7/52: Be good to yourself
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to head up to Victoria's high country and go cycling. It's an annual pilgrimage I make with a dozen or so guys (yes, we're #MAMILS) and we dine, cycle, dine, cycle, dine and then head back to Melbourne. I love it! Don't get me wrong, cycling up hills like Mt Buffalo and Mt Hotham is not easy, but it's so good for the soul. With two young kids, a wife, a household to help run, and many other commitments in life, getting away for a social weekend required me to be just a little bit selfish (Thank you Mrs Downes 😘).
In my first blog this year I talked about my two 2020 BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals):- the Rip Swim and the 3 Peaks cycling event (4 weeks to go!). Both of these endeavours require a significant commitment to training, some time away from family and from work, and a fair bit of hard, physical work.
So, why do it?
Because the journey is the real reward for me. Unlike many athletes, I'm never going to win one of these big events. However, the training weekends away, the time with mates, my improved fitness and physique, and most importantly the mental health benefits mean that it's 100% worth it. For me, it's really a strategy to cope with the challenges life tends to throws at you. Some other benefits of self-care include:
Greater capacity to manage stress
Reduced symptoms of mental health problems
Warning! Get buy-in first.
If you've just read this and suddenly decided you'll sign up to your own BHAG, then I recommend you get buy-in from the people who will bear the brunt of your absence. In my case, I really needed the support of my wife. We discussed the time commitments needed to tackle these challenges and the sacrifices it would put on her time before I signed up. In the same way, I'm looking forward to offering her support as she tackles her own goals and interests.
Whatever stage of life you are in and whatever your interests, I encourage you to focus just a little bit on yourself. You don't need a BHAG to make time for yourself, other ways may include:
Getting more sleep
Learning to say no
Scheduling time for yourself regularly
Pre-booking a concert, show, movie, holiday, etc
Leaving work on time
Whilst my goals are physical, they could easily be art, a building project, music or any other personal interest - the point is, it's all about me and the benefits of being good to myself. Selfish, right?
I really believe 'looking after me' requires just a little bit of selfishness, and that's a good thing.
Side Note / Blatant Plug:
Looking for an opportunity to be good to yourself?
The truly wonderful Mrs Downes (aka Tamsin West) and I will be performing together this Thursday 13th Feb 2020 at the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne. 6:30-9:30pm - come along if you like jazz...and being good to yourself 😉.