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Self-Care is not Self-ish. Monday November 10, 2014

To care is a basic human instinct: We care. It doesn't matter if we're the care giver or care receiver, care is beneficial. It's a mental (IQ), emotional (EQ), physical (PQ) and spiritual (SQ) lubricant that enhances personal, family and organisational performance. It increases adaptability and resilience. It's the glue that holds relationships together.

Think about how much easier it is to put in extra hours doing what you really care about. And how much quicker it is to adjust to unpleasant or unexpected circumstances when you perceive your environment as caring. And how much more patient and tolerant you are with the people you care for.

Care even impacts on your health. A single, 5 minute episode of sincere care can increase *IgA levels, the body's first line of defence against infection. Maybe even your first line of mental defence against depression?

On the other hand, consider what happens when you don't care: Maybe you procrastinate; or you simply don't do it. And if you do, it becomes drudgery, like metal on metal. Here's the rub. That 'I don't care' attitude not only compromises performance, it creates stress in your system and can actually reduce IgA levels.

So here's a stress reduction tip: Take a care inventory. First, make a 'care' list: The people, places and things you care for and about. And notice how you feel.

Next, make a second 'needs more care' list: Those need-to-do activities, projects, co-workers, etc. you have difficulty with. Feel any different?

Pick one you think will make a difference, take a deep breath and remember something from your first list - someone or something you care about or a time when someone extended care to you. Feel the care for a minute or two. Then ask yourself how you can add more care to the situation. You may be surprised.

If nothing else, you've stopped the drain and boosted your IgA.

And that's the most important thing of all - and it's not self-ish - its self-care!

If you are not healthy and happy, your ability to care for others in the way that you want to, will proportionately reduce!

Do you care enough for others, to firstly care enough for yourself?

And importantly - do you care for yourself enough, to move away and even out of situations, relationships or employment that adds stress, lowers you IgA levels and thus makes you more vulnerable for anxiety and illness?

What are you going to do today to show and feel care?

Les
A Moodscope member.

* Immunoglobulins, such as IgA, are a key part of your body's immune system. When healthy, this system effectively neutralises foreign threats. However, low levels of immunoglobulins can indicate the presence of chronic infections, diseases or cancer. When necessary, your doctor can use a simple blood test to confirm whether your IgA levels are at the appropriate levels.


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Comments

Anonymous Mon, Nov 10th 2014 @ 9:41am

Brilliogs, Les, thank you. I do care, a lot, for family, friends and neighbours, but often have difficulty accepting care from others when I need it...and probably need it most. K ??

Anonymous Mon, Nov 10th 2014 @ 11:51am

Very well written and informative as ever Les; thank-you;

It has taken me years to learn this; I wonder whether such awareness for the need for self-care comes later in life, particularly for working mums having so many balls to juggle; it is one thing to understand this rationally; but quite a different thing to find how to put it into practice ... maybe I am just a slow learner!

I have just decided to make time for a walk this afternoon and am hoping that this will mean I work more effectively in the meantime ...

Thank-you again for sharing your knowledge and wisdom which I always appreciate reading.

Frankie

Julia Tue, Nov 11th 2014 @ 9:11am

I think a lack of caring from others or caring for yourself is definitely a precursor to mental ill health. The immune system is affected as you say Les. Mine was. I put up a barrier and didn't allow people in to care for me and I didn't care for myself. That has changed for the most part now.

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