The Importance of Self Care – CC Version


ANNOUNCER:
Broadcast is now starting. All attendees are
in listen only mode. LIANNE:
And thanks to yourself
and Charity Village for partnering with me on this
really crucial topic today. It’s one that is obviously
creating a lot of excitement and a lot of worry
in the non-profit sector. So Marina, can you tell me how many people
registered for this webinar? MARINA:
Yes Lianne, we’ve actually hit
a record for Charity Village, so we have like almost
4,600 people registered for this session today. That’s incredible,
that is massive. LIANNE:
Yeah, so part of the reason for
saying that to everybody today is it’s not about me, I’m not quite that popular yet,
it is about the topic. And I just wanted to share that
and for Marina to share that because often in self-care
we kinda feel alone and we feel like we might be the only ones
not getting it right. And it’s not true,
as you can see. This is a hot topic, both for us as
individuals in the sector but also for organizations. So we’re gonna look at
both of those today, but we’re gonna focus a little bit more
on individuals to start. And my goal for this session is you’re probably not gonna
learn loads of new stuff, there might be some reframing or a couple of new ideas
you go away with, and that’s awesome. But honestly it’s a reminder
for us to commit to ourselves. So that’s what we’re gonna
focus a lot of our attention on, how do we do that? Ok so who am I, who’s this woman
talking to you about self-care? Well I’m basically
a lifelong helper type, I started volunteering
at the age of eight and I spent all of my career pretty much in the
non-profit sector. I was a frontline practitioner
for many years, and I’ve been an executive
director for almost 15 years. I’ve worked in
and led organizations in a range of different areas
of particularly human service, that’s been my area. So I’ve worked in homelessness, mental health,
youth engagement, volunteering, employment,
committee formation, name it
I’ve touched it probably. So nowadays though
I specialize in helping leaders
to be more inspiring, ’cause I think that’s crucial
for the survivor of the sector, both for retaining staff and gaining support
from stakeholders. And to be inspiring,
we have to feel good about ourselves
and our work. So I’m gonna tell you a
little bit about my journey. And my journey to get to the
place where I look after myself and have it as a priority
has been a long one, and it’s not a perfect one yet. And it will probably
never be a perfect one, so just to say that. But I’m hoping by
doing this webinar today, it won’t be as long for you. So I got my first real
experience with burnout about, I was a street worker
in Dublin, Ireland. Oh wait, not that
kind of street worker, I know what
you’re thinking, stop. No, my job involved going out
between 10pm and 2am on the streets of Dublin to engage and support
homeless young people. Now at that time,
Ireland found it difficult that youth homelessness
was an issue. And on any given
night in Dublin, there were a maximum of 12 beds
available in the whole city for kids who were
out on the street. Adding to that, young people
had to go to police stations where social workers
would choose the most vulnerable kids, which usually meant the youngest and young people could stay
for up to three nights. So what that meant that these
were only emergency bed places, that meant there were maybe only
5-6 available beds most nights. So there was literally nowhere for the other
young people to go. At the same time in Dublin there was a major
heroin problem. So young people who could not
find accommodation would often eventually end up
using or dealing or both. And in order to use, the young people
had to earn money, and they weren’t
working 9-5 gigs. So it was the saddest
situation I’ve ever worked in and previously I’d
worked in a night shelter in the centre of
London, England. I mean that was hard stuff,
but this was heartbreaking, I was working with
12-19 year olds who had nowhere to go
during the night. And they were continually
stuck in a cycle of addiction and vulnerability. I tell you, I went to probably
I think it was at least eight funerals that year
of young people in the two years I worked there. I was sad
and angry all the time, and angry at the system. Like this isn’t right,
but I had nowhere to put that. And so what happened was I started not looking
after myself well, I stopped caring
about my appearance. I didn’t take breaks, sometimes
I didn’t even take holidays ’cause I felt like it was my
duty to be there for those kids. It was only when my back went
and it really went, I ended up in an ambulance,
had to go to a hospital. I’ll tell you,
Irish nurses at the time. But anyway, that’s a
whole other story. But I had to take six months
off work to heal, it was that bad. And so I rested,
I exercised, I ate better. I took up painting
and starting studying again. I just focused on
myself and healing. Eventually I was
ready to work again, but I couldn’t face working or even living in
Ireland at that stage. Every time I went out, the young
people that I used to work with, they were out on the street, they were asking for cigarettes
or asking for money, it was really heartbreaking. So we ended up
moving back to England, and I took another job. And I kept on in the
non-profit sector, but that was the
toughest job I’ve ever had. And what I didn’t
realize at the time that I’d gone past burnout
and into depression. And so that took a lot longer
to heal than my back. Basically what happened was I essentially sacrificed
myself for the cause, and I had to find
my own way back to me. Now your story of
where you are at right now may not be as extreme,
or it might be, because there’s
a lot of you here, a lot of you working
in different ways and different sectors. But even if it’s not
as extreme as that, I wanted to share it
as an example of where we can end up when we don’t invest
in our own self-care. The bottom line is we cannot
be of service to anyone else if we’re not well ourselves. So what does
self-care actually mean? It’s actually
really really simple. It means to care for oneself! And as you can see, this dictionary definition
is super simple, but doing it when we work
in the non-profit sector is often not so easy. So why is
self-care so important? Again, it might seem obvious that we need to
look after ourselves, but we don’t necessarily do it. And it’s important
in all walks of life, I know lots of people in
different sectors who are stressed out
and we’ve got fast times now. But it’s even more
important in our sector and the reason why is because our work
requires that we care. Whatever kind of
non-profit you’re working in, you need to care about the cause and about the people
that you serve. And anyone who’s worked
with someone who’s burned out or is super stressed
all the time knows, and you know, you’ve probably
worked with someone this has happened to, the first thing
that goes is compassion. So we care less about
what we’re trying to do, we care less about the
people we work with, we care less
about the organization and ultimately
we care less about who we’re trying to help. And when employees
no longer care, that can have
a negative impact that spreads in
the organization. So self-care is
crucial for individuals but it’s also crucial
for organizations to ensure that
they meet their missions. I’m going to name
something here as well that has spread like a virus
as they say in every sector, but I find it particular
worry to me in our sector, the non-profit world. And I call it the badge of busy. So busy is a word that’s
used for every interaction now. So, how are you? Busy. What’s new? I’m so busy! How’s work? Busy! How are the kids? Busy. Hasn’t it gotten boring
to talk to people, ’cause when they say it
you have to say it too, how are you, I’m so busy,
oh yeah me too. And that’s the end of the
conversation, right, because where do
you go from there? And so what we need to do is
to set that busy badge down. And we need to stop celebrating,
and again I use a small c there because it’s not a celebration but we seem to celebrate
just how busy we are and talk about it all the time. So let’s set it down
and leave it behind. LIANNE:
Ok, so historically we have
framed self-care as kinda wellness programs or individual activities
that help us to relax. And those are important,
for sure. Massages are great,
yoga is awesome, I love taking naps,
I’m going to mention them quite a few times
probably in this webinar. But lemme give you
some corporate speak, which is really useful. You could make the case
to your boss if you want, you can say you know, it’s time for my
horizontal life pause. Seriously, they won’t
know what it is, and they might even say yes. So there you go, there’s some
corporate speak for you if naps feels too childlike. But anyway, these are practices that can and easily
get disrupted by our to-do list of air quote
“more important things”. So your massage
doesn’t seem that important when you’ve got a
client in front of you who’s telling you they have
nowhere to sleep that night. Or there’s a major
funding report due. All of a sudden
that goes off the list. So what we need
to do to support our investment
in these practices so that it’s not always that
kinda superficial decision that we’re actually working
towards something bigger, we need to develop
a self-care mindset. So here’s a list of things that
my self-care mindset involves. And I’m gonna go through
each one of them, so you can get a better sense
of what I’m saying with each. So the first one is
knowing who you are. Fundamentally the
self-care mindset starts there. You need to be able
to figure out what’s happening for you emotionally
and determine what you need, both in the moment
and over the long term. Self-care has kinda been sitting
out over here as in a thing to do
for quite some time. And we need to bring it back into what I call
the circle of self. So these three things,
self-awareness, self-reflection and self-care
need to work together in order for us to be truly
able to look after ourselves. So we’re gonna start
with self-awareness. This, as I said before, it’s the ability to
understand ourselves. As we mature,
we gain an understanding of our own personalities, our feelings,
how we relate to others. But this is also about knowing
what gives you energy, what takes away energy,
what triggers you emotionally. Sometimes it’s about knowing
what values you hold, and what you do when
they feel compromised. That’s a very, the activity of
what we do in work is stressful, but so are sometimes
the conditions in which we’re working and
the places we work in. Self-awareness helps us to be
more in tune with our own needs and know how to meet them. So I’m gonna
give you an example. For many years,
I thought I was an extrovert. I’ve always been comfortable
talking in front of a crowd, I can make small talk
like nobody’s business. Frontline practitioner here, I was the one out doing
outreach on a number of jobs. I can talk to anybody
and bring out the small talk. But I don’t, and I never have,
enjoyed parties. And I would get
exhausted after big events. And often I’d
beat myself up about it, when I’d cancel
social engagements ’cause I wanted to
stay in by myself. So you know, long day at work and I’d arranged to
go out with some friends and then I’d go
oh, I can’t make it. But when I learned about
introversion and about extroversion
and introversion, and this is just an example, but for me it was like a big
light switching on ’cause I didn’t realize that when you’re an extrovert
or an introvert that it’s about where
your energy comes from. It’s not about how
you behave necessarily, it’s about how you
get your energy. And when I understood that, I understood myself
so much better and realized that
I wasn’t an extrovert, I was actually an introvert
with some extrovert ability. And so that helped me
to understand who I was, and now I can make decisions about what I need
more effectively. So for example, I like
one to one interactions more than I like
group interaction. Unless I’m leading it, but I think that might be
a control issue and that might be
a whole other webinar. So but I know
that time to myself and rest after a big group
interaction are crucial for me. So I don’t plan too much after I’ve got done a
training session, for example. Knowing who I am and what I need
enables me to look after me and be mostly
guilt free about it. I still feel bad
when I cancel things, so sorry to all my mates,
but ultimately those moments, I know that I’m doing it
because I need it. So we’re gonna move on
to self-reflection. Self-reflection
involves the practice of checking in with ourselves. So how am I feeling, what is this reaction I’m having
to what that person said. What’s going on
for me right now? Self-reflection helps us
to better understand what’s happening
for us emotionally and gives us
a little planning time to deal with things better. So setting aside time each day for a little bit of
self-reflection and you could go for a walk, you could sit in the
park at lunchtime, close your office door,
close your eyes for a bit, maybe after a
tough conversation. It’s really important to turn
everything off and everyone off for a little while
and just listen to you. We’ve actually gotten
out of the habit of this, in a very big way, if we were ever
in the habit of this, but I like to think
that we were. But currently, the challenge
that we have around self-reflection is
we have so many things, we have an inundated email box, we’ve got a phone
that’s constantly beeping, we’re constantly
checking to see what somebody has to say to us. Life has changed and so often we don’t take the time
for self-reflection and that’s really
super important because how do you know
what you need, how do you know how to
take care of yourself, if you haven’t had a little
visit with yourself, if you haven’t had any time. It’s also really important too not just in terms of
kinda bad situations or it’s about ongoing pieces. But it’s also about
getting good insights into what you want from life. So on the weekends
I’ll often set aside 15-20 minutes just to dream. And it’s literally
just close my eyes and what do I want
from my life? And it may seem like a luxury, but if it does that means
you need to do it more! Because you visiting who you are and what you want is going to
help you better understand how you can
look after yourself. And that’s both
in tricky situations but also life in general. Ok, so self-reflection is also
about checking in with ourselves about the bigger picture stuff. So life isn’t this
smooth sailing thing, right. Like things happen in
our lives that impact us, it’s not just about work. So even though we’re talking
about the non-profit sector, life happens outside. So we have often
challenging work in the sector, but we also have life events
that impact us. And ongoing stress and challenging life
or work events, those things in the background
might make us more likely to react in a deeper way
than we might have before. So if we’re living
with a low level of anger and something happens at work, if we’re not aware that we’re living with a
low level of anger, maybe we’re having
trouble with our partner, maybe our child’s
teacher is terrible and causing us to
stress all the time. Who knows,
but something happens at work and then we snap
and we overreact. So self-reflection
on an ongoing basis to check in with yourself
is super important. But what helps me is thinking
about this as my iceberg. So if you think about
having an iceberg so if you look at the picture, at the top part is
what everybody sees, and the bottom part is what
you’re dragging along behind you that nobody sees. So when you overreact,
they can’t see the iceberg, they don’t know it’s there. And so then you’re kinda in an
even more challenging situation because it’s hard for you
to be able to explain why, you might not even know. That’s why self-reflection
is really super important, so that you know
what’s going on for you. So again, I’m gonna give you
an example from my life. So part of this is I wanna share
some of my self-care failure stories for you, to learn from. I have learned from them also
and I have overcome them, so don’t worry,
I’m not going to cry here. But I think it’s
really important for us to, I am a storyteller so I
wanna share some stories. Anyway, a number of years ago
I took a job at a new city. And I moved there
with my four year old son and I’d split up with his dad. And so I was not only
going through a breakup, but I moved to a new place
where I had no support network, and I had a little kid that
was totally freaked out by the changing circumstances. And I didn’t do
anywhere near enough self-reflection
during this time, and as a result
the job did not go well. Now it could be argued
in times of crisis, survival is more
important and yeah, I made it through. You know what,
in a way whatever, these things happen. But when you’re in it,
it’s super horrible. And also leaves you feeling
like a feeling of failure when things don’t go well. But what was happening was I was failing to make
the connection between what I was feeling personally
and how I was performing and what I was
feeling about my job. So I was angry
a lot of the time, I was wandering around with a fairly big iceberg
of anger and stress. And then I couldn’t
communicate effectively with some key people. I had a board of directors and I didn’t have
a lot of patience, let’s just say it that way. And I was just angry and I didn’t
put myself over well and I wasn’t necessarily
making the best decisions. I still did a good job
in a lot of ways, but it didn’t
work out in the end because I had not built up the relationships
that I needed to. And I put that
down to my iceberg, I was dragging it around, it was a huge
iceberg at the time. And so now I
forgive myself for that, but I also make a point of checking in regularly
on my iceberg. And again it might
sound a bit silly, but sometimes we just need
a little analogy and hopefully this will
help you, it’s like ok, what is my iceberg
looking like these days? And you can chip away
at making it smaller when you do check in and see what’s happening
for you regularly. So what you’re not doing is
building up a reactive kind of anger, stress, whatever is going to erupt
inappropriately in times when you don’t need it to. And that’s part of self-care too
because representing ourselves how we wanna be
seen in the world is looking after ourselves. But also it’s not necessary
often for that to happen. And if it does,
so be it, move on, say you’re sorry
move on, whatever. But for you
and on a general basis and for us as humans, if we know what’s
going on for us we can handle ourselves better. Ok, so the next mindset piece
is to focus on your big picture. When we are stressed
on an ongoing basis, every little thing
can have an impact on how we feel about ourselves,
about others, about our work, it’s easy, we get set off easy. So it’s really important
for us to carry with us, and this is a mindset shift because if we can shift from day
to day drama to big picture, it can help us through
those times of drama or times of challenge, ’cause otherwise the little
things start adding up. So for example,
if your mission in life is to help seniors
feel less lonely, and that’s what
you’re working in, that’s my passion
and that’s what I wanna do. You can focus on that when
you’re getting irritated by the
little stuff around you, either at home or at work. So you can just
check in and kinda go ok, this is irritating, but I’m still on track to help
seniors feel less lonely. So making choices
about who and what you will do in your life that relates to a mission
or to your mission is really super important. And a good question
you can ask is does this moment make
a difference to my mission? If it doesn’t,
you can leave it behind. If it does, it’s something
to work through or work on or whatever,
it’s important. But if it’s not then mentally
you can leave it behind. And by the way, just because
we’re non-profit types doesn’t mean we abandon
big pictures for ourselves. We may not have a big
passion or a big mission, that’s a big misnomer that
somehow we all wake up and have the
passion for something and we spend our life doing it. Sometimes that is the case, sometimes we’re taking on a job
’cause it sounded good and yeah, I like helping kids do this
or I like working with seniors, and that’s cool, that’s ok. But it is really important
for us all to have a big picture of our own life because that is also what will carry us through
challenging job situations, or little things that
happen at work, it’ll help us
build our relationships. So make sure you have a personal
big picture for your life. And I’m gonna go into
artsy fartsy world right now and I’m going to tell you that creating a vision board has
been really helpful to me. And normally
I’m not crafty at all, I don’t do this kind of stuff. But I went to some leadership
training a few years ago at the Banff Leadership Centre. By the way, they do scholarships
so have a look at their site and sometimes you get training,
it’s really amazing. But one of the things we did
was created a vision board. And I found it really helpful to
help me check in and see if I’m on track or if I’m getting distracted
by things that don’t matter. It’s really easy to make, you get some pictures
that tell the story of things you want in life, you put them on a piece of paper
and you put it on your wall. If you’re super crafty,
you can draw, use magazines, you can create
a collage kinda thing. I’m not super crafty so I just
did it on the computer. But it’s been
really helpful to me in times of stress
or indecision. So have a think about what do you want
from your life overall, and it’s not about stuff. Just a little hint there,
it’s not about stuff, it’s about how you wanna feel, it’s about maybe what
you wanna accomplish or maybe what you want
from life in general. So just a little tip
if you have a chance, create yourself a vision board and keep it handy so
you can check in on yourself. It really helps move
through the small stuff. Ok, this is where some of you may click “Leave”
in the webinar. I’m sorry, please don’t go,
hear me out, hear me out. We need to
check our martyr status in terms of our mindset
and looking after ourselves. So how many times,
when people ask what you do, do they say oh, aren’t you
wonderful for doing that? Isn’t that marvellous? Oh, you must be so caring! Right, like it
happens all the time, to a point where
I stop telling people ’cause I got
a little embarrassed. I’m just, oh my goodness. But it feels nice, of course,
of course it feels nice. It’s good to have
that recognition. Add to that a continual
slam at work all the time helping others or
fighting to protect the Earth or whatever you’re doing to make the world
a better place. And it’s really hard
not to feel like a martyr. It’s really hard not to feel
like we are giving ourselves or sacrificing
ourselves somehow. And I think that’s
particularly true on payday when we look at
our bank accounts and we see that all of that work
and all of that effort and all of that
emotional investment hasn’t landed us a great
big paycheque necessarily. So and again, that’s real. So I’m not joking about that, but there’s a piece
that says ooh, I do so much for so little. And we complain about,
and not everybody does but I’ve heard it a lot
and I’ve joined in sometimes, I really work hard not to but there’s a piece
around you know, we don’t get paid the big bucks
to do really tough work, we don’t necessarily
get recognition. Nobody is really thanking us
every single day necessarily, especially if you’re working
either in climate change where there are not
a lot of little wins to be had, we have to have a big win there,
same with homelessness. We sometimes have clients
who will say thank you, but often they won’t
because you know what, they’re in desperate situations. They went and got
some food and that’s great but they still don’t have
somewhere to sleep. Like there’s a whole piece there
about we don’t necessarily have ongoing appreciation
for the stuff that we do. And we do complain about it,
we say stuff like nobody else would do this job
for this amount of money, nobody knows how hard it is,
if only they, and I’m not sure who “they” are but we say this
for so many things. But if we continually
approach our days feeling like we’re
making a sacrifice. We generate a need for
other people to appreciate us. And then we get upset when
people don’t seem to be showing the appreciation
that we think they should be. And we make our
very generous sacrifice and sometimes
we make less money, sometimes we
give more time, sometimes we don’t sleep well, sometimes we
give up our lunch breaks, sometimes we don’t go to
our daughter’s soccer game because we have a client. We give up things all the time. And when you do,
that builds and contributes to ongoing stress
and can create burnout. It also impacts relationships
at home and at work, and they can deteriorate. So especially with, and I found myself
doing this sometimes, going home and my kid won’t eat
his dinner and the classic “Do you know how many kids
don’t get to have food tonight?” You know, he’s not
the most receptive to that or graceous about it and he says the same thing
that I used to say, which is well then
give them my food! But anyway,
but that’s the piece right is that we’re
constantly aware that there are other folks
who have less and that we need to
do more to help them. And I do think it’s
really important that we have to be careful not to
jump into that martyr place where we are feeling
like we are sacrificing. So that’s why I say check
your martyr status regularly ’cause you’re also getting
stuff from the job, right. You’re getting satisfaction, there are a lot of
corporate folks sitting in cubicles who would
desperately love to come and do the kind of
work that we’re doing. Now they don’t know
the reality of it, but they think it’s wonderful,
we get to help people, we get to have an impact
beyond making money. So there’s a lot of stuff
we do get from it. But if you start thinking
of your work as a sacrifice, shift that mindset. Or, if you’re
doing it regularly, you may wanna think about
another line of work, or to move into an
administration role if you’re frontline
or something because it does infect
everybody else, you have to be really careful. And we see a lot of this happens
with leaders sometimes who have been in a role
for a very long time and their pay grade
hasn’t stayed the same as a lot of new leaders
or they built up kinda a 20 year history
of sacrificing themselves. And it’s a hard story
to follow, right, it doesn’t feel inspiring,
it’s not useful. But you need to look after you. And so if we think back to my
story about my work in Dublin, it’s a really good example
of where being a martyr and sacrificing your own health
doesn’t help anyone anyway. The young people I worked
with lost a really great worker, I was really good at that job. And I cared about them. Ok, are you all still here? Yeah, you haven’t left,
thank you! I hope that resonated with you,
it’s a tough one and we don’t talk
about it much. But again, in terms of mindset, we don’t need to
sacrifice ourselves. Ok and so part of that is about
having compassion for ourselves. So often people
working in the sector have a huge sense of
compassion for others. We care about animals,
we care about the Earth. But too often, we give
all that compassion away and don’t keep any for us. And you are as
important as the people or the cause you’re helping. I’m gonna say that again, you are as important as the people or cause
you are helping. Write it down
and repeat it to yourself when it’s needed. It’s really important
that you treat yourself the way you treat others. So when you think of
yourself as just as important, and as deserving of
care as anyone else, that’s the mindset that will
foster better self-care. You are important too, and again that will lead to you
being able to help others. It’s kinda a weird oxymoron, but the more compassion
you have for yourself, the more care
you have for yourself, the more kinda of a full bucket
you have to share with others. When we run empty,
we can’t help anybody else. Ok, again this seems
pretty obvious. Um, finding your joy
is important. But when we’re too busy, and sacrificing ourselves
for the cause, we lose track of
what brings us joy. We might not even know anymore. Similar to self-compassion, your joy is as important
as that of others. So a lot of us aim
to create joy, create a better life for others, to help them create a
better life for themselves. Well the same needs
to be true for us. And the good news is joy
doesn’t have to be a big thing. It’s finding the little things, the little moments
and treasuring them. Again, you know
this already, I’m sure. But I’m just trying to remind us because feeling joyful is one of
the most important things we can do in our self-care because it elevates our bodies,
our minds, our hearts, it elevates our mood
all the time. And like I said, it doesn’t
have to be big things. For example, I love
watching my dog run and play with other dogs. We walk in the woods
in an off leash thing and I listen to the birds,
he runs around and it’s a moment of joy
that I just hold on to. And to the extent that
I do it now in the mornings and I try and
do it at night too. So again, I’ve gotten
better in terms of trying to structure my day
so I find those moments. So again it’s not a big thing but you just
need to take the time and make the
commitment to look for it. I also suggest
you need to do it at work. What gives you joy about
the work that you do? If your answer is nothing,
like seriously nothing, you might say that jokingly
but if it’s seriously nothing, it’s time to go
do something else. I know that’s harsh, but, we have 35-40 hours that
we might be working, if not up to 50 sometimes, that’s a long time to
spend doing something where we find no
joy whatsoever. It’s a long time. So try and come up
with a few things and write them down
and try and do them more often. As a leader,
here’s a tip for leaders. I always ask people
what they love to do, and I organize their
workload around that. And guess what, they’re highly
productive and highly energetic. And so this is also
partly why as individuals we need to know
what our joy looks like within our work because then you can advocate
for doing more of it. It’s really super important. LIANNE:
Ok, now we’re gonna talk about
some self-care strategies. So as mentioned earlier, self-care strategies
are the practice of looking after ourselves, whether that’s eating better,
going to yoga, having horizontal life pauses,
remember this term, seriously, it’s so good. It’s about making a
commitment to ourselves and bringing that
commitment to life regularly. So having the mindset
is super important and then having
the strategies in place and knowing what it is
you’re going to do to look after yourself
is also super important. Because when we feel energized
and refreshed and replenished, we do a much better job
of helping others. So I liken the
self-care strategies to putting on your oxygen
mask first on the airplane. If you can’t
breathe comfortably, you cannot help anyone else. And that’s a theme
I know all the way through, but remember this part is for
you to be able to be helpful and of service to others. Your comfort needs to be there, you need to be breathing
and caring for you. So I’m gonna talk about
a few different strategies, but the fun is finding out
what works for you, and/or you already know it
and commit to it again. There’s never just
one thing, by the way. Having multiple ways to look
after yourself is important. So the first one
is take time outs. Time outs are not
the same as breaks, breaks are important and I would
say that super important because we just don’t
take them anymore. Many years ago I did smoke, sorry I’m coming out
and saying that. But what I would do is because
I smoked I would take breaks. So I would go out
and have my break, it would be 15 minutes, I would chat to my colleagues
and take time out. And then when I stopped smoking
I stopped taking breaks, because I didn’t
feel the need anymore. So they are super important
and please do take them, even 15 minutes just to walk
around makes a difference. But time outs are self-imposed, I’m completely signing off
and not thinking about work. And so time out from work is again you need to
clear the brain, clear your mind
and do something else. So take a day off to read,
take a week off, go for an adventure, or take a year off
to learn photography. I know a number of people
who have done these things, and some people actually take,
and we have it for our teachers, after five years of service
they can take a paid sabbatical. Now they earn more than
we do in the non-profit sector, but you could think about
an unpaid sabbatical. And again, luxurious
if you have the money, all of that kind of stuff,
I get it. But I’m just
throwing it out there that there are often options that we may not
have thought about. And so taking a time out,
like I say whether it’s a day, whether it’s an hour even,
but it’s super important because when you do this you go
back to work refreshed. And so it does mean,
and again you already know this, it means not
looking at your email, it means turning off
talking to your colleagues, it means maybe not even
going on social media. You’re taking a time
out just for you. And self check-ins. Again, when we’re super busy,
running fast all day long, we don’t do this often. Self check-ins are super
important when it comes to reflection and determining
what you need. So how am I feeling,
am I enjoying my work, do I need to take a break. They’re also helpful for when we have emotional breakdowns
or challenging situations. So check in and see
what’s happening for you, ’cause only then will you know
what the best route is forward. So this allows you a little bit
of time and a little bit of ok, what will I do next? I’ve already mentioned naps and horizontal
life pauses several times, I probably can’t
say it too much. Can you tell it’s my
favourite self-care strategy? But I wanted to bring up, we also need to
sleep well at night. And make sure you
get enough rest and I’m talking about
rested mind too. So switch off work at night
and give your brain a break. There’s a really good book
by Arianna Huffington, she was the CEO
and a founder of Huff Post, and she’s written actually
a couple of books, one called “Thrive”
and another one on sleep and she’s got a whole mission
around helping people know that sleep is a
massive thing for you to be able to really look
after yourselves better and present more effectively
in the workplace too. This one is a tough
one for many of us, but asking for help
is massive, it’s big, we have to learn how to do this. We just have to get over our
kinda egos about it I think. And I say this with
many years of experience of not asking for help. We think it makes us look weak, it actually makes us
look stronger and it helps us
do a better job. If you’re feeling overwhelmed,
chronically stressed or you even have
an inkling that you’re feeling any of these, ask for help at work
from your boss, from your colleagues. Sometimes you have
access to benefits that have wellness
services attached. It may also just be
not be a massive thing, it may just be
I’m having trouble with this situation
with a client or I’m having trouble with this situation
with a colleague. Just a very active
asking for help helps you identify
that you need it. And that’s sometimes
the most important part of being able to work through it. When we deny that it’s happening or deny to ourselves
that we need help, then we’re not dealing with it
and it’s sitting with us. It’s a massive contribution to
why we feel overwhelmed and why we feel stressed is we’re kinda feeding
the iceberg, right, rather than dealing
with the iceberg. So you may need to
reduce your workload or you may need
help from the colleague to work through
a difficult issue with a client for example. But don’t do it alone. You don’t need to
do this work alone, especially if you’re struggling. And again, obvious, and we talked about
finding your joy, but again this is
the thing that goes first when we feel we have
too many things to do. So and I have actually talked to
people and particularly leaders who I work with these days, but I also remember I was
the same for a long time. And there was a point where I
was kinda worried about this, where when people say
what do you enjoy doing? And I didn’t know anymore. When I was younger
I could give you a list, but because I worked so much and put so much time
into my cause or the workplace I was in, I didn’t know
what I enjoyed anymore because I’d work all day,
go home tired, make some dinner,
throw something on, whatever, and then
sit in front of the TV. And sure I could
say I enjoyed that and I’m not saying that’s bad because a good night
of Netflix is awesome. But sometimes we forget that there are other things
that we love to do. So I started reading again,
I thought oh I love reading, I’ve always loved reading, but I didn’t read
a book for probably a year because I just forgot
that I loved doing it and I didn’t prioritize it. So again it’s really obvious but when we’re stressed
or burning out, we stop doing things we enjoy and we can end up
in a really bad spiral towards depression
or other mental health issues. So do make sure you’re identifying the things
you like to do. And then this is a big one,
which is being grateful. And again, you’ve probably seen a lot of people
talking about this but this one
took me a little while to get into as well. I was a little
suspicious of the idea that having gratitude
can make us happier, but now I believe in it fully. It’s partly about mindset but
it’s also about a practice. So what I do is every night I
go to bed and I write down five things before I go to sleep that
I’ve grateful for from the day. They’re often small things,
but I do at least five. You could do it in the morning,
set yourself up for the day too. But the reason why it works for
me is that I do my five things I’m grateful for, I’m not
thinking about the five things I didn’t get done
and going to sleep that way. So I sleep a lot better. So give it a go
for a couple weeks, see if it works for you. So as you can see, the three elements feed
into the circle of self. You need to know
what your needs are, you need to practice
self-reflection to know when
you need something. And then you need to know what
it is that helps you feel better so that you can
meet those needs. On an ongoing basis,
self-compassion, knowing how to find your joy, are really key to
looking after yourself. Ok, so I’m thinking some of you
are going well that’s all great, but what about organizations? And my organization
doesn’t even give me time. So here are some strategies
for organizations as well. Self-care is an
individual responsibility, but organizations play a
significant role in whether and how we’re able
to do it while we’re at work. So if you say ok, doing yoga, I’m gonna do yoga
every day at lunch, and the culture
of your organization is nobody leaves their desks because the boss
doesn’t leave their desk and so everybody else
stays at their desk and you get up
and take your yoga mat, everybody is looking at you. Now good for you if you’re brave
enough to go through all that, but not everybody is. So it’s just really super
important for us to understand and for organizations and leaders to understand that we do have
a responsibility. We are employers, and we have a responsibility
for our employees’ physical and mental health. So what we need to do is to
foster a culture of self-care. Organizations, we care. Like a non-profit is set up
because they care about people. But sadly, sometimes we sacrifice our employees
for the cause or we create environments that
make people feel like they can’t take a break because
there’s just so much to do, there’s so many
people to help and they have much worse
situations than you do. So just keep going, eh? When I think about my
organization in Dublin, and it was a long time ago, but it really should have had
more in place for support when it had people
going out late at night working with kids in what was
an impossible situation. There were so many nights
that I stayed out all night with vulnerable kids
’cause they had nowhere to go. I went off the clock
and just hung with them. Not by myself,
there were two of us, but you know the organization
really needed to buck up in terms of understanding
the stress and the strain of the kind of work
we were doing. And the reality is that
a lot of the work that we’re doing is systemic,
or it’s longterm. So yes we often have people
in front of us who need things, but our organizations are not
gonna solve global warming or eradicate homelessness
within the next year. Our missions are long haul, so our organizations really do need to focus on
the big picture and calm down
that sense of urgency that’s constant in our
organizations right now, it’s like we’re frantic. And they need to
focus on the big picture because this is a long game. And so if we all burn out
all our people that care, and we use up all the people
with skills and talent and they go
and work somewhere else because they’re too tired
or too frustrated or too burnt out,
what do we have left? So the other part of it is,
as I said before, we don’t pay the big
bucks in our sector, but we can offer better
conditions for our people. So in a lot of
different countries, a much higher number of
holidays are offered. It’s recognized that
people need to take time out, and it’s the law. And non-profits figure it out,
so we can do the same thing here and get our people
refreshed and reenergized. We can also stand down
from our need to see bums on seats
in the office all the time, could have flexible schedules, opportunities for people to
take breaks, take time off. We also need to be organizations that promote reflection
rather than reaction. This sense of
urgency and insecurity is keeping us in reacting
mode all the time. And as organizations
but also as a sector, and the big one is
lead by example. Leaders, please stop saying
how busy you are, please stop telling your people
you worked all weekend and haven’t slept for 542 days. Please stop, enough. If you’re not
taking breaks or holidays or you haven’t made it to your daughter’s soccer practice
because of work, you’re telling your staff that
you expect them to do the same. Your people watch you for clues as to how they should
behave at work, so as leaders we need
to model self-care. And here’s a hint, you will be
better at the job too, you will be much
happier in your work. And so when organizations foster a culture of
self-care and support, and support employees by
ensuring they are treated well, and that they’re not
chronically overworked, they provide better services. And that’s a win
for the organization, a win for employees,
a win for funders and owners, and very importantly ’cause
they’re all important elements, as I said, it’s a win for
those being served. Happy employees mean
happy customers or clients, and that’s better for our
clients and our communities. Ok, so your homework, you will have gotten or you will get a bit
of homework from me. So I thought it would be
important to help you start putting what we
talked about in action, there’s nothing worse
than going to training and leaving it there and
not doing anything about it. So hopefully you’ve got
one or two good ideas that you can put into practice. But I’ve also
given you an exercise called the self-care
strategic plan. And this is what it looks like, and basically it’s
a really simple tool I created for my online
leadership course, I do a course for new
and aspiring leaders, but it’s a useful
exercise for everybody. Now if you see, I’ve only put
in a couple strategies for each because it’s not meant
to overwhelm you. The self-care strategic plan
should not stress you out! This is a tool for you to
write down some things and put it on your wall, put it in your phone, put it up in your office at home or in your living
room or wherever, so that when you’re
feeling overwhelmed or you’re feeling stressed, one of the most difficult
things for us to do is to actually figure out
what to do. So this is your plan in advance, and it will help you to
kinda have some strategies you can grab to right away. It’s also just a really
nice piece to have this kind of reflection. So give the plan a go
and see how you feel after a couple of months. Ok, I’ve gone through
a lot of stuff there, a lot of information
I’ve thrown at you. But just wondering
if there’s any questions. Marina, I think you guys
have been monitoring the chat? MARINA:
We have, and there
have been lots of questions. I wanna thank you again Lianne
for sharing your stories because I think what’s
really important in a session like this is for
folks who are struggling with this aspect
to recognize that they are not alone and we do have a lot of other
folks on the call today that are also
struggling with this. So appreciate your
personal insight there Lianne. LIANNE:
Thank you. MARINA:
Let’s get started with something that you were
touching on a little bit at the end with leadership. We’ve had a number
of questions come in about when you’re working
for a leader who doesn’t seem to
prioritize self-care, do you have some tips on how you can still incorporate
it in your work life and perhaps model better
self-care strategies for the rest of the team
and even your leader? LIANNE:
Great question, always the one because
when your leader isn’t doing it then like I said it’s hard
to have the train. A couple things,
one is find a self-care buddy. So if you have a colleague, so if you’re a team leader
or if you’re a frontline worker, if you have somebody that’s
in a similar position to you or maybe even a group of you, who kinda can say you know what,
we’re kinda burning out, we’re stressed, we’re gonna
look after ourselves. Have a self-care buddy
or a self-care group that can just focus on it
for themselves so that when, if the culture isn’t there
then you’re kinda creating a new culture for yourself
’cause ultimately a leader… leaders follow too. We always think
that they’re the ones, and they are often in charge and may have created a culture
but often we follow others, we follow good ideas. So if you can kinda put yourself
out there and just start. And again it may be
just taking your break, and saying I’m going, and saying
it rather than not a question, I’m going for a 15 minute break,
I’ll see you in a bit. So again, modelling it yourself
’cause leadership, it’s a small L,
it’s everybody is a leader, they don’t all have to
be a titled leader but you can be a
leader in terms of your own self
and your colleagues. So a couple things,
one is to affirm your own right, take breaks and have your lunch and to buck up against
the culture if you need to. And then two,
get strength in groups. So have a self-care buddy who you both go out
for a walk together. Honestly, other
people will follow. Or get a group of you
together who kinda commit to it. The danger is it turns into
kinda a meh meh meh, kinda complaining session,
so stay focused on, this is about self-care
and feeling better, it’s not about complaining
about what’s going on ’cause that often
is what happens. So assert your needs and do it, and just ignore
the raised eyebrows. And get strength in a group. MARINA:
Wonderful, and we’ve had
quite a few questions come in on a couple of points that we’d like you
to repeat Lianne. One is I believe you were referring to the
training opportunities at the Banff Leadership Centre
in Banff, Alberta. LIANNE:
Yeah, so in Banff they do
leadership sponsorships for people in non-profit,
who work in non-profit. So if you go to the
Banff Leadership website, I don’t have it in front of me, but if you go there you can see the different
leadership programs, and they often provide
like I say sponsorships. I think a few years ago
there was one for youth, there was one for general,
I don’t know that it’s changed. But all of their
leadership programs, and again small l, it’s not about
necessarily your title, it may also be about you just
want to learn about how to lead. But a lot of the
programs in Banff are reflective and help you
develop some good practices for self-development
and self-reflection, all of that kinda stuff. So highly recommend. MARINA:
Wonderful, I’ve put that link in the Chat box there
for anyone that’s interested. And I’ve been there myself
as well and I have to say, they have an
absolutely beautiful facility. So if you ever get a chance
to get up there, go for it. LIANNE:
It’s amazing. MARINA:
The other thing I wanted
to repeat is that that handout that
Lianne talked about, the self-care strategic plan, you will get a link to that,
a PDF download, in the email
that you get tomorrow with all of
the other materials. So you will be able
to download that and print it off to use. Ok Lianne, let’s continue on. Tips for finding your joy? LIANNE:
Yeah, good question. I think the piece around
that is to be open to it and that it is a solo affair. You may have joy
doing things with others, but to start
really it’s about you. I was sometimes bad about oh,
what do you wanna do, oh what do you wanna do? And so I spent a lot of time
not knowing what brought me joy. So there’s something
about recognizing what does it feel like
when you feel joy, and often it’s that kinda
sense of excitement. So when you’re at work,
what excites you, like what gets you jazzed
up and you’re like oh, you feel like you could
move a mountain. And again it’s hard because if
the culture in your organization is not built on
asking that question, doing what you love and what brings you
joy in your work, then it can be challenging. But that’s why we need to
develop it individually. And so my tips
are be open to it, so again that’s where
we often are not, we are like this is work,
this is just a job, whatever. Or the opposite, which is I’m
not allowed to feel joy because other
people are starving and there are hungry children and there are people
who don’t have homes, so it’s not okay
for me to feel joy. So my second tip, one is to be open to it
and two is to commit to it, that you are just as important, your joy in your life
is just as important. We only have one, so being committed to
the fact that you’re allowed joy despite the hard work,
you’re allowed. Third I would like I say just
watch out for those feelings, when does that feeling of
excitement and can’t wait, when does that occur? Write it down,
what’s going on at work that you feel excited about? And like I said if you don’t
feel excited about anything, then you need to move on ’cause life is way too short and there are
plenty of non-profits that have cultures that
kinda bring in that aspect. And then also at home, so again it’s not
all about work, it’s kinda again
paying attention to what you love doing,
what feels good. Ultimately the question
is what feels good, right? So that’s the piece that
you need to look out for. Again if things don’t feel
good a lot of the time, then you might not be well. So that’s happened to me a
couple times where I found it
hard to experience joy because I was depressed
or I was too stressed. So if you can’t find anything,
get some help, talk to somebody. MARINA:
Thank you, that’s such a
great point as well. Ok so on that topic also
you spoke a little bit about structuring your work around
what you love to do. Can you talk a little bit more about what that might look like
on a daily basis? LIANNE:
Yeah, and again
it’s a tough one because a lot of
people don’t have necessarily the choice about
what their work looks like. But if don’t know
what you enjoy doing and what you love doing, then you can’t
ask for it either. So on one side like I say,
as a leader, I ask people what they love. And job descriptions
are important but you can move things around and I’ve seen people do jobs
where I look and go wow, you do this like
2/3 of the time but you do this 1/3
of the time and you love it, I’m gonna move you over here! So from a
leadership perspective, the more people love
what they’re doing the better quality
work they provide. What I would say
is as an employee you don’t have to
love everything you do, there’s stuff
I have to do I don’t like, I don’t love the
admin side, all of that. But because I love most
of what I do it’s ok. So for employees it’s kinda like figuring out what it is
that I love doing, what am I really good at,
what am I getting from here. And either talking
to your supervisor or your ED or whoever it is and
say you know what, I really love doing this stuff,
can I do more of it? But you have to find it first,
can I do more? And I’m just gonna
say it straight out, and if you can’t find it there, go find a new job
that has those things because again,
doing what you love, that is the biggest form
of self-care in work. MARINA:
And we are running up on time but we are gonna
just keeping going for a couple more questions
just so that we can fit in as many as we can here. So if you have to run,
we are recording and you will get that
recording tomorrow and it will include
the full Q&A. Lianne, how can we start
reframing the martyr status? (laughing) LIANNE:
I’m just gonna
put up my thank you, ’cause I see
some folks are leaving, so I wanna say thank you
to you all for coming. And if you need to
connect with me, here’s the information. Not need to, if you want to,
I’m happy to hear from you. Reframing the martyr status I think is
ultimately recognizing, and I used to talk
about this in volunteering a lot and I used to
get in a lot of trouble where in volunteering, this was many years ago, I was in a particular
volunteering situation where a lot of the people
that volunteered would turn up
and they’d be like oh, we’re just so amazing for sacrificing our time
and that we’re here! And I would say you know, you get as much out of
this as you’re giving. And I got in trouble
for saying that, but it’s true. And it’s the same
with this kind of work, we’re getting as much
as we’re giving. And if we’re not getting
as much as we’re giving then we need to
balance that out. And that’s when the martyr
status kinda comes in, ’cause we’re kinda like
oh now I’m sacrificing. Well you shouldn’t be
sacrificing anything and actually this work is not about
giving ourselves for others, we can find… at the end of the day when
you go home and somebody has
got a bed or somebody, a kid has been fed or the
world is a little greener, or you had a great concert
in your arts program, you feel good about that. And so rather than
looking for the place where we feel like
we’re giving up something, we need to think about
what we’re getting. And we get a lot. Like I said, a lot of times
it’s not the big bucks, but money is money. But we do get a lot if
we’re looking for it. MARINA:
That’s very
important to remember. Now this is something that
I think all of us are aware of, but we didn’t touch on it
too much today. So maybe as a bit of a reminder, can we talk a little bit
about our cellphones, our smartphones, our tablets,
our social media, and what your suggestions are in terms of how that relates
to self-care as well and the need to
take some time-outs. LIANNE:
Yeah, that would
relate to the time-out, and you’re right,
we didn’t talk about it loads and partly because I could go on and on
about it for hours. Turn off, and it’s
easier said than done, I know, but ultimately turn off. I find myself, and especially when we were working
social justice or like at the moment
it’s really super hard to be on Facebook for me. It’s not even,
a lot of the stuff that’s going on down south, and it’s not even
my own country, a lot of the stuff that’s
happening that I find myself and I can feel it getting
more and more wound up, more and more upset. And it’s only because I looked
at my screen for a few minutes and found out stuff that I, it was hard and I
have to deal with it. So previously
you had to receive a letter or you had to get a phone call or you had to watch the news
at 6:00 to see stuff. It was contained, whereas now
it’s just there all the time, and that’s why the
time-out is so important, it’s about turning off
and kinda recognizing. So in terms of
self-care one of the things that we do I think
with social media is that we feel like
we have to be available all the time for
everything and everybody. You don’t. You just don’t,
and I think with time we’re figuring that
out a bit better and we’re moving on. So like in France there’s a law, people cannot be expected to
email back after hours. We’re starting to
figure that out, but on an individual basis
I think we just have to commit to the idea that screens are not making us
happy all the time, and that we’re not
gonna find our joy there. I love going on Facebook and seeing what my friends
have been up to, but when I spend too much time
there I lose my own time. I don’t have my time
to read a book or do something else. So I think it is
a matter of self-discipline, but I also think that it’s hard because we do
have an expectation. If I text somebody I still kinda
have an expectation to get a text back right away,
and I need to set that down too. So we need to also
be kinder to others, and kinda say yeah, no problem, you’re busy doing things
you like, that’s cool. So I think both, set it down
and help others do that too. MARINA:
Awesome, and our last question for today relating
to the iceberg. So when you notice that you’re
carrying around your iceberg, maybe you finally kinda
get that self-awareness, what are some tips
to get beyond that? LIANNE:
Right, so I think just noticing
it is one of the big things. And I would say,
and this sounds a bit silly but it’s like how
heavy is it, how big is it? And so if your iceberg
is just little, and you’re like
oh just these few things, you can live with that. You’ve got a great big
iceberg behind you, you’ve got some stuff
to work on. And so it’s about
thinking about again getting help if you need it,
in terms of maybe it’s therapy, maybe it’s talking to others, but mostly it’s about just
recognizing what’s there, ’cause the iceberg grows
without us seeing it. So and just back to my example,
of course I was stressed, of course I was upset. I had just split up
with my partner, I had moved cities,
changed jobs, I mean how much do you wanna
do to yourself at one time? So a little tip, maybe don’t wanna do
all those things at once. So prevention is doing things
in a more sensible order like I did not do. But life happens, so I think
it’s also the prevention piece, a lot of the stuff
around this self-care will help prevent
building the iceberg which is literally the
self-reflection part is massive because it just, if we kinda nip it before it
grows and we deal with it. So it might be, and I’m talking
about the little stuff there. But if you’ve
had a grief situation or you’ve had
something really terrible or you’ve had an accident
or things like that, your iceberg is gonna be big
and it’s kinda accepting that and thinking about well
how am I gonna chip away at it, how am I gonna
help myself feel better? So continue looking
for ways to identify what’s happening for yourself and ways to help you feel
better will chip away at it. MARINA:
That’s right, and I think certainly what you
touched on before about never being
afraid to ask for help, and in some cases maybe
asking for professional help as well is a good thing to do. So great, and well
thank you so much Lianne. This was such an important topic and I’m glad that we had you
here presenting on this today. We’ve had so many
people join in so it’s clearly something
we need to be talking more about
in this sector. So thank you for being here. LIANNE:
Well thank you very much
for the opportunity and thanks
everybody for tuning in and having the conversation
is really fun. MARINA:
And before we sign off today
I just wanna remind you all, we are gonna
follow up by email tomorrow with the webinar recording. If you would like to, of course you can share that
with anyone that you like, we do make those
publicly available so feel free to forward that
to any of your colleagues that might benefit from
the presentation as well. There’s also gonna be
a short survey that will take you less than
five minutes to fill out. So please do complete that
for us if you can, you will have an
opportunity there also to let us know if
there’s other topics you’d like to see covered
in a future session. And we’re gonna
be continuing our free Day In The Life series
of webinars on May 31st, we’re gonna welcome back
presenter Eileen Chadnick for a presentation
on how to improve your assertiveness at work, which certainly plays into the
self-care piece as well. We’re gonna send
registration information for that session in
tomorrow’s email as well in case you are interested. So thank you again
everyone for joining us, I hope you all have a
wonderful rest of your day. Bye bye!

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