Let's Talk: Self-care at Work

With Cathy Bailey


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It’s so important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. We work in a culture where we’re always on the go. There are more demands on our time and there’s always a constant pressure to be seen as performing.

Forgetting to look after yourself and neglecting your self-care can lead to a deterioration in your well-being, which can increase symptoms of stress, anxiety or even burnout.

In this Let’s Talk interview, expert Cathy Bailey discusses the topic of self-care and how it can help to maintain a healthy version of you. She talks about the importance of taking time out to look after yourself and why you need to be in a good place to thrive both in your career and at home.

The good news is that she's not going to tell you to start jogging or meditating every morning (unless that’s what you’re into, of course). Instead, she talks about how we all have our own coping mechanisms to get us through foggy moments. It’s about working out what works for you.


    Watch this interview to hear her discuss:

    • Self awareness, and how it can help you identify triggers or red flags
    • Why you need to look after yourself before you can be effective for others
    • Everybody is different: how stress manifests itself in different ways
    • Self-care tips including things you can do whilst you’re at your desk

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Aimee: Hi, I'm Aimee Bateman founder of Careercake. Today, I'm talking to Cathy Bailey who is the founder of Office Om, which is an organisation that focuses and helps people on their wellbeing at work. So, I've known you for quite some time and I have loved you from the moment I met you. So, thank you so much for being here and doing this. We're going to be talking about self-care today, which I know is something that you're really passionate about, I'm really passionate about. So, let's just talk about self-care at work and what people can do in order to look after themselves a lot more. So firstly, how would you sum up self-care if somebody was new to the concept?

Cathy: So, I think it is so important and we'll be talking about that I know. Self-care is looking after yourself and it's not rocket science, it's very simple concepts that we don't always do. Even though it's important, even though it's simple, we don't always do it. But it can make such a difference to how we feel. It’s so important.

Aimee:  So, let's talk about why it's important. Why should we all be feeling and putting ourselves first; feeling like we can put ourselves first. Because a lot of people think that they can't - they think that self-care is selfish, don't they?

Cathy: Absolutely. I think it can have that negative side to it and so people think if they put themselves first - if they spend time looking after themselves - then they're selfish or narcissistic or they’re arrogant or it means that they’re a bad person cause they're looking after themselves. But actually, I think it’s the total flip. I think unless we look after ourselves, unless we make sure that we're full up, unless we do the things we need to do to look after ourselves, then we can't help others. We can't do our work. We're not as productive. You know, it's so important that we're in a good place.

Aimee: Self-care is actually the opposite of selfishness. Self-care is the most selfless thing you can do. Like you said, you can't give anything if you're empty. We were watching the Oprah video earlier, she's got that famous quote where she says that - when people used to say that I was full of myself, I used to think “Oh” but now I take it as a compliment. Yes, I'm full of myself and because I love myself and I'm full, my cup is full, I'm able to be the best version of myself for you. And you can only help those around you when you feel good yourself. What kind of things in our day to day, specifically around work, can happen to us that could make us feel a little bit low?

Cathy: There’s so much, isn’t there, from day to day? Just day to day life can be so stressful. There's always more to do. No one ever says, “Why don’t you just stop, put that task down, ignore your emails for a day, just look after yourself?” No‑one ever says that. And why would they? Because to be productive, for businesses to do well, we need to do the jobs; we need to do the work. And that can really add a pressure and I think our culture, our lifestyle is just go, go, go, go, go. There's always more notifications, there's always more emails, there's always more jobs and always more demands on our time. And lots of pressure, I think especially with social media, it's not just what you're doing in work, but also that pressure, that time outside of work has to look good and it's just a constant source of stress, or it can be.

Aimee: You’ve just got to be on all the time even when you at home - I'm wearing my bed cardigan today if anybody's watching this - I thought I'm not doing a video on self-care and being cold. So, I'm putting my house cardigan on which doesn't normally see the light of day, but I thought that we're doing self-care so I can put it on. We're always so busy trying to fix things - be something for someone else - a wife, a mother, the best boss, the best employee that sometimes we can get a bit ….

Cathy: Absolutely. And we can't do that stuff unless we look after ourselves. You know, I can't look after my kids, I can’t go to work, I can't run a business unless I’m in a good place. As soon as I stop doing the stuff I need to do to be in a good place, my business suffers, my family suffers, my relationship, my friends suffer. I need to be in a good place to do all those things.