There is an old saying in insurance and business – “pay yourself first.”
Recently the same concept has been presented as “work life balance.” You are more effective at work if you also take a balanced approach to recreation and other forms of self-care.
In first aid, it comes out as “don’t make any more victims” - “personal safety comes first.” Which points out that if you do not slow down and check for personal safety you might make the task harder for the next person who comes to help because you are now a new victim who needs help and you are not available to help with the other victims.
Each of these sayings are hinting at the same foundational concept that suggests that life will go better for us when we put the time into us – so we are ready and able to help or engage with others.
At The Compass Rose, we believe that a happy and effective life starts with taking the time to top up your personal resources by engaging in relevant and effective self-care. This looks different for each person. Some of us need more quiet time to recuperate from the ravages of our hectic daily lives, for others we need more support for our minds or our bodies so they function better. Problems like anxiety, depression, fatigue / sleep problems or relationship stress will, if left unchecked or untreated, lead to more complex problems. These may indeed require more work and time to fix than if we started working on them earlier in the process and kept our minds and bodies recharged so we had the resources and supports to cope with new challenges as they arise.
However, one constant that never changes is that if you do not put the time in you will not get the results. Sometimes we have problems with the idea of sitting quietly and meditating as a worthwhile use of time. For others it is that a float therapy session or a massage feels like unnecessary pampering which we will only “give in” to if we have spare time or we feel we have earned the reward. But nothing could be further from the truth. An old British Navy saying that has fallen out of fashion is that “all work and no play make jack a dull boy.” To decode this saying you need to know that “Jack” was the short form of the name “Jack Tar” which described the sailors who used tar on their hands to get a better grip while running around in the rigging. It was a difficult and dangerous job that required great strength, dexterity, and focus. Therefore, this warning was aimed at Captains. It remind them that if you didn’t give your sailors time off “on the beach” you not only would have an unhappy crew but they would be “dull”(unimaginative or less focused) which would make the job more dangerous, the sailor would be less effective doing his job, and the whole ship would suffer from mistakes and costly errors in judgement.
Today, we need to take care to update this advice for ourselves. Take the time for self-care – it pays!