How to Pour into Self: A Few Tips on Self Preservation
March was Social Work Month. April was Counseling Awareness Month and National Minority Health Awareness Month. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As practitioners, we promote awareness and provide education all of the time to others about our professions and services. When do we actually utilize those services for ourselves? When do we take time to care for ourselves? We pour so much into others, but are we having as much poured into us?
We may proclaim to be self-care gurus, but we have to remember to take our own advice. You cannot continue to pour into others with an empty cup. Make time for yourself. Take a break from social media. Schedule that vacation. Set up that out of office message. Pencil in your me-time. I know we may all be aware of the basics, so let’s look at more, specific productivity and self-care tips.
· Get up earlier OR Get up later. Whatever fits your needs.
· Eat breakfast. Smoothies count too.
· Don’t go back to sleep. STEP AWAY FROM THE BED!
· Use aromatherapy while getting ready. We know the science behind scents, right?
· Make more of your commute. Listen to an audiobook or podcast.
· Say "good morning" to all your co-workers (it'll make you feel like maybe it is good!).
· Tell yourself "I can do this" until lunchtime. Over and over again.
· Make today your cheat day. Treat yo’self!
· Remind yourself about other great days. Today may just not be your day.
· Put things into perspective. Check yourself. Clarify!
· Find a happy place. Create a safe space just like you do for clients, FOR YOU!
This is just a start. Maybe you’re in need of a more thorough approach. Carrying too much of a load? Utilize a planner. Hire an assistant or intern. Create a content calendar then load it into an app. Cut some hours. Do what is best for you in order to live outside of your work. Yes, our work is important, but we are people outside of our profession. Live your best life just as you encourage your clients to.
Finding that balance between work and life may not come easy. We have to create boundaries. Be very specific with your schedule. Solidify cut-off times. Make your office hours known. Utilize the do not disturb option on your phone. Once you identify your boundaries, enforce them. Inform people that emails will receive responses within a certain timeframe. Separate your business calls from your personal calls. If possible, have separate numbers. There are apps for that, and they’re free.
Once we create boundaries and enforce them, please do not feel guilty. Your time is your money, but your time is also your livelihood. It must be maintained. Compassion fatigue and burnout is real. We must be mindful of our plates because they can be too full without us realizing it. Take time, scale back. Be confident in your decisions. Value your time. Your work will always be there when you return, but will you remain outside of your work? Remember to pour as much into yourself. You are the most important investment.