Self-care tips from JNCNovember 6, 2020
Self-care means taking care of your own wellbeing. And it’s every bit as important as caring for others. This is one of the areas we explored during Mental Health Month. See, for example, the webcast at this link, which offers wellbeing tips for carers.
More about self-care
Self-care has two stages:
- First, a conscious decision to reduce stress, fatigue or the feeling of being drained
- Then an action to help increase health and wellbeing.
But how do we decide it’s time for self-care? The challenge we most often face is recognising when we are stressed. Or when we’re running on empty or feeling fatigued.
Recognising we need self-care
Here are some of the triggers that could make you feel fatigue or stress:
- too many late nights
- dietary issues
- caring roles that are demanding
- having to meet deadlines
- interrupted sleep
- having to mix with “toxic” (criticising/judgmental) people
- acute or chronic illness, including mental health issues
- family, financial matters or work-related issues.
Some of the signs we need self-care:
- increased heart rate, breathing rate, sweating, raised blood pressure
- tension, including tense muscles
- grinding teeth
- sleep problems
- feeling overwhelmed, anxious
- lack of concentration
- feeling you’ve lost control
- more self-talk, and mainly negative
- feeling short-tempered or impatient
- being self-critical
- ‘medicating’ with alcohol and other drugs
- unable to ‘let go’ of something bad that’s happened earlier
Choosing self-care tools
Decided you need self-care? Now the next step is to select the right tools to help become energised again. You could try activities like these:
- Getting help with sleep patterns/getting more sleep
- Healthy eating
- Keeping a journal of reflections / thoughts
- A hobby
- Joining a social group
- Visualisation techniques
- Mindfulness apps/activities. For example: SmilingMind, https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
There are many more possibilities. Try some of these resources:
- Self-help books
- Your GP / psychologist / psychiatrist / counsellor
- Workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Organisations: WayAhead, Mental Health Carers NSW, Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue
- JNC’s crisis directory, which includes mental health support services
- Our Mental Health Tips webcast
- Some useful websites: https://mensline.org.au/, https://www.sane.org/families-carers/35-what-support-is-available-for-carers
- Check out JNC’s self-care activites and groups at this link.
More about mindfulness
Recognise your need to practise self-care and schedule a regular time.
Recognise that self-care is an important part of your overall health maintenance plan. In fact, it’s just like going to the dentist or GP.
Your health and wellbeing is like an investment. This means you need to continually make a deposit to enjoy a return. ‘Depositing’ self-care will bring you good health and a sense of wellbeing and balance.
Regular self-care helps you to be calmer, make logical decisions, and avoid knee-jerk reactions. And it can result in better long-term health and improved relationships.
Support for taking care
If you’re concerned about your own wellbeing or someone else’s, don’t hesitate to take action. Some useful numbers:
- Emergency 000
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Lifeline chat (SMS) 0477 131 114
This material was prepared by Danni Meredith from VAST, JNC’s Volunteer and Training services. If your organisation wants training in self-care or similar areas, please contact Danni on firstname.lastname@example.org