Updated: Mar 10
Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection
We are taking a real honest look at self care together. We started last week, with the first part of the trilogy.
I have just toured the island of Ireland. One thing that jumped out as my most favourite aspect of Ireland was the culture of music and singing. On many occasions we would be in a pub (there’s one on every corner in Ireland) and a guitarist would be playing and singing. Out of the blue someone from the audience would get carried on the current of fun and harmony and would jump in with a mouth organ or flute, a drum or just their hands on the table. Enriched music with a whole new quality would flow. When musicians create music, they can’t have one of the musicians totally dominating the show, they have to play together, incorporating everyone’s input and responding to each other, for it to work. Sometimes one or other would take the front space at the mic’ and do a more individual piece, but overall it’s the sound that counts... the sum of all the instruments and contributions.
Work-life balance is exactly the same. For harmony and magic to occur, it’s vital to have all the domains of a full and balanced life, playing and making music together. It’s okay if one dominates for a time, but for the most part all need to integrate and harmonize together. It’s a worthwhile question to ask of yourself.... is work blasting forth so loudly, that its ruining the melody? Or family, or physical health and fitness for that matter?
In addition to this magical balance, there is a real need to establish a formal separation between work and your personal space. You can’t care for yourself when you are thinking about work at home, or home at work. Your mind needs to be where your body is and you need to be able to have all of your attention on whatever you are doing in any given moment. In addition, you need to be able to close down the work file on your way home and open the home file. Just like your computer, your brain “chunks” when too many files are demanding attention at the same time. A ritual that marks the demarcation for your brain and your spirit is vital. There needs to be a definite ending and new beginning between any new activity, so they don’t all bleed into each other creating a big blurry mess.
When travelling in Norway, we went right up to the freezing, dark-for-20-hours-a-day city of Tromso. What a fascinating place to visit! Talk about a different life! It was a huge adventure. One of the things that struck me up there is the "keep-the cold-and-snow-out-room", which acts as the entryway to every house. It’s a room with a big mat to wipe the ice off your shoes, a shoe rack to leave your outside shoes in and to house your house shoes, and lots of hooks to hang your wet jackets, hat and gloves. It also keeps the cold air out of the warm house and doesn’t allow a gust of freezing air to enter every time someone opens the door.
This is what we need in our lives. A metaphorical entryway. A place to transition and to leave the unwanted baggage for when we return to the world and a place where we can don our soft and comfortable things for home. What can make up an entryway for you? Can you consciously choose to leave your baggage in the transition room and not bring all the mess and clutter into your next meeting or into your home?
Remember : Self care in this day and age is a have to have, not a nice to have. You are worth it and if you don’t take care of you, someone else will have to!
Let us know what you think of this and of what we shared last week. We would love to hear if it has helped at all. Has it offered some assistance to you as you face the challenge of staying afloat in the sea of life?
Have a vitality and energy filled March!