Violeta M. Bagia
Self-Care in a Demanding Time
While most of us are now working from home where possible it’s often easy to neglect our own health. Physical fitness and care are important but that tiny, often forgotten thing we must also take care of, perhaps even more is our mental health.
Taking the time to practice yoga or meditation not only allows our body to wind down after a busy week, it also allows our mind to slow down and take the needed care to relax and reset.
Personally, I’m a workaholic and I realize this comes as both a blessing and a curse. But I’m incredibly fortunate that my employer is very serious about work/life balance and they have a whole range of self-care tips and online channels promoting a healthy life both physically and mentally.
The challenge for me, like I’m sure it is for most people comes from the extracurricular activities. I’m not just an Office Manager; I’m an author, I’m a student and I’m a homemaker. I have publishers waiting on books, blogs that need to be written, assignments that need to be handed in and to make it even more fun, I’m working on my Honours thesis! To top all of that off, I still have a house to run. I cook and clean, do assorted DIY projects around the house and spend time with my husband and fur-babies.
The point is, we are all busy, busy, busy and working from home, hasn’t really made any of that slow down. In fact, for me, it’s probably made me even more busy. For example, my usual hour-long commute to and from work was my wind down time. I’d watch an episode of Buffy, read a few chapters of a book or just switch off from my devices. But that hour was used to relax. Now, the second I log out of my work computer at 5pm, I log straight into my other ‘work’ computer. I do have two whole new books I’m expected to write, and that thesis isn’t going to write itself. So, where I suddenly gained two extra hours in a day to work more, I’ve also realized that I’m burning myself out quicker than I can recover. I would work-days and nights and even weekends! My own family would call me just to make sure I’d remembered to eat and get enough sleep.
This week alone I realized how often my headaches have been coming, how PTSD related dreams are starting to come back and how generally unwell I’m feeling. My asthma has been worse than it’s ever been and I’m constantly emotional. My productivity is dropping and I’m losing interest in my own work.
But my physical body is in peak form, I cycle about 20km a day and I go for regular walks. I’m eating well and I’m staying generally healthy. But the human body needs both the mind and body to be in good health in order to stay well.
So, learn from me my friends. Don’t do as I do. I know it’s super tempting to work your butts off for endless hours a day and for a while it is, you get so much done and you’re so in the zone you forget to slow down. But that’s not sustainable. I’m making a point to switch off every night at a reasonable time from all my work. Day job, wiring job and uni. That way, I still have a semblance of ‘social’ life as well as rest. And we all need rest! So join me in practicing good mental health, doing some yoga and meditation and reconnecting with our mind, body and psyche!