Encouraging Self-Care and Recharging

Submitted September, 14, 2021 by Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA

It is common today for workers to experience work fatigue. Employers are dealing with employee shortages, workers are out for sick leave, others are working extra shifts to make up for the shortages as we all cope with the Covid–19. The result is that people are feeling exhausted to the point of being useless. Work demands continue to rise, and not only have people put vacation off but the number of hours worked is soaring. The more hours we work, the more our capacity to focus and produce quality work declines.

Many people have lost sight of the need for relaxation. I am just as guilty as the next, raised by workaholic parents, I was taught to rest after the work was done, the only thing is my parents forgot to tell me the work is never done. Our mental health depends on downtime. Self-care is the conscious act of promoting your physical, mental, and emotional health.

When employees start to experience burnout the productivity drops, illness increases and there is an uptick in turnover. One of the main reasons people don’t take time off is because they are not confident, they can leave without things falling apart. I think a lot of this is due to the digital age. We have made it too easy for people to contact us. For the most part, people are plugged in 24/7. When I worked in higher education, I worked overtime for months leading up to Y2K preparing our systems. When I finally took time off, I was completely unplugged. No cell phone and no way to contact me. We need to take time off to recharge but we all need to make sure that systems and processes are in place so that people can feel confident in taking the time they need.

In an interview with a family therapist, Terri said: “Self-care isn’t just taking a day off from work. A vacation isn’t always a regroup.” (Interview with Terri Moser, LMFT, EMDRIA, CCTP with Heart of Peace Counseling). Terri continued to say that the lack of mental health care, drains us. We push ourselves, our bodies, and keep saying yes when we should say no.  The key is finding what works for you.

Covid shut down the world of self-care. We lost the ability to go to the store, the spa, vacation, visit family and friends. Attend church, fitness facilities were closed and recreation activities were shut down. We were told to go outside but social distance. Even the wearing of masks stopped us from seeing smiling faces. All of these things have taken a toll on us. Humans are tribal and social creatures and we need interaction with others for our mental, emotional and physical well-being.

With self-care, you need to find what works for you. For some soaking in a bubble bath works, others it is reading a book. “The root of self-care is connection. Human connections help us rejuvenate and recoup (Interview with Terri Moser, LMFT, EMDRIA, CCTP with Heart of Peace Counseling).  Selfcare cannot be done all at once, it is a process and something that we need to do a little daily.

Terri gave me the analogy of the oxygen masks on airlines. When you fly, the flight attendants also do the pre-flight procedure, we sit and listen over and over again that the protocol in cases of an emergency when the oxygen masks drop down to put on your mask first before assisting anyone else.

It is natural for us to take care of others first, and we are good at it.  The airline protocol reminds us that we are no good to others around us unless we take care of ourselves first.

To be your best, you have to take care of yourself. You will be better if you take care of yourself. When your personal tank is empty you are unable to give your best to others. Recently my thirteen-year-old son asked to learn to drive the ATV. He was instructed where the brakes were, how to give the machine gas and how to start. He did great. His second time out he forgot to turn the gas on. The ATV was stalling and couldn’t run without fuel. We are the same. We become less productive, we can be moody and emotional when we are not filling our own tanks with recharging our internal batteries by balancing life and work.

There are many tools available for us for self-care. Some of the resources include apps we can put on our phones. Apps like Calm, Motivation, Minddoc, mindshift, sleepzy, breathe and so much more.

YouTube has many videos we can view for free. Marisa Peer has many videos on YouTube about self-care.

Recharging Tactics:

  • Physical Care:
    • Eating Right – Eating the right kinds of food impacts our concentration and energy levels.
    • Exercise
      • Science has proven that exercise releases endorphins in our brains that can calm us and make us happy.
    • Sleeping
  • Social Care
    • Socializing is key to self-care.
    • Volunteering – Volunteering gets the focus off yourself, investing in the lives of others is energizing.
  • Mental Care
    • Unplugging completely – today we are connected 24/7 and we have the feeling of always being “on”. Recharge your batteries by avoiding technology.
    • Reading books
    • Volunteering – Volunteering gets the focus off yourself, investing in the lives of others is energizing.
  • Spiritual Care
    • Meditation & Religion
  • Emotional Care
    • Therapy
Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world – Pema Chodron