We tend to be a society driven by the concept of “hustle” – the need to climb higher, make more money, and achieve professional success. Too often, though, the means to achieve those goals come at the expense of our bodies, mental health, and overall well-being. We can simply push too hard. That’s why the concept of self-care has become a popular topic lately. A quick Google search will point you to a long list of books, podcasts, documentaries, YouTube videos, and self-care experts, all of which will reveal the secret mantras and routines you need to employ in order to take care of yourself.
For business leaders who shoulder the responsibility and stress of entire teams and companies, practicing self-care is particularly important. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” If you’re not intentionally refilling yourself on a regular basis, you’ll inevitably run dry and be unable to perform and meet the monumental responsibilities you face. Practicing a healthy amount of self-care will make you a better and more effective leader.
So why do we often find that leaders are the ones most resistant to self-care?
Unfortunately, recognizing your needs and taking the time to tend to them is somehow misconstrued as a weakness. Leaders often feel they are too busy to reflect on their own needs. They feel they should be able to be strong and power through for the sake of their team. However, recognizing and tending to your own needs is not a weakness. It will make you a stronger and more compassionate leader for your team. If your team doesn’t see you value your own self-care, then what perception does it give them about your valuation of their own well-being? If you let your needs go unmet, then I assure you that you are not leading others to your full potential. As much as you may feel you should push through, exhausted leadership is often ineffective leadership.
What are some ways leaders can practice effective self-care?
I know, I know…you’re busy. I won’t let you off that easily, though. Regular self-care doesn’t have to equate to impossible-to-meet daily time investments. If you don’t have a lot of time or aren’t ready to embrace the concept of incense and meditation, that’s okay! There are still some powerful things you can do. Understand that self-care is entirely individual. The concept is all about recognizing YOUR needs. Here are some general self-care starter pointers:
Don’t shrug off self-care as nonsense or a momentary fad. It’s not. Loads of scientific research back the practice of self-care and the benefits it provides. As leaders, it’s when we learn to manage our whole selves better that we become capable of true leadership. We can’t get there without putting in the work in every area of our lives. Once you begin your self-care journey, you may just find that taking care of yourself means you can take care of everything else. So, start today! Make a commitment to consider your own needs on a regular basis and practice self-care as part of your daily routine. Your mind, body, and team will thank you for it. Enjoy the journey!