One of my favourite quotes that surfaces around this time of year is this:
“Here’s to Strong Women – may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them”.
And whilst I absolutely believe this to be true, it is also important to recognise that there are also times when as women, we don’t feel so strong. Times, when our resolve and constant strive to stay and be strong, takes a hit, when one, or more, parts of our lives just don’t “play along nicely with others”!
Experiencing, managing and maintaining our work, family, friends, health (physical and mental), finance, spiritual and personal development can be a juggling act of epic proportion. Are we strong? Yes! But completely indestructible? No. Often, in the pursuit to keep all the balls in the air, it’s no secret that our needs often finish last.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #balanceisbetter. And whilst the theme is more centred around gender and the balance of the boardroom, our government, media coverage, employees, even the playground (of which we are 100% supportive!), at Mindstar we’ve taken a slightly different interpretation of the theme: to consider the concept of balance from a wellbeing perspective and how we can support you to look at ways to put yourself first.
To do this, the wonderful Women of Mindstar, which include some of our incredible psychologists, social workers, counsellors, wellbeing coaches and the team at Mindstar HQ, share their own tips, strategies and personal words of advice that help them practise self-care and maintain some balance.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the messages. These collective thoughts are full of practical ideas and taken from hours and hours of experience and conversations. No-one knows better than our Mindstar Professionals, that to truly look after others, you must also look after yourself!
Kali Lohman – Psychologist
As women, we’re often not very good at prioritising ourselves, but I’ve learned again and again over the years that when I don’t take care of myself, the people around me miss out as well. We all have different ways of nurturing ourselves and it’s a good idea to find out what works best for you. Personally, I’ve found I feel best when I prioritise my daily mindfulness meditation practice as well as many mindful moments throughout the day (such as full awareness of one single breath). I also make sure I include a variety of regular exercise (yoga, walking, running, gym) because that gives me energy and strength which feels good. When it feels overwhelming to get on board with all the things that we’re “meant” to do, just making a start with one thing that we know is good for us is really worthwhile. Good luck 🙂
Celine Jona – Mindstar Wellbeing Coach
“My number 1 tip for managing work/life balance is to schedule time in your calendar for self-care. On your busiest days you can schedule a shorter block (e.g. 10-15 minutes of quiet or wind-down time) and on less busy days you can schedule longer. Make sure whoever you live with is aware of your self-care time or pick a time when everyone is away or sleeping. Ensuring you stick to the time you schedule as it sets you up to prioritise you”.
Monica Ward – Clinical Social Worker
Prioritising self-care in the chaos of our lives is of utmost importance. If we don’t prioritise our own health and wellbeing, we are not able to bring our best to those who depend on us, both at home and at work. Schedule in some ‘me-time’ every single day- even if that means putting off some of the other ’not-so-essential’ tasks you have. ‘Me-time’ can be as simple allowing yourself to spend 20 minutes sitting at the beach watching the waves, or quietly sipping your cup of tea in your garden looking at the flowers. Allowing yourself to stop and take a break from your day is not selfish, it is essential. Give yourself permission to care for you, and you will see the benefits very quickly. Happy International Women’s Day!
Samantha McNulty – Mindstar Wellbeing Coach
Be kind to yourself, always. Life is hard, we don’t also need to be hard on ourselves. Meditation, gratitude, routine are all great ways to provide self-care & balance.
Julia Ford – Counsellor
I think as women we tend to focus too heavily on the idea of balance re “the work/life balance phenomenon”.
It sounds good in reality, but often our focus is zoned too heavily on attaining balance – which means we can spend our lives trying to maintain a juggling act.
It is sometimes more effective to keep things simple and get clinical.
At the end of each day note the “urgent” of what needs to be done – work through them and tick them off as the day goes on. At the end of the day pop whatever didn’t get done into the following days “priority” list just – keep it simple and ask for help if you can’t do it all alone. And lastly make sure you haven’t forgotten to include me time – which is perhaps the most important of all.
Candice Fenner – Mindstar Wellbeing Coach
We, as women, achieve amazing things within our workplace and career as a whole. It is so rewarding to strive toward our career aspirations and tick off goals along the way. However, we can easily lose a healthy work-life balance in our pursuits. It is so important to ensure we are putting time aside to nourish ourselves, friends and family. Remember, we cannot help others unless we help ourselves first!
Daniela Princi – Psychologist & Coach
My focus with myself & my clients is Self-Love ?. The relationship with our self, sets the tone for all other relationships, so it’s vital we take time daily to fill our own cups… when we are “overflowing”, we can give so much more to our loved ones & our careers.
Everything you do, do from a place of love for self- brushing your hair, putting moisturiser on, getting dressed & the clothing you choose… First, Love Yourself, and watch everything else flow ?
Jenna Scambler – Mindstar Wellbeing Coach
I think I am still learning what works best for me, but I like to tell myself that my work will be better if I am happy, healthy and rested. It seems to help put things into perspective and allow me the night/weekend off or convinces me that that gym class is worth it. I also have a cut off of no work past 7:00 pm and I try to stick to it every night.
Stephanie Kavali – Mindstar Wellbeing Relationship Manager
My number one tip, as simple and cliché as it sounds, is really making sure I get enough restful sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I really start to struggle to feel good about myself, impacts my ability to exercise regularly and of course manage my busy family work life demands!!! I try very hard to keep the basics working well, sleep well, exercise consistently, then everything else seems so much brighter and happier.
The Wrap Up
Whilst the message to “find time for yourself” is loud and clear, sometimes the reality of putting it into practise is a bit more difficult to do. Here are my top tips:
- Find a “self-care” accountability buddy to help you. Having a buddy to hit the gym, yoga session or take a walk is a great motivator.
- Schedule it in! Like any priority in your life, put it in your diary and treat it as a non-negotiable until it becomes a habit.
- Like any new goal you are trying to achieve or master, you are likely to be more successful if you have someone cheering you on. Ask your husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/flatmate for their support and tell them what you need (and why it’s important).
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If putting yourself first and practising self-care was easy, we’d all be doing it naturally. Seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Reach out to friends, family, mentors, trusted work colleagues and if you’d like to speak to one of our amazing professionals contact Mindstar.
Simply, let’s just start by empowering and encouraging each other to look at self-care as an absolute priority, not just a nicety or a nice to have!! We are strong alone, but we’re stronger together!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Khayt – Co-Founder & COO, Mindstar