Say "me" more often

Last Friday I presented to colleagues on mental health and the profession.  As I prepared for the presentation, I looked at my own mental health and observed the people around me.  I believe that lack of self-care is becoming an epidemic.  

It is no longer about work/life balance.  For people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, life is work.  I assume by the "50s", a person has enough life experience and perspective to enjoy the fruits of their work and be a driver of their leisure time rather than a passenger.   

The guiding message in the book "Overwhelmed: work, love and play when no one has the time" is that we have a lot of leisure time, or nonwork time, but it doesn't feel like leisure time.  Brigid Schulte, the author of "Overwhelmed" states on her website "the pressure of feeling like we’ll never have enough time to do it all, or do it well, is “contaminating” our experience of time".

In my presentation on mental health, I talked about self-care.  The first step for self-care is to be AWARE that you are neglecting self-care.  It is very easy to put your head down and power through your responsibilities and say that you will take a break later.  

For self-care, it is all about you.  Tell yourself "it's about me!"  IT'S ABOUT ME!

Consumer advertising companies have to focus on the customer perspective of WIIFM - what's in it for me?  When I'm buying something or making a financial commitment, I think about WIIFM.  When I think about how I use my non-work time, I don't think WIIFFM.  

When I do things for self-care, it is all about me.  If I'm honest with myself, however, I do very little self-care.  How do I spend my nonwork time?  Is it all about me?  This morning, I took time to say "me".  I did some stretching and foam rolling for my achey muscles.  I didn't have a time goal or number of exercises.  I just did what I felt like my body needed and ignored the clock.  

Self-care activities are different for everyone.  But be careful not to confuse self-care with self-improvement.  Be aware of what is going on in your mind as you perform self-care activities.  If the activities don't produce a calming effect for your thoughts, it is probably self-improvement not self-care.  

There is no shortage of ideas about self-care on the internet and in books.  Again, it is important to be "aware" to find activities for self-care and not self-improvement.  Try different things until you find something that makes your "mind like water".

Say it with me - "ME!"

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Hope Wood