Today, evidence is pointing to an essential skill ripe to add to your leadership toolkit: self care. Leading is hard work, especially so during these times. Although often viewed as a luxury, balanced self-care is more important than ever for leaders and managers up to the C-suite for peak performance.
As we enter the third year of a pandemic, some of the early upheaval in the office may have begun to settle. Yet a new constant has become learning how to manage ever-present flux and ongoing uncertainty. To meet the challenges, leaders focus on performance, and achievement which often require hard work, long hours and grit as a professional necessity. This can have a significant impact on health, well-being and personal lives.
SELF CARE AS AN ESSENTIAL PROFESSIONAL SKILL
Let’s start with debunking some limiting beliefs about self care. Far from being self-indulgent or weak, it has become more mainstream. That means it’s on the minds of your staff and many of your peers. ‘Between 2019 and 2020, Google Search Trends shows a 250% increase in self-care related searches…Men and women of all age ranges.’
Search data suggests people are moving on from simply exploring the topic to taking action, ie: buying different products, eating differently, and practicing new ways to exercise, recreate and relax.
Forbes Magazine recently tackled the topic, saying, ‘Let’s be clear on what self-care is and what it’s not. Self-care is not selfish, but a necessary lifestyle practice for good health. It isn’t just something you do to recover from illness or crisis, but is also preventive and proactive. It’s a way to value and love yourself, but also demonstrate to others that you care to show up at your best for them, personally and professionally. Consistent self-care practice is what sustains our energy and motivation to keep moving through life successfully, and it is a tool of resilience to help us through the hard times.’
And I agree – besides reaping infinite personal benefits, you will set an example for staff and even clients about bringing your best to the table.
HOW TO ADD SELF CARE
Here are some things to consider:
TIME: We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet some use it better. Though we each have different situations, you can create more time by identifying where you waste it – and instead put that toward things that will actually create more energy, clarity, strength, humor and grounding. You’ll find guidance on How to Find More Time in January’s Blog.
PRIORITIES: Practicing self care helps you identify what’s important to you. Knowing your priorities can inspire you to let go of your time wasters, or make different choices to replace them with what truly supports and excites you. November’s blog will get you clear on who and what really matters to you.
CHANGE: Self care will help you achieve more. What could you stop, start, or do differently to improve your mental and physical health? If you were to advise your best friend on this, what would you suggest about self care? Now try that on for yourself.
VISION: I invite you to take a moment RIGHT NOW to shut your eyes (yes, literally!) and envision yourself eating better, exercising regularly, getting good sleep, having fun and spending fulfilling time with the people who matter most into your life.
ENVISION A LEVELED UP LIFE
If you began to add self care in this way, how different would your life be? How would you feel physically? How would your most important relationships be enhanced? Would your outlook shift for the better?
And how much better would you perform at work?
I rest my case.
Self care is no longer a luxury. You can start anytime and make progress in increments on the road to finding what will work. Even very small changes, employed consistently, can make a tangible difference.
The very fact that you’ve read this means you’ve already begun!
You’ll reap countless rewards from personal self care. Adding it to your leadership toolkit will not only be leading by example, but facilitate your peak performance!
If you would like support in working through how adding self care to your life, and in your role as a leader, this is what I do best. Reach out and let’s talk.