Self-Care is Crucial for Long-Term Success
LEADERSHIPS STRESS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE
If you’ve ever taken leadership classes or worked with an executive coach in the past, you probably participated in some sort of leadership assessments, which likely didn't include the topic of self-care and instead evaluated your competency in areas such as:
- Financial Acumen
- Political Savvy
- Building Effective Teams
- Influencing and Negotiating
- Strategic Thinking
- Leading Change
- Stakeholder Management
The Competency of Taking Care of You
In our opinion, Self-Care is its own competency because it is so important to overall effectiveness as a leader – for you, your staff and your organization. As a competency (assessed by you), it opens awareness for monitoring, for evaluating and for making changes that support your goals, your desired outcomes and your performance.
People look to their leaders, particularly in times of change, crisis and COVID, and that’s why leaders need to make time for self-care. If it’s on your radar as a leader (as a human), you’ll pay attention to it and be equipped to provide some calm in the midst of change and crisis. A lot of your energy is going out, you need to replenish the well.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
A Self-Care Definition…the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress
Self-care is a participative process whereby you act to improve and/or maintain a healthy state of being – mentally, emotionally and physically (some would add spiritually).
Why is Self-Care Important?
Why wouldn’t it be? It makes good sense. If we aren't whole, how can we support others? How can we be there for our staff, for our families, for our communities?
A better question to pose would be: What gets in the way of our own self-care?
For some, it’s “I don’t have time.” (time) For others, it’s “I’m fine. I don’t need to take care of myself.” (denial) “How can I take time for myself when everyone else is working at 110% capacity?” (guilt) Then there are the deeper reasons: not feeling worthy or deserving of self-care, basking in the persona of martyr or even victim. The list goes on.
Before answering that question, let’s look at why you might want to consider upping your game in this area.
Here are just a few potential benefits of taking care of yourself:
- Make better decisions
- Think more clearly
- Reduce stress
- Listen with more presence
- Communicate with more clarity
- Make fewer mistakes (or of lower impact)
- Manage emotions more effectively
- Have more resilience in the face of challenge, change, chaos
- Be less reactive and more proactive
- Feel more energized
- Face adversity with more confidence
- Avoid burnout
- Have better relationships at work and at home
Getting Out of the Office is Self-Care
Self-Care Can Be Simple
SELF-CARE FOR LEADERS: WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF SELF-CARE?
In the wake of recent events, the idea of self-care for leaders during crisis has become even more important, particularly in light of COVID.
Here are few examples of what some leaders are doing:
- Talking things through with a close friend
- Carving out time to pause on a daily basis
- Taking a walk outside daily or a few times a week
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Letting go of needing everything to be perfect (self, others, environment, etc.)
- Examining and prioritizing what’s truly important
- Reading a good novel before bed (even if just a few pages)
- Limiting media consumption (social and otherwise)
- Looking for and noting the positives/good things everyday (at least one thing)
You might be asking – HOW CAN I PRACTICE SELF-CARE? WHAT CAN I DO?
Taking care of yourself as a leader is imperative to sustain top performance. Physical health, mental health and emotional wellbeing can all be part of care habits or part of a self-care routine.
Even Taking a Few Quiet Moments Can Be Self-Care