Paul Hargreaves: Looking After Yourself
Self-care has become a trendy term, and can be used as an excuse to not do things. But for all of us, it is important to look after ourselves otherwise we will have nothing left to give to others. Our culture in The West is one of “doing” and we would do well to learn from The East about “being” which is the place where good decisions are made, relationships are nurtured and inner peace is found.
However, too many of us rush around like headless chickens driven by the next item in our busy agenda without giving time to contemplation or reflection. Inevitably some of that busy-ness is a complete waste of time as it is not activity with purpose, simply activity for activities sake. Stepping away from doing gives us time to reflect and spend time in purposeful activities that we are meant to be doing rather than keeping busy for busy-ness sake.
Personally I am inclined to activism and definitely lean towards doing rather than being, but in the past few years, partly due to a couple of health issues, I am learning to ‘be’. So now when I do stuff the results are much better. You could say “I am doing less but achieving more”. Having said that, I have always been good at taking time out and having plenty of holidays to re-charge my batteries. In fact, I remember well, during a terrible time for the business, after several weeks of stress I went away on holiday, not knowing whether the company would still be here when I returned! To some this would be a foolish thing to do, but I knew I had become next to useless by staying and my family needed a holiday from the business too! Within three hours of returning from the holiday I spotted a fix we could make to our warehouse software which started the process of recovery. I have no doubt that if I hadn’t had a holiday I never would have spotted the fix.
On a smaller scale, if you are one of those people that errs on the side of too much activity, learn to take small “times out” during the day, for example a short walk at lunchtime. We have a room at Cotswold Fayre, which is non-bookable, that people can go to chill out for a few minutes and gather themselves for the rest of the day. As well as daily time outs, each week ensure you have a longer ‘time out’. It could be a massage, a longer walk in the countryside or an extended breakfast with someone who gives you energy.
Above all, take care of yourself and you will take care of others better.