Why self-care is not selfish

In the blink of an eye a new decade will shortly be upon us. Eek! Whilst we’ve managed to already tick off a lot of exciting projects on our ‘to-do’ list this year, there’s still a lot of things we have failed to get off our desk. And if conversations with our colleagues and clients are anything to go by, many of us are feeling a little weary and overwhelmed as we approach the festive season.

According to new research, 40% of Australians will be seeking a new job in the next 12 months and another 28% are undecided. But what’s driving them out the door? A quarter cited poor work life balance, with the research concluding many are on the brink of burnout.

This year saw the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising ‘burnout’ in its International Classification of Diseases. Announced at its annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, WHO defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. They characterised the condition as ‘feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy’. I’m sure many of us have experienced one or more of these at some time….

The CSIRO has also identified rising workplace stress and mental health issues as one of the top 6 megatrends to reshape workplace health and safety in the next 20 years. Given we spend a third of our life at work, fostering a mentally healthy workplace, including preventing employee burnout, will subsequently become even more critical for a high performing workplace into the future. Keen to delve further into this topic? Tune into some of our recent Wellness Wise™ webinars here.

What I’ve also learnt as a business owner and parent, is that self-care is not selfish. For small business owners in particular, there is often never an ‘off-switch’, and it takes concerted effort to disconnect. For myself, this includes spending time on my yoga mat, unknotting with a remedial massage, trekking a scenic new trail or catching up with a friend over a glass of Barossa Shiraz. Sometimes we also need to recognise that we need to ask for help.