Caring For Me Amongst It All

This article is for the caring people.  The jugglers. Those who give and serve and put themselves out on behalf of others. The leaders in business, charity and church sectors, the caring and health professionals, the nurses, educators, those who work with and on behalf of people, the mums, the managers and the workers. The overstretched, underfunded, overcommitted, compassionate people who are feeling maxed out.

As a coach and OD professional I have the privilege of helping people and their organisations thrive to be who and what they are called to be, holistically and whole, without meltdown and burn out! And I hear almost daily the cry of those who truly care and truly want to be excellent, that they are just never enough!  And been there myself! From the highest executive to the working Mum there never seems to be enough time to do everything. Let alone look after themselves!!

Caring within Businesses and Organisations:

It has been proved through research that those who want their organisations and businesses to succeed need a thriving workforce. Providing some support to enable employees to care from themselves actually reaps huge dividends for the organisation as a whole. Resulting in less absenteeism, reduced stress and sickness, increased loyalty and engagement, as well as increased work output. It’s worth helping people care for themselves!

Caring for Me

One of the biggest challenges for those of us who work with and care for people, is that we often neglect, or are just not able to care for ourselves within the mix of attending to everyone and everything else around us. Many of us know what we should be doing, or need to be doing to keep ourselves well, but don’t know the ‘how to?”.

Trying to lead well, complete the work and home to do list, get enough rest, take breaks, have enough sleep, exercise, eat well, attend to precious relationships, serve in the community, keep the accounts balanced,  can seem impossible. Not to mention looking good, keeping trained up, well presented and professional.  Let alone take a step back to see the big picture of our work and lives. Who actually manages all that?

Everyone has a unique and limited set of skills and capacities. No-one is superman or woman! We live in such a privileged time when there is SO much knowledge and information at our finger tips. There’s so much to do and so much to live up to!

So how do we take care of ourselves amongst it all? Some first steps:

  • Ask yourself: “What are the consequences if I don’t take care of myself?  Can my physical and mental health be sustained long term if I neglect me? “ 

Life delivers things that we just have to cope with and push through but if it turns into a lifestyle where our physical and mental resources are consistently taken to the limit there will be breakdown.

  • What are the things you are prioritising above yourself and your needs?

  • What are the voices inside your head that stop you taking that class, that walk, that few minutes break?

Everyone has the inner voice of debate which keeps us from doing what we know we should do.  Identifying it is a good first step into changing it.

  • What one small thing can you do consistently to begin to make changes that care for you?

Most sustainable changes happen with small achievable steps. Small consistent steps can build to a new framework and pattern of behaviour. Just tackle one and get that established, then move to the next thing. What is it you most need currently? 

  • If you were speaking to yourself like you would your best friend, what would you be saying?

Having recently led a workshop for full time carers and heard their incredible brave, self- sacrificing and heart-breaking stories, and understood their need to find ways of surviving in the midst of caring full time for someone else, I was again aware that many of us are pushing our systems beyond what they are designed to do. We know this, but we often don’t know how to change it. Otherwise we would have done!

Help is at hand though and there’s always a way, a plan and strategy that’s unique to you and your situation that can be found and implemented. So that you can carry on caring for others - and yourself along the way. Living life in a healthy and sustainable way.

Often the very people who need the kind of workshop or coaching that enables them to care for themselves amongst it all need others to help them to get there. Whether that be to book the place or the session or be an encourager and accountability friend on the journey. Go with them, look after the kids so that they can attend. Do you need a helping hand to get to a session or a coaching appointment? Who can you ask? Do you know someone who you can help along the way? We have to look after our caring people, otherwise what will society look like without them?  And if you are one please look after yourself because we need you!!!

Sarah x