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That Little Voice- Prioritise Self Care

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

How do you feel about doing something for no-one but yourself? Something purely because you want to and it makes you feel good?

‘ I could do something more useful with that time…’

Sound familiar? So many of us hear a little voice telling us we should prioritise activities that look
after others or that are ‘productive’ over spending time on ourselves. Being told we can ‘do it all’
doesn’t usually mean we can.

‘I’m fine…’

It is all too easy to push aside how we really feel. Especially if we have an endless to do list waiting to
be tackled. But is this the wise thing to do? Don’t get me wrong, often this is a difficult habit to break
especially after years of an overworked and overstretched society telling us what is a ‘productive’
and ‘valuable’ way to spend our time.

‘I will skip it this week…’

One by one we drop the ‘little’ things that were integral to keeping us upright and strong. We don’t notice it initially but when most have gone we see the cracks…

Poor sleep, anxiety, lack of enjoyment, low energy, a sense of feeling overwhelmed, low confidence, low motivation, difficulty concentrating…burn out.

What we often forget is, self-care has benefits way beyond making us feel good at the time. Nobody
can give, give, give and expect to have anything left in the tank. Taking time for yourself, to look
after yourself has the wonderful result of meaning that we enjoy the other stuff more, that we are
more efficient, more productive and better in our other roles. Win!

As a General Practitioner I am no stranger to helping people with self-care, stress and mental health.
But despite this I too hear the little voice in my own head. I have often chosen something else over
self care. And even though I now feel I have a fairly good understanding of what is important to me
to maintain my balance, life can easily throw something else into the mix and I have to remind
myself all over again.

So how do we do it?

‘ It isn’t worth doing…’

Go big or go home, right?…Wrong! The little things absolutely make a difference. It is fantastic to
have bigger aims and goals but change your mindset and see and give credit to yourself for the
smaller steps you have achieved rather than focusing on what you have not done.

‘ I don’t have time…’

Nobody is a magician, we cannot make more time in the day. Changes need to be achievable and
realistic. Things you know you can do. Often initially it is about adapting things you are already doing
in your day to turn them into the healthier choice.

‘I won’t stick to it…’

It takes time to make changes stick, so be patient with yourself. You are more likely to stick with it if
it is something that is part of your regular routine. Think of thing for you that may work like putting
your skincare next to your toothbrush, adapting your route to work so you have to walk a little
more. Bringing a hot packed lunch with you that requires you to get up from your desk to heat up
and use a fork to eat! Plan to meet someone for a short walk at lunch so that person can help
motivate you to stick to the plan.

If you have read something here today that resonates then know that you can take back control. If
you have found a little part of this helpful know you are supported. If it has made you feel
empowered; that is the goal!

(Asking for a little help along the way always gets us there faster so please reach out to family,
friends or a supportive professional if you need to.)
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