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Hans F. Hansen

Self Care Week

Thanks, as always, for the feedback on recent posts.  This week is Self Care Week;  I think you’ll agree that, given the current circumstances, looking after ourselves has never been more important.

So, what is Self Care and why is important?

I have met thousands of care workers and managers over the years and, almost exclusively, they have been “caring” people who work in social care either because it is a calling or a passion, or because they simply want to help people.

This is awesome – social care needs more people just like that, with more choosing our sector as a distinct career choice, rather than something that ‘fills in between jobs’.  There have been many articles published recently that have promoted exactly that.

However, when we are really good at caring for others, that sometimes comes at the expense of our own well-being, which is why it is important.  Think of it this way: each time we go on a flight, there is a safety briefing prior to take off and it usually includes words along the lines of:  

“Put your own mask on, before helping another or a child”

The reason you need to put your own mask on first is precisely so that you can help others and secondly so that you don’t become someone that needs support.

So, Self Care is something we are familiar with and know why it is important, but what does it actually look like?

The Self Care Forum shared some resources to support this week and some of the following are taken from their resources, so if you want to know more about Self Care, you can find more here.

Self Care is a job for life!

There is a lot of truth in the saying “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” and this is true when it comes to both self care and caring for our families.

If we are going to be doing this for the rest of our lives, then what are the quick wins to try first?

Start with something small – like brushing your teeth and making sure you do it everyday.  Your body notices the commitment and it quickly becomes a habit – then repeat with something a bit more challenging.  In the meantime, why not check out our free Oral Health course if you’d like some additional tips.

Another important element to working in care is to look after our backs.  Back care is essential if you want to care for others.  Again, if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to engage in the moving and handling of others; check out our Moving & Handling course here.

Health is vital…

Everyone knows that we should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – the famous “5 a Day” – but how many of us actually do it?  I get my five most days, but it does take effort.  We also know that we should exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and not drink too much wine (no comment…!).

However, if we start small and build up, we can make some meaningful changes; it just takes a bit of practice.

Ultimately, like my example earlier, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take of the other people in our lives who need it most, now more than ever.

In conclusion, even if you just take two minutes out of your day to practice “7-11 breathing”, or just have a cup of tea, make that time for you, because you are really making that time for the people you care for.

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