Mark Mental Health Awareness Week with some Self-Care

We live in a time-short world filled with many pressures, juggling multiple roles and commitments. It’s all to easy to neglect ourselves when life is busy, automatically focusing upon the tasks that require our attention and putting the needs of others first. Taking time to concentrate upon ourselves and do the things that help us relax can feel like an indulgent luxury that can’t possibly be justified when so much needs doing. Sadly, this mindset is often counterproductive and can be detrimental to our mental health.

 

It’s time to be kinder to ourselves…

 

Self-care is an effective approach to living a more balanced life and refers to an on-going commitment to doing the things we enjoy, looking after ourselves and identifying the activities and helpful behaviours that will protect  our mental health during particularly stressful periods. 

 

Taking time to do things for ourselves can feel selfish, however looking after our mental health is essential and practicing self-care enables us to reduce feelings of stress, avoid burnout and protect our mental health.  

“We have to look after ourselves, so we can look after others.”
 

8th - 14th May 2017 is Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW17) and this year's theme asks 'why are too few of us thriving with good mental health?' It's with this in mind, that Connecting with People have developed a Self-Care Toolkit to mark the event. It has been purposefully designed to be an accessible, free mini resource that anyone can benefit from using, in the absence of more detailed resources, such as those provided within our Emotional Resilience training. It consists of 3 easy steps, with 3 user and print friendly worksheets.

 


Step 1: How do I Cope Now?
 

Our ‘How do I cope now?’ worksheet is intended to be used as a guide to help you consider how you currently cope when feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed and lists a number of behaviours, some of which maybe helpful at the time, although unhelpful in the long term. It maybe useful to think about a time when you felt particularly stressed and/or overwhelmed - how did you respond? Are you able to identify any helpful actions/behaviours that you could benefit from in the future? 
 

A print friendly version of our ‘How do I cope now?’ worksheet is available to download, with the following worksheet provided as an example.

 

Step 2: My Self-Care Maintenance Plan
 

It’s all about YOU!  Our ‘My Self-Care Maintenance Plan’ Worksheet is split into 4 sections - Physical, Emotional, Social and Work (paid and unpaid) and provides a way for you to document the helpful things you can do on a regular basis to maintain positive wellbeing. It maybe worthwhile asking yourself…

  • What activities do I enjoy doing? 
  • IS THERE ANYTHING THAT I NEED TO DO LESS OF?
  • Do I live my life according to my values?
  • What do I appreciate in life?
  • What do I value in life?
  • How can I be kinder to myself?
  • What makes me happy? 
  • What would I like to do more of?

It may also be useful to look at your answers for the ‘How do I cope now?’ worksheet and ask yourself

  • Which helpful behaviours do I currently use and want to do more of?
  • Can I name any new helpful behaviours I’d like to use?
     

A print friendly version of our ‘My Self-Care Maintenance Plan’ worksheet is available to download, with the following worksheet provided as an example.

 

Step 3: My Emergency Self-Care Stress Plan
 

We understand that self-care needs during particularly stressful periods can be different from those required to maintain everyday positive wellbeing and that it can be difficult to think about the helpful things we can do when feeling overwhelmed. Our ‘Emergency Self-Care Stress Plan’ provides a way to document all the specific things that will help during future stressful periods, as well as being a reminder of who to contact for support. We urge anyone feeling stressed and distressed to visit our Staying Safe area on this website. 
 

A print friendly version of our ‘Emergency Self-Care Stress Plan’ worksheet is available to download, with the  following worksheet provided as an example.