Other Ailments #NotCovid
I was due to deliver a workshop about physical self care a couple of weeks ago but ironically had to postpone due to having a stinking cold type virus. It is well known that people working in the wellbeing industry can be notoriously bad at putting themselves first, instead, prioritising the needs of clients. It is not unusual for therapeutic practitioners to work unsocial hours to provide flexible services for those with commitments, which is true of most service providers who are small businesses.
Self care is a common theme in supervision and when talking with other wellbeing practitioners, redressing the balance is an ongoing process. Whether running a small business, being employed, or providing care for others, caring for ourselves doesn’t always get the appropriate level of focus or attention. Many of us are all too guilty of leaving ourselves at the back of the queue. This is not through any martyrdom or wilful neglect but just because of commitments and not enough hours in the day. I had identified I was running on fumes the previous week and made changes to my professional and personal diary to rectify this but unfortunately it seemed that the cold / virus was already in the post.
Of course, in today’s world the knee jerk reaction to even the slightest symptom has us reaching for a lateral flow test. I will hold my hands up to testing on a regular basis, for work purposes and also to satiate my fear of infection or infecting others. Rational beliefs tell us that a change in season often triggers coughs and colds, however our beliefs have changed as a result of Coronavirus. Given the amount of time spent in isolation and low exposure to common or garden bugs, it’s no small wonder other viruses are rife. There seems to be an urge to declare any cough as, “Not Covid.” A tickly cough now serves to clear a space within seconds. Covid has not gone away and neither have more serious pre-existing conditions and diseases. It is always prudent to be checked out if experiencing new, worrying or persistent symptoms. The temptation may be to ignore changes in the hope they will right themselves but early intervention in more serious conditions can be a game changer.
I also wonder if a lack or significant reduction in holidays and breaks away has played a part in susceptibility to illness. We recognise the benefits of time away from home in recharging and boosting our wellbeing and resilience. Time off from work and staycations have merit but often lends itself to using the time on jobs around the house, which is all well and good but not necessarily restorative for us.
Playing catch up with social gatherings, occasions and meet ups can also result in burning the candle at both ends, leaving us prone to all manner of poorlies, not unlike students experiencing “Freshers Flu.”
Self care for the body extends beyond what we eat and how much we exercise. The word ‘pamper’ suggests being indulged or spoiled, it feels wrong to classify self nurturing or self soothing as something so shallow and frivolous.
Treatments and complementary therapies can prove instrumental in boosting physical wellbeing and mental health. There are numerous inexpensive products out there that can be used at home, to allow a bit of “me” time. Valuing yourself enough to want to devote time to nurture yourself is not about vanity or decadence but one of many strategies to care for our bodies and improve self worth.
As part of our commitment to self care, my friend who is a counsellor, and I, have gifted ourselves a complementary therapy treatment instead of exchanging Christmas presents. In isolation this may not be a cure all but on the back of other efforts and strategies it feels like a deserved antidote.