Unless you’ve been abroad or have had a complete technology sabbatical and turned all TV’s and mobile devices off over the festive period, you can’t have failed to see the devastating pictures and news articles about the floods that have been affecting thousands throughout the north of England recently.  I really can’t imagine how awful it must be to have all your belongings, and often your entire home, ruined by such a natural disaster, especially when for many they were only just getting back to normal from the last time it happened.  I really hope that this wet weather we’re experiencing in the UK soon passes and allows everyone to start clearing up and drying out; although I’m sure the emotional effects will take more to recover from.

I was reading a social media post earlier on helping these flood victims here in the UK before we send aid to international causes.  I’m all for helping people in need and regularly donate to charities with causes close to my heart, but I absolutely agree that we need to look after ‘home’ first.  It reminded me of one of the main areas I help my clients with; not only does charity start at home, but so too does self-care.  As with an analogy I often use to help explain this, think of the safety drill given on an airplane where, should the oxygen masks be required and drop down, ALWAYS put yours on first BEFORE tending to those of your dependents.  This is for a very good reason because if you’re passed out in the aisle from lack of oxygen, you’re no good to yourself or your loved ones.

For exactly the same reasons, we need to look after ourselves personally first before we look after our family, friends and loved ones.  This can be very difficult for some people to get their heads around, especially those of us in the caring professions; after all, it’s because we care for others that we’re in work/have our own businesses to do just that, right?  And it’s not been an easy lesson for me to learn either…in fact, I have to continually remind myself of this and make a point of building some ‘self-care’ time into my diary at the beginning of each week. 

As a single parent who has 3 businesses to run, the weeks can all-too-easily disappear underneath clients, marketing exercises, tax returns, helping with homework, making packed lunches and generally running a household and before you know it, it’s Sunday evening again and you’re preparing to get back on the treadmill for another week.  However, whilst many of these things may NEED to happen, if you’re constantly doing and giving to others, your own energy reserves will soon become depleted and you’ll find yourself running on empty – not great for you or your dependents, because if you become ill and can’t do all the things you ‘have’ to do, how will those bills get paid, who will fulfil those obligations for you when you’re lying in your sick bed? 

How many of us have worked hard all year, looking forward to that one, big holiday where we’re going to relax, ‘de-stress’ AND have a great time sight-seeing, exploring new places or trying out a new watersport…only to be struck down with an illness?  We can’t expect our bodies to keep going and going without regular care, any more than we can expect our cars to keep running us from A to B without refuelling and topping up the water & oil reserves regularly, let alone giving it that annual service and MOT!

So, one of the most vital tips I can give to you, especially as we’re about to venture into the exciting realms of a new year, is to treat your ‘me time’ as importantly as a meeting with a supplier, or a new client – schedule it into your diary at the start of the week and don’t allow it to be moved for something else ‘more valuable’, because at the end of the day, what’s more important than your health and being able to look after others too?


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