So often during the pandemic we were faced with many challenges, from scarcity of essential supplies to maneuvering relationships and working and schooling at home. However, it also gave us time to reflect on our priorities and learn how to “do life” in other ways.
For me, the epiphany came when I realized I have a decade birthday soon to be celebrated, taking stock of my future, and analyzing how much time I spend doing for others, and not focusing on self-care. With so much concern for others and their physical and emotional well being at home and work, it dawned on me that in order to achieve my optimal performance as a professional, mother, friend, partner, and community volunteer, I needed a group of people, my tribe, to help me clarify my needs. I call them my Council of Wonders because they help me learn how I can fully experience a balance of work and life using the four dimensions below. Seeing the wonderfulness of life is a value I hold dear to me and helps me be the best version of myself.
Often we see asking for help as a sign of weakness, or being selfish. I view it as not just asking for help, but manifesting my needs in order to make me and others, stronger. I truly believe, you are no good to others if you are not good to yourself. According to the Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute, Lynda Monk, author, there are four key dimensions of Self-care:
Physical (the body) – to live, move, and breath – Physical self-care involves ensuring an overall healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of exercise. Consider decluttering your home and office so that you have a feeling of spaciousness and manageability. Take time away from computers, TV, and your smartphone (sedentary lifestyles are a health issue). Enjoy moments to rest and replenish.
Emotional (heart) – to love, care, and be in relationship with yourself and others – Emotional self-care might include setting clear boundaries on your time and energy. Engage emotional boundaries within helping relationships, surrounding yourself with positive people and affirmative and inspiring messages. Address any issues or problems so that they don’t build up. Give and receive love, kindness, and support. Spend time with people you care about and who care about you.
Psychological (the mind) – to learn, think, and grow – Psychological self-care activities might include personal and professional development. Give attention to things that are in your control (your sphere of influence). Take time for personal reflection. Notice your inner experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Cultivate self-awareness through things such as journaling, getting feedback from others, meditation, coaching/counselling, and consultation or supervision – places where you have the opportunity to grow, learn, and reflect.
Spiritual (the spirit) – to connect with essence, purpose, and meaning – Spiritual self-care might include prayer or meditation. You may want to visualize, practice gratitude, spend time in nature, and be aware of the non-material aspects of your life. Identify what is meaningful to you in your work and life. Practice mindfulness and being present in the moment.
In my work life as a civil engineer and president of the Empire Group of Companies, I am called upon to strategically negotiate, lead, purchase and develop land and projects and focus on the enhanced quality of life for residents. As a mom, it is to guide and model opportunities for my children, and as a volunteer in my community, it is to help others see the value in making a difference. Using these four dimensions help center me and I believe will help you as you negotiate your future.
As we all look at our pandemic lessons, keep them as a reminder of how you and others can build on the experiences and use your own Council of Wonders to help you care for yourself and I promise, you will be stronger and more resilient and ready to face any challenge that will be presented to you. Good luck as you build your tribe!