The importance of Self Care

Have you returned from the new year break and you feel out of sorts, not sure about what to do next or how to approach this year?

You could start with self-care.  Be kind to yourself, let yourself feel the feels and when you’re in a better space, you can reflect on and make a plan for 2022.

In the meantime, let’s look at some tips for self-care – after all, if you’re not looking after yourself first, how can you look after anyone else, how can you lead your tribe, how can you make good decisions for yourself?

If you’re a parent you’re probably juggling the return to school thing and if you’re not, you’re probably trying to get back into the swing of your job in 2022. 

Are you still put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own?  If so, you’re not alone in that boat. 

Taking time to stop, reflect and become aware that you’re doing that is the first step. 

Take some time now and consider what’s happening for you? 

Are you making time to fill up your bucket?  Are you letting your bucket dry up, or has it developed a crack that you’re finding hard to refill and replenish the bucket or does it have a big hole in the bottom where everything you want to do for yourself just falls through? 

With awareness comes choice.  Now that you’re aware of this habit, you have a choice to do something different and here’s some tips to help you.

If you don’t look after yourself, no-one else will.  If you don’t put your oxygen mask on first, you can’t help others and you may not survive either (to use an airline metaphor). 

Here’s 5 tips to help you consciously practice self-care in this current chaotic world:

  1. Use language to your best advantage. 
    Challenge your inner critic and remove negative self-talk. 

Be aware of that person inside your head – are they helping or hindering you? 

Your self-talk is the most powerful thing you have in your tool kit. 

Every day for the next 7 days, observe yourself. 
Be mindful of how you think and feel.
Check yourself, are you building yourself up or are you thinking negatively?

Would you say or use those words that you’re thinking about yourself to a friend?
If you’re having negative self-talk, catch yourself and rephrase what you are saying.

Here’s some examples of how you can change your self-talk.

Negative thoughts Instead of this…….Rephrase to positive Do this…….
I’m stupidOops, that didn’t work, but look what I’ve learnt from it, next time I’ll do things differently
It’s no use trying – I’m a failureI can do this, one step at a time
Don’t………I like it when…….. We’ll achieve more if…..
That won’t workHave you considered…….
It’s no use they won’t listen anywayI’ve got a good idea and I think they need to hear it and even if they don’t take it on board, I’ve let them know
We’re never going to hit the deadline because everyone always sends the reports through lateHey, our deadline is X, can everyone make sure they have their reports to me -1 day before the deadline so I can pull it all together.
Let me know if there’s any problems getting them in the day before so we can work things out ahead of the deadline.

As Wayne Dwyer said: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change

Pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel

Some foods fuel us and some slow us down.  “Comfort food” is ok occasionally as you need to reset, but eating junk food every day isn’t helping you in the long run.

Also, are you fuelling your body appropriately?  Are you eating enough or are you skipping meals because you’re too busy or just don’t feel like eating?

Research by Dr Michael Molsely also cites the importance of good bacteria in our microbiome (gut health).  Food feeds our body to be able to physically move, but it also has a major impact on how we think and feel.  Serotonin in our body helps us sleep better, moderates our appetite and can affect our mood.  About 95% of serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which means what you eat can affect your mood. 

Have you thought about how you’ve been feeling and whether what you’re fueling your body with is impacting your mood? 

  • Make time for yourself, just you, by yourself.
    Block out 30 minutes each day and do something that fills your bucket.
    It might be going for a walk, cooking yourself a nice breakfast or making a yummy lunch, doing a crossword/suduko, reading a book, taking a bath (without interruption), doing knitting?
    Do whatever you like, so long as it’s ‘your time’.

    If you are in a relationship discuss this with your partner and make sure you’re both aware of when each of you are planning your “30 minute Me Time” break and support each other to have that time alone.

It is so important to do something each day that you love.

  • Get into a good bedtime routine.
    Turn off all electronic devices, better still, leave them in another room.
    Take 5 to 15 minutes before you go to sleep to clear your mind. 
    You can listen to sleep stories, soothing sounds (eg: ocean, birds, rain) or there are numerous guided mindful meditations available on YouTube that you can listen to.  This will relax your mind and help you sleep.

Share your thoughts, hints and tips on what you do to exercise self-care.

About the author

Helen Luxford is a Leadership Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner.  Helen’s passion is helping  stressed professionals turn overwhelm and uncertainty into calm and confidence in 6 weeks or less.

Helen is an experienced Executive and HR Leader.  Helen combines her corporate experience with her qualifications and skills in coaching, Neurolinguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy to provide tailored programs for her clients. 


Helen is the co-author of Amazon best-selling book, Heart Centred Leadership.


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