“Our bodies carry the weight of our stress. Try to show yourself compassion as you release perfectionism. These are not ordinary times. More grace is needed.”- Dr. Thema. 

As we navigate life and balancing our different roles, we may be prone to burnout if we do not prioritise self-care. The demands of life require us to extend ourselves and at times show up for people more than they show up for us. This may lead to mental and physical exhaustion, therefore hopelessness. To identify the need for self-care we need to identify the symptoms of burnout.

The following are some of the symptoms of burnout: 

  • Exhaustion 
  • Dreading work 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Depression 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Short temper 
  • No time for recreational/ fun activities. 

It is imperative that we can identify the symptoms to address them appropriately and effectively. We can do this by applying self-care techniques which include an array of health and wellness methods. According to Dr. Maria Barratta (2018), in essence self-care is the deliberate taking of time to pay attention to yourself, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that assures you are being cared for by yourself.  

It is important to prioritise self-care to maintain and restore motivation, performance and hope. When we practice self-care techniques, we enhance the possibility of reaching our full potential (self-actualisation). Self- actualisation is a concept popularised by Abraham H. Maslow, an American psychologist. He identified the concept to be at the top of the hierarchy of needs for people. Abraham H. Malslow defined self-actualisation as the drive for people to fulfil their highest potential. This drive can only emerge when a variety of basic needs are met. Self- actualisation emphasises self-fulfilment needs such as morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.  

We can therefore deduce that there is a connection between reaching your highest potential and prioritising self-fulfilling activities e.g., self-care. There are various forms of self-care; mental, emotional, spiritual, social and financial. Mental self-care requires us to reflect on the dialect we are feeding ourselves. It is important to be aware of the quality and merit of information we feed our minds and the impact it has on our mental health. Emotional self-care is about processing and understanding our emotions. Counselling provides the safe space and opportunity to reflect on emotions that may have been unprocessed and therefore manifesting in ways inconsistent with who we are thus creating tension. Spiritual self-care is about creating a life that has meaning and purpose. This helps fuel our passions for things and people we love. Loneliness and isolation have been linked with a decline in mental health, therefore it is important to maintain social connections with people we enjoy and who make positive contributions to our lives. Lastly financial self-care. We all know that financial challenges have a ripple effect in our lives. We can easily fall into depression due to financial challenges. It is important to be honest and accepting of our financial situations. Learning about budgeting, planning and managing our finances are all ways of practising financial self-care. 

Here are a few suggestions on general self-care tips: 

  • Sufficient sleep (Rest well) 
  • Exercise 
  • Eat a nutritious diet 
  • Set healthy boundaries 
  • Create a home self-pampering routine (face mask) 
  • Meet with friends  
  • Treat yourself within your budget and capacity 
  • Reduce screen time (cell phone, TV, laptop) 

The above listed are practical and everyday efforts into observing self-care. Self-care need not be expensive and extravagant. It can be simple and common gestures. It is small efforts that bring you joy and rest. It is what makes your heart glad. It is, in essence, you putting you first, because you matter.

As I conclude, may I humbly share the following quote: “May the givers receive.  May the busy rest. May the ignored be seen.  May we each feel the healing gift of love” – Dr. Thema. 

 Author: Adelaide Mosala