Emily Vujicic, Psychologist
Last week I wrote about the 6 specific areas of life/work that have been identified as contributing to stress and burnout. This week, I'm exploring how to help bring your focus back to the positive aspects of your life. One way is to take regular time each day to appreciate the positive things that are happening. Write them down and reflect on them when you need the reminder.
When we think of self-care, too often we think of bubble baths and date nights. While both of those things are enjoyable and relaxing, it does not have to be your visual when it comes to self-care.
Saying “no” to additional demands is self-care, as is going for a walk around the block for a quiet walk.
Eating a healthy meal, or an act of kindness towards another person can also be a form of self-care.
Trying something new or engaging in a hobby can also be self-care.
Often, we find ourselves saying that we do not have enough time to do some of these things, and our self-care can be one of the first things to drop when we experience stress. However, it is important to remember that taking care of yourself is not a selfish act, it is helping you be the best version of yourself in order to best care for your children.
Having a consistent time in the day scheduled for self-care can increase the chance that it happens and can be for just 3 minutes per day to start with. Being energised and refreshed helps us parents with patience and compassion and helps us model to our children that it is ok to take time for ourselves, ask for help and deal with our stresses in healthy ways.
So, when you feel the stress and negativity creeping in, remember that it is ok to stop and ask for help. Giving 100% of yourself does not have to mean working until you fall apart. Having someone to talk things through can help give you some perspective, and often just getting things out of your head can be helpful. It may be helpful for you to consider services like Parentline (1300 30 1300), lifeline (13 11 14), your GP or even the ear of a friend.