This week is carers' week and I don't know any better place to start than close to home, to caring for our selves. When your cup is empty or your tanks are low, it can be really difficult to fulfill the needs of others. We may have all heard the saying, in an emergency in the airplane, to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. This is perhaps one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, to care for myself first.
Caring for ourselves is not selfish, it is self-full. When we are depleted we can't really be there for someone 100%, we can't give fully, because we don't have it to give, and if we continue to do so we can start moving towards burn out. As a previous people pleaser, this was something that contributed to my own burn out and subsequent fall into chronic illness. It isn't easy to change our behaviours but it isn't impossible either.
Taking 5 minutes at the start of the day, even before you get out of bed, to consciously decide how you want to feel moving through your day, can really help to switch your brain into a positive flow. We can visualise how we want our day to go, and sometimes it goes our way, and sometimes it doesn't, but what we can have more control over is the way we react to our day, and therefore on the way we want to feel. So by establishing how you want to feel, rather than what you want to achieve, you can relax a lot more, and you will be more conscious of doing those things that help you feel the way you want to.
I start each morning with a conscious decision to do something for my own wellbeing, and for many years have had some sort of a morning practice which changes from time to time depending on what I need. This morning I checked in with my laughter buddies on the 8am online Laughter Yoga class. It is only ten minutes but those ten minutes spent laughing with friends raises the endorphins, puts a smile on my face and a feeling of anything is possible. Having a morning ritual, practice or just some time for yourself can really help to set the day.
Filling your own cup before someone else's can really help you to be there for others. As I wrote in yesterday's blog, some of our front line workers in the NHS are now exhausted and close to burn out or they are already there. One brilliant initiative the Sophrology Academy, the UK's only Sophrology School, has got involved in is a crowdfunding campaign to provide restorative nature retreats for exhausted NHS workers. It is taking place in the Quadrangle, in Kent, and offers a chance for stressed NHS staff to take themselves our of their normal routines, focus on themselves, connect with nature, and learn lots of tools that help regulate stress and anxiety. The relaxation methods include yoga, meditation and, of course, Sophrology, delivered by our very own Liz Murphy, Executive Director of the Sophrology Academy, where I learnt Sophrology. It is an exciting initiative and if you want to contribute you can check it out here "From theFrontline to the Field - Nature Retreats to Help Heal NHS Workers" .
To find out more about Sophrology please have a look at the Sophrology and Benefits of Sophrology pages on my website.
Hoping your cup is overflowing today and every day.
With warm wishes,