What does it really mean, to put yourself first?

What does it really mean, to put yourself first?

I’ve been off grid this month.

My Dads been sick, like, intensive care on a ventilator for weeks kind of sick. Pneumonia followed by Septecemia.

I honestly thought we’d lose him.

It felt like someone pressed stop on my world.

He’s not out of the woods yet, but I’m feeling a bit more human and my brain is firing up better! I’m writing here, and now, because family trumps work, hands down.

I’m truly thankful to my boss (also me) who quickly recognised I needed time out, to relieve myself of pressures that could wait.

I focused on ME.

Hospital visits were only at certain times, so couldn’t be there the whole time anyway. My “energy” is generally good; I eat well, get rest, prioritise sleep and keep up with exercise. This meant I was in the best shape to “be there” for him. As time froze though, it became really obvious that there was a risk to those strengths.

Not one to lose my appetite but that was one period in my life that it really happened. I had to work hard to keep the good stuff coming in. On feeling myself questioning “whats the point?” I recognised I needed to do something. It took a real stretch of my mental strength to remind myself that I’m no use to anyone if I am malnourished, tired or exhausted.

The only thing I could liken it to, is when we get nauseous or faint because of a shock. All the blood rushes to the source of injury (be that a physical one, or to the brain as it rushes to process information received). It leaves the stomach, and many other parts of the body, to deal with the “incident”. It forgets the rest of the body needs it, and ultimately, the rest of it.

Replay this as if you are looking after someone else or maybe its your day job, caring for other people. If all your “blood” keeps rushing to them, and you are not paying attention to that, there is a risk that soon, you won’t be able to function.

Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Self-Care Coaching

“Putting me first” is not selfish, its a necessity. It doesn’t have to be big things. Keep it simple;

  • prioritise sleep (even if you are struggling, focus on the wind down before bed)
  • eat well (avoid stimulants to keep you going e.g. sugar, caffeine, alcohol)
  • keep moving (even if its short walks around the block)
  • take breaks and find ways to “leave work at work”

I wrote a more detailed post about Energy, so do take a read of that.

Some words of thanks…

So many people either offered help or normalised my need to step back. Make sure to reach out to those around you. Staying connected, however uncomfortable it may feel sharing your feelings really will provide a cathartic outlet.

The incredible staff at the Queen Elizabeth, Kings Lynn need a shout out. Every single person there make that hospital run like clockwork. Particularly of course, the expert Intensive Care Unit teams and Tilney ward. I owe Dads life to all of you.

A note on stress…

We’re beginning to think part of the cause was that Dad was under too much pressure. He’s retired, but enjoys so many things, he’d ended up taking on too much. It’s a stark reminder that no matter how much we love what we do, it’s still possible to overdo it.

Pressure comes in different forms (and can be real as well as perceived) to what we traditionally see as “work”, and we can’t just put it aside to “go to work”. I’m certainly not the only person facing this, I am sure many people have family issues going on, or other things taking your focus.

Put your own oxygen mask on, before tending to others. Self-care is not selfish, it’s survival.

Sheela Hobden

Give yourself permission to put your basic needs first, so you are in the best place to help others that need you.

EDIT: January 2021 Reporting Dad as fit and healthy, fully recovered, even cycling a few miles a day.

Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching.  Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences.  She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients!  She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified.She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman.  Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset

Get more ideas and tips by joining her newsletter tribe – sign up below!

How is your energy?  Need a power up?

How is your energy? Need a power up?

The end of the year is nigh.

Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Energy Coaching Recharging

Are you virtually on your knees, soldiering on, counting down the minutes to the festive break?

Is the candle wick almost catching itself in the middle from the end of year deadlines and frolics of parties?

Ah the dream on the other side…lay-ins, movie days, drifting from kitchen to sofa, from family to friends, feasting on not needed indulgent food and drink, no agendas, to forget which day it is, to simply switch off from it all…

Determined to get through, we soldier on. Just a few more days.

Let’s really just hope we’re not ill over the holidays (like last year or the year before?!), so we can enjoy our break right?

This is the second post in the WRAW series – a reflection on the energy pillar.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to do things here; there is a way that works for each of us, individually and it is really important that we know what those things are. At this time of year we feel like we don’t even know what energy is, so I thought it a great time to reflect on what we want to carry on doing, ditch, or do differently going into 2019. It was the strongest for me personally from my WRAW Index, so I have reviewed what I am doing that is working well and share that. It reminded me of the things I need to stick to and hopefully opens up ideas for you to try. The subsections for the Energy pillar are: Activity, Healthy Consumption, Sleep and Boundaries.

Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Boundaries

Boundaries

I have specific set times when I don’t work. I give it back to myself at another time if forced to dip into that space. For most, this could be not working weekends or late nights. If you do that, how often do you take time back, by going in late, or taking a half day as time in lieu? “If only” I hear you cry! However, if you don’t, how are you protecting your rest time? If you think its your employer that wouldn’t let you do that, have you asked them? Do they even know you worked the weekend, or worked late?

  • Plan your day in advance, so you know what you can fit in, make any compromises rationally
  • Think and review the “impact” – what happens if you do, what happens if you don’t in relation to prioritising those tasks.
Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Activity and Movement Coaching

Activity

Here’s my chance to shout about my Ironman exploits! I completed the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile marathon in 2017, whilst working full time. We don’t all need to do this! (Damn right you say!). During training, I was in tip top condition, physically, and mentally. The mental challenge was as important at the physical. I wrote about the benefits it brought to the workplace. I don’t go at it so hard now, various injuries got me. Consistency is key. I stick to what I say I will do, however I feel, or how much time I (think) I don’t have!

  • Find something you enjoy
  • Find the time (of day and duration that works for you)
  • Keep your promise to yourself
  • Keep really close to how you feel, and how productive you are as a result
Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Healthy Consumption Coaching

Healthy Consumption

I haven’t drunk caffeine for about 15 years now, and if I accidentally have it, I certainly feel it impacting on my anxiety, through increased heart rate and de-hydration. This year, I cut my alcohol intake to virtually zero. I read that it is not the calories we need to worry about, but what your body is NOT doing once you’ve consumed alcohol. It might feel like you’re all relaxed, and that’s true, it is a muscle relaxant. However, what we don’t see is how hard the body is working, to cleanse from it (it is a toxin after all!). A bit like a swan, looking calm above water, with crazy feet paddling out of sight underneath, using up vital energy, often just to stay still. For nutrition, I have tried most food plans, and concluded that there is no one size fits all.

  • Natural food is a good method, keeping away from highly processed items and, everything in moderation
  • A 2% drop in hydration results in a 20% drop in productivity, so keep that water bottle handy!
Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com Sleep Coaching

Sleep – This is the one chance in the day our body gets to process everything that has happened since we woke, as well as rest and recover. I am an early to bed, early to rise person, but you may be opposite. They key is allowing ourselves that recovery time.

  • If you don’t sleep well, work out what you can do to improve it, or at least, build in extra rest time in the evening before you go to sleep
  • Get consistent over your bedtime
  • Find the amount of rest and sleep time you need to function effectively, and stick to it
  • Set your “media” limits and know your rationale for using them

EDIT – I have since written a more detailed post on Sleep, please do check it out.

Whilst the festive season may test your ability to try out some of these tips, you can start small. Which of the above could you try right now? Each small change we make will add up to great results overall!Then, let us start planning how you will implement more for 2019. Good luck!

Sheela Hobden www.bluegreencoaching.com

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching.  Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences.  She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients!  She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified.She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman.  Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset

Get more ideas and tips by joining her newsletter tribe – sign up below!