Self-Care: Top-Down Mentality
We all know that a bit of a break can really boost our productivity-levels, general mood and attitude towards life's challenges. We happily acknowledge how energised we feel after a great holiday, or even after just a great Bank Holiday. We recognise that after disengaging from our daily stresses and giving ourselves a break from routine we operate and respond differently. But then for many of us, something rather strange happens and we head "back to the grindstone" (literally, an intent to wear ourselves down) without a second thought about granting ourselves similar such boosts to maintain that state of refreshment, even on a micro-scale.
Think of those people you know who manage to pack in enviable amounts of productive work alongside busy home and social-lives; they appear to get more done than most and usually with seemingly effortless aplomb. I can guarantee you that those people have a 'Top-Down' mentality when it comes to self care. By this I mean that they dedicate regular time for mental and physical decompression knowing it results in them having more energy, focus and social-grace to pass on to everybody and every thing else. This Top-Down mind-set is not rocket science, but it does challenge a prevailing societal notion that in order to do things well, we have to work harder or longer than others and sacrifice anything that could be interpreted as self indulgent. Self care is not self indulgence, it is a highly effective maintenance tool that benefits everybody reliant on the individual using it.
Next time you feel washed-out and tiring of your routine life, plan and schedule a few regular hours of self-care; whatever that means for you, maybe an exercise class, a massage, a long walk or some meditation. Treat self-care as a strong priority; plan the details in advance, schedule it and stick to it. It doesn't matter what 'it' is, as long as it provides you with the opportunity to 'just be', away from your to-do lists and whatever else is draining you. For the time, effort and money that it costs you, there is a higher personal return in an hour of self-care than in a comparative hour of your annual holiday.