Flicking through some old photos I remember this image well. I was standing in a small village market to the north of Bangkok and feeling like a tourist attraction as a local rubbed Tiger Balm a tad too close to my eye balls and fellow tourists amusingly took photos of the event (my mate was one). I now find myself questioning the significance of self-care in ones life, as in her eye this was self-care she was “treating me to”.
Beyond all that we’ve grown up knowing of how to live a healthy life e.g. fitness, good food, etc., it seems that one of the big things we forget is time out. Me time – no wrist watch – no agenda – just flow. OK, maybe it’s not an issue for everyone but I was recently at a gathering of young leaders in Wellington where ‘self-care’, well lack of it, was regarded the number one fault to see projects and events collapse.
So what is self-care? Essentially it’s where you become your core focus for a period of time. Where you can check in with yourself, review where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where your going or simply “relax”.
This doesn’t mean shipping off to the Coromandel to do a silence retreat, if that would be new to you, because self-care is not a time for stepping outside your comfort zone. Maybe it’s watching the sun rise as you walk along one of the Shore’s lovely beaches or finishing the day with a session at the gym, playing some music or indulging in your artistic flair, and then, every now and then doing something that lasts a bit longer and breaks you out of routine, like a holiday.
My family used to say, “Cam are you taking care of yourself” to which I’d reply “yes I’m having fun”. But fun and self-care is not always the same thing. Whether you’re doing the job you’ve always dreamt of, or being that champion athlete you’ve worked long and hard to become, self-care is just as important for you as it is for the person watching the clock till home time.
To avoid collapse, exhaustion, burnout (it’s all the same) it’s important that we identify self-care as a priority within our lives and ask ourselves “what am I doing so I can keep playing at 100%?” Because playing at 100% is what we should be doing but when all of it becomes a bit of a routine we need to check that we’re keeping fresh.
With a fresh mind we have a fresh body and vice-versa which means we can go on to achieve awesome things. Maybe this column was inspired by the lady rubbing tiger balm around my eyes, as she proclaims this to be self-care, but times equally inspiring. Easter is now here but I remember cutting into the Christmas ham like it was yesterday meaning that 2014 is one rocket ship of a year.
With the year flying by I sure hope that your events and projects are on track. Now is a good time to look at self-care because even if you plan something for a couple of months away, it’s going be the second half of 2014 pretty soon. To remain productive we need to check in with ‘number one’. A change in season is a great time to check in with yourself, review where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you’re going.
Take care, keep smiling and buckle up for an awesome ride!