The Importance of Self-Care

Are you feeling Busy? Stressed? Overwhelmed? At Construction Rehab, we have noticed that a huge part of what is ‘missing’ from the day to day lives of many of our clients is an aspect of Self-Care.  

What is self-care?  Self-care includes any intentional actions you take towards caring for your own physical, mental and emotional health. These actions are often quite simple, and don’t need to take up a lot of time or cost a lot of money. At its core, Self-care is taking some time in your life to focus on taking care of YOU What does that look like and how do you take care of yourself in order to avoid burnout?. Quitting your job or taking extended time off to decompress is rarely an option for most people.  Too often, strong, successful people succumb to illness, neglect their own mental and physical health, or fall into patterns of substance use to alleviate these issues.  There’s no reason to wait until things get out of hand to take some time to take care of yourself. Regular self-care goes a long way in managing stress and living your best life. 

Here are some ways that you can exercise self-care and take better care of you.    

Know your limits – A major part of self-care is the ability to acknowledge when you have taken on more than you are able to handle.  Having a realistic understanding of yourself and your own limits and recognizing how and when to step back or slow down can be vital. Don’t be afraid to say no to taking on additional tasks or responsibilities if they will result in stretching yourself too thin. 

Get some (good) sleep – Medical science informs us that adults aged 18 to 64 should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. According to Stats Canada, one in three Canadians is regularly falling short of this and are not getting enough sleep.  Making a serious effort to get a long enough and good enough sleep can go a long way towards managing anxiety and stress and taking care of yourself. Try to establish a routine and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. 

Eat Well – Eat a healthy, balanced diet and try to eat at regular times each day. Eating better can be straightforward — start by making sure that what you eat provides enough energy to allow you to function.  Take the time to eat a meal at work and time to have some healthy snacks when you require intermittent food during the work day.  Integrating some favorite healthy foods into your everyday eating routines and planning to make sure you have adequate nutritional foods throughout your day can make a huge difference. 

Be Active – Regular physical activity can improve your mood, promote better sleep, improve stamina, boost energy, and help you to lose weight and stay in shape.  If going to the gym is too much, try going for a 20-minute walk before or after work, any amount of activity is better than no activity.  Start small and work your way up. 

Put Your Smartphone Away – Sometimes we all need some time to disconnect. Recent research found that memory capacity, ability to process data, and general intelligence improves significantly when our smartphone is away and completely out of sight. Try setting aside some time each day to do away with all the distractions of day to day life, including your smartphone or tablet.  

Decompress – Finding a way to decompress throughout your day, not just when you leave work isn’t always easy, but it can go a long way. If you don’t have the luxury of taking breaks during your work day, try to integrate mini breaks throughout the day to help refresh your mind and body.  For example, try doing some stretches, get yourself a drink of water, or briefly talk with  a friend or coworker. These little pauses help break up the day, and your brain needs these little breaks from routine.  At the end of the work day, knowing how to decompress from a day’s work can be essential to separating work issues from entering your day to day life.  That might mean walking home from work to think about the day’s events and clear your head or listening to music or a podcast on your commute to help transition from work to home. Find a way that works for you to separate these different facets of life. 

Engage with others. –Stay in touch with friends and family who encourage and support you. Having people in your life who are a positive influence can be a major support in times of stress.  Building meaningful relationships with people who share common goals can also help you with many of the other aspects of self-care. 

Get to know YOU  Take the time to get to know yourself better. Learn to identify your stress indicators; short temper, mood swings, withdrawal from friends or family, feeling overwhelmed and drained, etc. Use these indicators as a reminder to take some time for yourself to unwind. You will be more understanding, supportive and calmer. 

Do something for YOU – Identify what you enjoy doing and what’s fun for you and make a serious effort to integrate it into your daily or weekly schedule.  Take up a new hobby or get back into an old one. Make it a habit to plan something to look forward to every day, whether it’s reading a chapter in a book, watching an episode of TV, going for a walk or the gym, going for dinner with a friend, building a puzzle etc.  Find something that brings you joy and try to do it often. 

Love Yourself – No one knows you as well as you know yourself.  Take some time to love yourself and appreciate that fact that there is only one you and you are the expert on yourself. Remember, you are allowed to make mistakes, the important thing is to not be too hard on yourself and to use them as a learning opportunity. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and some of the above suggestions may not work for you, what is important is recognizing that it’s ok to take some time to focus on yourself and things that support your positive mental and physical health. If you are having any difficulties with Mental Health or Substance Use issues, you can contact Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan.

 For more information, or to learn about our program call us at (604) 521–8611 | 1 (888) 521-8611 or email us at info@constructionrehabplan.com 

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