The importance of self care.

At the heart of all of our courses is self-care, something I am passionate about and wholly believe in.

As its is Self Care Week, I started to reflect on the difference that self care makes, what it is all about and why it matters so much. I also started to think about whether I practice what I preach and prioritise my own self care. So, here are my thoughts.

A lot of the work we do is supporting parents. Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, self care is essential. The basic premise is that you can't care for other people until you can care for yourself and this has real logic to it. Those old cliches about 'you can't pour from an empty jug' are absolutely true. How can we keep giving when there is nothing left to give?

Our parenting support programme is based on nurture and boundaries but underpinning all of this is self-care because you can't implement these effectively unless you are valuing yourself and taking care of yourself. Often it feels unnatural to put yourself first, but frequently our own wants and needs are so far down the pecking order they fall off the bottom of the list. 

There is a wide evidence base that suggests that caring for yourself helps to maintain mental health and well being. I am not suggesting that you spend hours on this; on our course we do something called 'Take 3 breathing' which is three, simple, deep breaths. Its about the little things like having a soak in the bath, a 30 minute swim or reading a chapter of a book. This can be enough to help me feel better. It is very personal: thinking about what makes you tick, what makes you happy and what that little bit of self care can do to refresh and revive you. 

I am as guilty as most when it comes to making it a priority, but believe me when I don't do these things I really feel the difference at home and at work. It is small things that can make a big difference.

I challenge our learners every week to think about what they are going to do for themselves. So, going forward, it is my homework too. I need to see self care as part of my daily life. I know the difference that small steps can make and the fact we have a national Self Care Week to raise the profile really validates its importance. 

Katie is Director of Research, Learning and Engagement at BrightSparks.