Self-care for BUSY PEO­PLE

Great Health Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Words Dr Suzanne Hen­wood De­sign Olek­san­dra Zuieva

Last month in GHGTM mag­a­zine we dis­cussed the first four self-care ideas to use at work, in the ar­ti­cle Self-Care for Busy Peo­ple Part 1. While there is no one ‘right’ list of ac­tiv­i­ties and ev­ery­one will have their own pref­er­ences, you can ad­just and re­fine these sim­ple ideas to fit your work en­vi­ron­ments. Here are more ideas you can use within your work environment. Re­mem­ber…the time and en­ergy are worth it.

1. Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

We have be­come in­cred­i­bly seden­tary, of­ten sit­ting all day, not even mov­ing for breaks or lunch. In ad­di­tion, we may be sat hunched over IT, or pa­per­work, re­main­ing still for many hours, which is not best prac­tice for keep­ing our spines and joints healthy. Set an alarm to in­te­grate phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity into your day at least ev­ery hour – just for two min­utes:

• stand and stretch

• if you can, go for a quick walk – con­sider walk­ing to a bath­room that is not the clos­est, even bet­ter one on the next floor up or down – and use the stairs to get there

• con­sciously straighten your spine and take your shoul­ders back, feel­ing the front of your chest open up

• if you can go out­side into the fresh air for a few min­utes and even bet­ter, if you can con­nect di­rectly with the ground by re­mov­ing your shoes, then go for it.

Over an av­er­age week, build in longer spurts of ex­er­cise, such as 20-minute walks, swim­ming, bike rid­ing, or what­ever ac­tiv­i­ties you en­joy, mak­ing it eas­ier to sus­tain over time.

Also, build in non-ac­tiv­ity, ef­fec­tive rest times to give your body time to rest and re­cover from the stresses of ev­ery day. Healthy sleep pat­terns are essen­tial to al­low your body to process and re­cover each day.

2. Cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for so­cial con­nec­tion.

Hu­man be­ings are so­cial be­ings. It is essen­tial that you find a va­ri­ety of ways to get con­nec­tion

and sup­port (per­sonal and pro­fes­sional) for your well­be­ing. Some au­thors even ar­gue that so­cial be­long­ing is a fun­da­men­tal phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­quire­ment along with food, safety and shel­ter. See for ex­am­ple Maslow’s Hi­er­ar­chy of Needs.

Find ways to cre­ate so­cial con­nec­tion at work, whether it’s a few min­utes each day to au­then­ti­cally con­nect with a col­league, to re­ally see some­one and al­low your­self to be seen, to lis­ten and be lis­tened to. Con­sider more for­mal coach­ing and su­per­vi­sion to sup­port you in pro­fes­sional is­sues. What­ever best suits, en­sure that you find ways to con­nect and be­long to safe­guard your well­be­ing.

3. Build in things that make you smile.

Ev­ery day de­lib­er­ately do things that make you smile:

• find some­thing that makes you laugh, like a daily cartoon on your desk

• set aside a time ev­ery day to do a smile scavenger hunt – stop and look round un­til you find some­thing that makes you smile, search on your way into work – see­ing things with new eyes. Smil­ing is con­ta­gious and by smil­ing more, more peo­ple will smile at you.

4. In­tro­duce va­ri­ety into your day.

Neu­ral plas­tic­ity is the new de­vel­op­ment and changes to neu­ral path­ways that hap­pens in learn­ing and change. As we are ha­bit­ual be­ings, it is very easy to be­come mind­less about what you are do­ing, which can re­duce the plea­sure re­lated to it. It is a good idea to

con­sciously do things dif­fer­ently – pick one thing each week that you will change, for ex­am­ple:

• take a dif­fer­ent route to work

• se­lect a dif­fer­ent drink at your break time

• change your rou­tines at work.

5. Ex­plore mean­ing.

Many peo­ple are look­ing for some­thing above and be­yond work. The search for mean­ing and pur­pose, defin­ing the dif­fer­ence you make, can be deeply sat­is­fy­ing. Take time out to think of the wider and higher im­pacts re­lated to what you do:

• who do you serve or help?

• what big­ger game are your con­tribut­ing to?

6. Healthy Eat­ing.

It is very easy when you are busy to grab quick snacks that are high in car­bo­hy­drate or su­gar. The im­me­di­ate, though short lived en­ergy hit can make you feel sat­is­fied in the mo­ment, but is un­likely to keep you go­ing over a long busy day. Think ahead and take into work, healthy, nu­tri­tious en­ergy rich snacks, that are even more ef­fec­tive at keep­ing you go­ing through the busy times and care for your body at the same time:

• va­ri­ety of nuts

• fruit with added nat­u­ral yo­ghurt

• pro­tein or en­ergy bars

• break­fast ce­real

• low fat cot­tage cheese and crack­ers

• her­bal tea.

Start­ing this week, which ac­tiv­i­ties you will choose for your own prac­tice? How quickly you will start to feel your mood lift? Why not set out a plan for the next 7 days?

A few min­utes a day can make a huge dif­fer­ence, which will en­able you to be healthy so that you can con­tinue to work and per­form ex­cel­lently at home and work.

You are worth it.

Dr Suzanne Hen­wood is the Di­rec­tor and Lead Coach and Trainer of mBrain­ing4Suc­cess. She is also the CEO of The Healthy Work­place and a Mas­ter Trainer and Mas­ter Coach of mBIT (Mul­ti­ple Brain In­te­gra­tion Tech­niques) and can be con­tacted via her web­site.

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