If you feel burnout setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself” – Dalai Lama
For those who have been laid off, the worry can be overwhelming. Self-care is important as it helps us make much better decisions, rather than poorly thought-through decisions from a place of anxiety, panic and desperation.
Use self-care to deal whatever life throws at you
Here are my top self-care tips.
1 – Recognise your emotions and don’t fight them
How I coped when the pandemic kicked in? I reminded myself when I got frustrated or overwhelmed that it was a temporary situation. Tomorrow would be better, allowing myself to feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
2 – Give yourself guilt-free space and time
I felt bad for not dedicating every working day to my coaching business.
When circumstances change dramatically, we can’t simply plough on as if nothing has changed. We need to stop, recharge and make a plan to adapt. This is difficult to do if you’re feeling guilty all the time. I had to remind myself If I didn’t stop I’d be heading for burnout, and that I’d be no good to anyone.
Self-care in a busy world is all about enabling and supporting ourselves to attain the successes in life we would like to achieve.Innerspace.org.uk
3 – Connect with others who’ve been where you are
Sharing what you are going through with others who understand. Everybody needs help, especially during tough times. I am in a mums’ group where we share our experiences and offer support to each other. We are not alone, and many of us in exactly the same boat.
If you can, speak to a mentor or coach on a regular basis. I speak to my mentor once a month. It’s really important to celebrate your wins and progress (the progress that you can’t always see yourself), and talk to people who can lift you up.
4 – Decide on 1 new habit to adopt
It’s amazing how making just one change to our daily routine can turn a situation around.
In my case, my new habit has been to start working from 6.00 in the morning, as I know that I am more productive in the morning, and there is no one to disturb me until at least 8.00am. This means working from 6.00am until 11.00am on marketing and preparing my coaching sessions for the afternoon.
For you, that one habit could be allowing yourself regular 15 minute breaks throughout the day to recharge. Or to take a brisk 20 minute walk at the start of each day, or to prepare a week’s worth of healthy meals for the freezer on Saturdays. The key to keep the new habits is to explore their benefits and then commit yourself.
5 – Do the ‘5 senses’ exercise
When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, here is a simple yet powerful exercise to disrupt negative thought patterns or an overactive mind, to relax and reconnect.
Here is what you do:
Name 5 things you can see around you – try to pick up something you don’t usually notice.
Name 4 things you can feel (your heart beat, your feet on the floor, etc.)
Name 3 things you can hear (listen to background noise, like birds singing, the wind, etc.)
Name 2 things you can touch (eg. the texture of your clothes)
Name 1 thing you can smell (the food that you cooked for example)
Remember to look after yourself first before taking any actions, by taking regular time for your needs and stay connected to who you are.
Be kindQuote by Seed and Song
Be all of these things to yourself
That is where it begins