First Things First: Self Care

It is estimated that mental illness will be Australia’s leading health problem by 2030. Here in this country we call Lucky, it is urgent that we step up to make our own luck … we have to find our happy place. The good news is, that studies show it’s not rocket science. In 2014 the Australian Psychological Society found that the top five most effective self care strategies are simple: Doing something relaxing. Time with friends and family. Doing a hobby. Physical activity. Music. These kinds of activities have been proven to improve sleep, physical health, productivity, emotional well-being, and family and social relationships.
What you do is up to you, but you must do something. I know from personal experience that self care is the necessary first step if you want to explore the possibilities of a world that you can draw from in limitless freedom, joy and fulfilment. This insight has enlivened my capacity like nothing else could. No matter how many fires are burning in our lives, we are unstoppably free when we invest time every day into ourselves. Practically for me, this looks like yoga, meditation, reading, exercise, physio, walking my dog, counselling when I need it, and regular time with the people I love, the people who love me.  I know that my Passion is my greatest Power, and this starts with me loving me. No-one else can do it like I can, and this is where my power to serve comes from.
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To care for myself I do things that make me feel good

From this launchpad of self care my voice recovery took off! I made commitments with my teaching that started to bear fruit and eventually got me back to the workplace, first in a small homework centre, then lecturing at university, and then working in special education for behaviour, supporting a single student who struggled to manage himself and his learning. These opportunities bolstered my career experience like nothing else could have. My challenge became my opportunity, and the teacher in me thrived! I loved matching my skills with openings in my world. It was enlivening.

My return to teaching was slow, and even though these early days were short and very quiet, it was a slow, sustainable start. The demands of my teaching work were small at first, which gave me the gift of time that I had always longed for. After battling through  the first six months of my injury I felt like my brain was shrivelling up with boredom and loneliness. I needed something to do. Something to think about. I needed to learn. So, I started studying psychology. It had always been an interest of mine, and I figured that I had the time, and the intelligence to do it, so why not? It was amazing, but the best bit again, was finding a new way to match my self with my world.
The gift of time that this season offered also provided more opportunity to work alongside my husband Alec to build our business. We had been progressively building a retail website, selling vacuum cleaner spares online. As my motivation and optimism grew, I made it my mission to create website content like never before. I created endless listings for products, and wrote blogs to inform our customers about how and why they should use our products. This caused a surge of growth in our business that propelled us into the future we had both wanted … stay tuned for those stories!
For many of us, there is a gap between the work we love – the work we live for – and the ability that we have to sustain this work. This is why I think that if there is anyone who needs to learn how to tell stories that change the outcomes of their life, then it is you! I’m not talking about stories that celebrate the importance of your work or your competence in it. You already know that. I’m talking about you seeing how powerful it could be to write your own story that inspires you to embrace everything that you are, in the fullness of you as a human being. Your passion for your work comes from somewhere deeper and more lasting than the budgets and the projects and the bursting schedules. Your passion started this whole affair. It was then, it is now, and it will always be your greatest strength. Nurture the passion you have for the thing you were born for. The mission that burns in your heart. And do it buy nurturing yourself first.