Katrina Thorpe explores the benefits of nurturing ourselves above all else – and how smart employers are supporting their staff on the journey.
It is said that ‘guilt is a wasted emotion’ and I must agree, when it comes to spending time on the things that give us pleasure.
Why do we feel so guilty when we spend time on ourselves, doing what we enjoy, especially when we know it’s essential to our mental health and wellbeing?
Surely taking time to improve or maintain our wellbeing should be a matter of course. Something to be proud of, boast about, rather than it being an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
Even the word ‘guilty’ stirs something inside me and others I have asked. It’s a word that resonates within, yet we find it so hard to shift from our mind when spending time on ourselves.
We decide what makes us feel guilty. Yes, others may instigate the feeling but ultimately, we accept the emotion and often manifest it. Guilty for taking time for simple pleasures that we all know restore our body, mind and soul.
So why do we feel guilty?
According to Ashley Eder, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor “we are surrounded by overt and covert messages that encourage us to minimise our own needs and feel guilty when we engage in self-care.”
It’s also considered that taking time for yourself, leaves less time for others.
However, regular selfcare is a necessity if you are going to have the energy to care for others, along with work commitments and all the other duties we have to fulfil in life.
One theory from Ashley is to “think of care as a finite resource, like money in the bank,” she says. “You can’t give more than you have without bankrupting yourself.”
This basically means, if we don’t spend time on restoring ourselves, we risk burnout – and we can all relate to this. Coming back from burnout is harder and more detrimental on our mind and body than maintaining our health in the first place.
Basically, if you change your mindset by telling yourself and others ‘I do this for me, so that I can do better for myself and others.’
Be committed to self-care as essential and non-negotiable because it’s not the same as being spoilt, pampered or self-indulgent – it’s a necessity to restore our energy bank account.
Another way to flip the guilt feelings, is to realise that you deserve the time for selfcare. You earn it and it’s essential for your wellbeing.
Rewarding staff with wellness activities is fast becoming the most popular way of providing recognition to employees for doing a great job, reaching targets or goals. The flipside to this is research showing that employees who spend time on selfcare are more productive than those who don’t practice selfcare activities.
Companies are now rewarding their staff with gym, yoga and pilates memberships, gift vouchers for Day Spas and activities such as surf or kayak lessons.
It’s an investment in their employee’s mental, physical and emotional health, offering better outcomes for the employees and business whilst supporting the growth of local businesses to deliver the services.
Workplace wellness also projects a positive message that ‘wellness time’ is a priority and not indulgent pampering and an accepted way of managing work life balance and therefore a mind-set shift that will soon become the new norm, rather than a guilty pleasure.