Personal Directions: The Art of Tailoring Your Self-Care Journey

I’ve always been a reflective person, enjoying time in my own company and thinking deeply about things. I’ve also struggled as a person to manage with life at times, and to find healthy ways to support myself when things get tough.

The wellbeing world is overwhelming and at times and what I read and listen to doesn’t resonate with me. Sometimes wellbeing seems too far out of reach, especially on days when it can be hard to just get through. Other times, it feels like hard work, that without a multi-step programme that is kept to everyday, that elusive goal will never be achieved.

My journey to real self-care began during a period of significant change marked by a descent into burnout as I faced major life challenges. And I have learnt that deliberate, regular self-care is essential for me to lead a balanced and fulfilling life.

I’ve realised that it is often the simple, easy things that make me feel better.

Here are 5 needs that I have identified that are essential for my well-being

  • I need quiet: The world is a noisy place and my life is noisy, filled with high-spirited children, demanding work priorities and a dog that snores really loudly. I’ve realised that every day I need some quiet time, even just 5 minutes in the bedroom with the door locked.
  • I need music: Having said I need quiet, I find it very difficult to work in totally quiet environment. I’ve learned that I concentrate best when I have music in the background, and so have developed a soundtrack of ambient, spiritual and relaxing tracks that I play on headphones at a low level throughout my working day. Listen to this playlist here
  • I need to not have a routine: Regular doesn’t mean routine. A dear friend once told me that I have a high freedom need, and while I believed I was a structured person, I realise now that I don’t like to have to do the same thing over and over again. So much of my life is built around other people’s schedules, that I like to parts of my day and week where I can just do what I feel like. Sometimes, that is just doing nothing.
  • I need a self-care toolbox: I have tried lots of self-care practices, such as journalling, mindfulness, meditation, gratitude and many more. And I know that while all of these are valuable, they enrich my life in different ways at different times. It’s not about doing them all every day but knowing which one I need at which time.
  • I need to be connected: I’ve learnt that while I can cope by myself, I heal when I am in community. Shared experiences fosters healing. And again, different connections foster different elements, some are personal, some are professional, but my life is enhance when they are meaningful.

Sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to explore their own self-care journeys, recognizing that healing is a collective endeavour that not only enriches individual lives but also strengthens our society.

What are your self-care needs and what one will you choose today?