In part two, the thread of self-care continues with some ideas about control, choices, and saying yes. In this two-part blog, I talk about self-care as not being a ‘one-shot deal’- it is more a bunch of little things repeated time and time again to ensure that you are at your peak.

In part one, I talked about ideas about self-help that can be useful to anyone who is busy, and feeling like they need some self-care. Gretchen in her Habits Manifesto states “when we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves”. A bit of self-care will see you feeling better longer. 

Control (your environment)

Control yourself and your environment. Gretchen reminds me to take control of my environment, tidy what needs to be tidied, don’t put it down – put it away (that gem is from my mum). Another way I take ‘control’ is by using my outlook calendar. If I want to look at a website, but don’t want to be distracted by it right now, I copy and paste the URL into a calendar event for another day. I write myself a note and I can then forget about it, but still be able to get to it if I need to.  I feel like it is a good way to control my procrastination tendencies.

I applied control to my eating habits too. The wise Sage who ran my Weight Watchers group talked about controlling what you bring home. She spoke about being strong enough and able to resist the temptations in the supermarket, but too weak to resist them in her own home when they were so close and easy to get. So, control what comes into your home. It’s something to consider in the festive season when there seems to be a lot of ‘treat-food’ around.

Think declutter… tidy and revamp- this is all part of self-care…

The second part of control is to control who controls YOU! Think about the people who bring you down, and control how and when you see them. Think about the demands people make on you and your time, and control that in a way that works for you, but still maintains positive relationships. Spend time with people who radiate positive things to you, not the people who drain your energy! 

Choices (make good ones)

Make choices about your digital life, do you actually need to have your phone next to you? – if yes, great, if no, and you find yourself drifting towards checking it, then move it away. Don’t let yourself drift, make choices and make that into a habit. Think about your phone being in your bag…or another part of the room.  I have a mantra “I am present and ready to work”, up on my wall, this is helpful to me. One suggestion is to set three time slots a day to be on your phone, set a timer and get off once the timer goes. On a weekend, sit, and drift through Facebook (or whatever you like), for 30mins, then stop, and get back into life… Don’t deprive yourself of what you like, just don’t let it control you, choose to control it!

Brain dump:

I am following Brooke’s advice from Destination Simple about using a brain dump to clear my mind. This is a five-minute exercise that uses pen and paper, and gets your thoughts out onto paper, in the hope they won’t keep bugging you and you can make some sense of them. Once on the page, you can review and organise if you like, or just close the book and leave them.

Something just for you:

This doesn’t have to be expensive, or super time consuming, one thing that works for me is brushing my hair after lunch. I imagine that the brush is waking up all my dead brain cells as I do it. Try not to make food a ‘something special’ for you. Think about cheap treats, a bubble bath, a tea in the sun with a book, or mid-range treats, a magazine… a coffee out with a friend… if you have a bit more spending money.

Say no when you can- unless you want to say yes!

There are times when it’s ok to say no, you have permission! If you say no to something, you provide space to engage in something else, maybe it’s a new adventure, and maybe it’s just some down time for yourself. Remember it’s really important to say yes if you want to, do so, and enjoy the whole thing wholeheartedly. Whatever you say no to, opens up opportunities to say yes to something else. Try saying “I’d love to, but I’m over committed right now, maybe next time”.

Take care everyone, Kath.

Kath CooperKath Cooper works for  Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand. She is passionate about all things early childhood and issues of sustainability. Her recent research was on the visibility of gay early childhood teachers. She lives with her wife in Wellington and has four lovely children, and three amazing grandchildren.

Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya went to Rata street kindergarten and Petone kindergarten, before gaining her bachelor of education at Victoria University. As well as working with Storypark Sonya works as an ECE teacher.


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