I’ve spent the past few years working closely with leaders on incorporating self-care into their work lives — as a key component of their overall performance — so that an expansion in their role or responsibilities doesn’t come at the expense of their health and well-being. One CEO I worked with summed it up best when he said: “Self-care is no longer a luxury; it’s part of the job.”
So, what exactly is self-care, and how do we do it?
Define Self-Care More Broadly
At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self. As part of your job, it means that you’re attuned to and understand what you need to be your most constructive, effective, and authentic self. Therefore, rather than narrowly defining self-care as just physical health (which is an important piece of the equation), we need to pay attention to a wider set of criteria, including care of the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources.
Take Out the Word “Should”
Self-care can feel daunting or unattainable. But the intention is not to add more to your already full plate, or create a reason to beat yourself up. For example, you might find yourself annoyed when someone suggests that you need to take better care of yourself, especially when it seems they don’t understand how much you’ve already got on your plate. Self-care doesn’t originate from judgment and isn’t reactive to judgment (both are forms of self-sabotage, as I describe later). Instead, self-care flows from an intention to stay connected to oneself and one’s overall mission: Who and what can support and be in service of the positive contribution I hope to make?
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