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Lessons from lockdown – why self-care is king

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 09:00

As we go deeper into the winter season, amid all the doom and gloom with the continued impact of the pandemic, the energy crisis, and the economic effects of Brexit, looking after ourselves has never been more important.

Are you proactively focusing on your wellbeing or have you gone ‘back to normal’ and ‘business as usual’? Sadly, I’ve started to notice some old habits creeping back, many of them detrimental to our wellbeing.

While travelling across the country recently, I’ve noticed some behaviours and attitudes that resemble pre-pandemic concerns. The most noticeable is people working longer hours to get stuff done and neglecting their wellbeing. The slower pace of lockdown seems like a thing of the past, with many burning the candle at both ends.

The stresses of life have made some people less kind and tolerant

I’m sure you’ll have witnessed something in your own sphere that made you pause – as the stresses of life have increased again, people are certainly less kind, tolerant and understanding now than they were a year ago. Self-awareness, empathy and a focus on improved self-care can take care of this.

One simple, effective way to reduce stress is to ensure that we take care of ‘number one’. Remember, you can only be great in all areas of your life and add value to others if you look after yourself first.

During the lockdowns last year, a lack of self-care was probably the biggest issue many people recognised in themselves as we adapted to the situation. We lost the few things many of us had access to, but possibly took for granted.

A few pints at the weekend; recreational sport and exercise; games night; lunchtime gym; commutes to decompress the day’s work before we got home; access to babysitters to facilitate the odd date night. This definitely focused minds on the importance of self-care and wellbeing, and made us even more grateful when we could get out and about again.

When people first started working from home in large numbers, there was a certain romantic appeal. However, many people struggled with being ‘locked up’ and restricted because they lacked intention and a plan about their self-care and wellbeing.

Through many different positive interventions, we started realising that we need to be more intentional about taking care of ourselves first (which is not being selfish!). This then better places us to take care of our families, friends, business/career, clients and the wider community.

Self-care helps to reduce the risk of burnout

Practising self-care helps to build awareness of how our bodies respond to particular exercise regimes or nutritional plans, and reduces the risk of burnout, as we have a better idea of when to stop, rest and recover.

While you may feel like you always have to be switched on when trying to achieve a health or fitness goal, rest, recovery and mental ‘downtime’ are just as important as the activity you take part in, so make sure you factor this into your schedule.

I hope you have an enjoyable and restful time over the Christmas holidays.

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