For those of us who have families to take care of, elderly relatives, are running a small business, career or generally just a busy life, looking after our own emotional wellbeing can quickly fall into the ‘I haven’t got time’ basket as we spend the majority of our time focusing on taking care of other people and making sure that they are ok.
The demands of life can really take its toll and particularly, if you are constantly running around in emergency mode, your mind and body may just end up paying a high price for putting the needs of everyone else, ahead of your own emotional wellbeing.
The good news is that we can easily implement some simple strategies to resolve this. The more difficult part comes with your own commitment to put your own health, before the health of anyone else.
In my coaching practise, I still get shocked at the amount of people who come to me burned out and exhausted believing the needs of everyone and everything are far more important than their own personal needs. These people often find it difficult to implement boundaries between their work and career life. If you continually do this, you will only end up exhausted and resentful.
Start by changing a few small things in your day like making sure you take regular breaks, eat regular meals and practise saying No to other people. Tune in to your own needs and learn to honour them as well – without feeling guilty. Also try to give up the need for perfectionism and stop setting yourself ridiculously high expectations of yourself. Aim to do your best and that is sufficient.
Another major factor of stress is worrying. Come on, let’s get honest here, does worrying change anything? Seriously? NO! Now having the odd worry is just human nature but if you are one of those people who is a worry wart with constant thoughts of what could go wrong then this is a bad habit which needs to be stopped. In fact, worrying is never useful. Our worries often snowball and our imagination run away with us with thoughts of imagined threats and terrible things happening. The more you worry, the bigger your worries become. Some people then even worry about all the time they have spent worrying!
Here are a few simple ideas for reducing worry:
A key part in looking after your own wellbeing is also your self-talk. Often, we are in the habit of being more positive with our friends than ourselves so it is worth spending some time ensuring that you are also being positive towards yourself and not constantly beating yourself up for not being good enough.
You are thinking negatively when you put yourself down, criticize yourself for errors and doubt your own abilities. However, when you feel energized and good about yourself, this will also spread to everyone around you. It is not so effective to give encouragement to those around us but spend the rest of your time being critical and negative towards yourself.
A great way to deal with negative thoughts is by first becoming aware of them and how they affect you. Negative thoughts can lead you to feel bad about yourself, and make you anxious, stressed or hopeless. Try using these thoughts as a cue for action to think more positively. A great way to do this is by taking a few minutes to think about all the positive things you have in your life.
Also try repeating positive affirmations such as ‘ I am doing the best that I can’ or I cope with everything easily and effortlessly’. I am a huge believer in the first hour of your day will set the theme for the rest of the day so make sure you use the hour after you wake up to say nice things about yourself and tell yourself that you are going to have a successful day!
Another one of my favourite tips which can be useful for both carers and their clients is to write a list of 50 things which make you happy to commit to doing at least one thing a day from this list. Now the list does not need to be full of expensive ideas but it could just be simple things as burning some nice smelling candles or having a nice warm bath or treating yourself to 10 minutes relaxation time.
Lisa appears regularly in the Media, on TV, Radio and Print.