Jane Morrell is the founder and CEO of Carer Solutions, Australia’s only service for directly employing disability support workers you know and trust.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care to me means being selfish.
I can appreciate that this isn’t a trait that many of us want to be known for, but there’s an exception. When it comes to both mental and physical health, I believe your entire being needs to be put front and centre, without compromise.
If I’m not at my best, then the ‘ripple effect’ is detrimental to how I operate as a leader. It can affect the clarity of my decision making, interactions with my team and customers and relationships with my friends and loved ones.
So, in this case, the only way to be selfless, is to be a little selfish.
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
“Remember to be a swan” is advice I’ve often heard over the years – an analogy used to stay calm and collected, no matter how hard you’re kicking under the surface.
I agree with this to a certain extent but it’s equally important to listen to your body when feeling stressed, as this could ultimately lead to burn out.
I know I’m feeling stressed when my mind feels chaotic and overwhelmed. I’ll lose focus and not be in the moment. At this stage, self-care is key. If I don’t manage this and allow it to escalate, then memory fog can kick in and my mind escalates into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
I sure do! There are some simple things I do at home, including allowing time for daily reflection and gratitude. It’s always important to remain grounded and put things into perspective.
If I’m dealing with something considerable, I journal it. There’s something about writing a challenge down that feels like an instant release! I also reflect on previous entries, which is good hindsight on how things can sometimes seem ‘bigger’ in the moment.
I also do Reformer Pilates 3 times a week. I don’t know where I would be without it; it’s my one hour of escape from everything and I feel completely transported. Maybe I need to go five days a week!
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
I tend to get ‘bumped off’ my routine when I become too attached to an outcome – something that is probably quite common for entrepreneurs or those working for purpose-led organisations.
At Carer Solutions, we work tirelessly to provide better outcomes for people living with disabilities. At times we can become increasingly frustrated with the bureaucracy that is still very present in our sector and it’s hard to let go. These are people’s lives we’re dealing with!
However, I constantly need to remind myself that I can’t always control things that can’t be controlled. Trying your best sometimes has to be enough, and this is where my daily reflection and journaling can get me back on track.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?
A simple one is just to remind yourself of your own worth and what you’ve achieved. However, I also seek inspiration from within my own network. Talking to my peers and hearing from other leaders can provide those little nuggets of gold which help advance my own personal reflection.
Books and Podcasts can also help – ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and ‘The Surrender Experiment’ by Michael A Singer are two of my favourites. Both are great reminders that we’re too often caught reliving the past or worrying about the future. They’ve really helped me to re-focus on the present and trust my gut.
And if you need a little more support, a life coach or cognitive behavioural therapy can be beneficial. Vulnerability is such a strength and I love that we’re starting to have more conversations. We invest in our physical health, so why wouldn’t we invest in our mental health too?
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