By Catherine Nitelet-Vedder, Wellness Educator
We all know we have to make ourselves a priority, but we don’t always know-how. As a manager and leader, you need to be on top of your game. Your employees need you at your finest and unless you are invested in your self-care, you won’t have the best to offer. But what does taking care of yourself really mean and how can you realistically integrate it into your life and your career?
It’s about making yourself a priority and recharging your mind and body by doing things you really love, without forcing yourself. People who regularly practice effective self-care are often less depressed, less anxious, more energetic and report having a healthier and happier relationships than those who are not. Understand that there are different types of personal care. Self-care can happen on a physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual level. All of these are important, but you don’t have to focus on all of them at once.
Start with the basics
You may have a lot of ideas about how to invest in personal care but if you try to incorporate too much at once, you will set yourself up for failure. Instead, pick a few basics like giving yourself more time in the morning to workout, to walk your dog or to enjoy your coffee while everyone else in your house is still asleep. As these things become routine, slowly add a few things.
Things you don’t want to do anymore…
Start with the area that feels most exhausting to you. Make a list of the things you no longer want to do. These could be things that you just don’t have time for, that are counterproductive to your goals or things that someone else can easily take care of. Try to say “No” more often. The world won’t end if you do so, and you might even find that other people respect your time in the process.
Put your health first!
You don’t have to go crazy, just eat a healthy diet, get fresh air, exercise a little, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. Avoid stress as it’s extremely harmful to your health. Ask yourself what you could do to reduce stress in your life. Is it asking your boss for more flexibility or to stop working on weekends? Asking your partner for more help around the house? Talking to a therapist who can help you learn ways to deal with stress productively? Reducing stress is often the first step in helping everything else fall into place.
Be present in the moment
Finally, work to be fully aware, which essentially means being present in the moment. Spend time with those you love and truly be with them when you do. Immerse yourself fully in the experience of doing the things you love and when you start to feel overwhelmed, keep this in mind too. It will help you recognize your limits and set boundaries for healthy self-care.