Self-care is the elusive ideal we never seem to get to in our day. Between the demands and pressures at work and then the never-ending requests, needs, and to-do lists in our personal lives, how do you figure out "me" time? Cognitively, we recognize that if we don't take care of ourselves, we could potentially compromise what we do for others down the line....but that down the line part is what causes us to make short-term choices in favor of anything but self-care. So how do you bring that line closer to the present?
Think about small amounts of self-care at a time, not the all-or-nothing type which involves eating perfectly, working out for an hour, and going to bed by 10. What are a just a few things I could do today that would contribute to positive care?
Consider how one positive self-care action could improve your energy, mood, thoughts, or focus in the next 4 hours instead of how it could help you years from now.
Connect self-care to your purpose and values. How can taking better care of myself help me to be the person I want to be? How can it facilitate the impact I want to have? How can it demonstrate my values? How can it make me a more effective mentor or role model for others?
Challenge your mindset about self-care. Do you think of self-care as a luxury you can't afford? Do you think about it as selfish or self-indulgent? Do you see as a nice-to-do instead of a need-to-do? Do you exaggerate how difficult it is to do it? Do you minimize the benefits of it? Changing how you think about self-care could be a critical key to success.
Organizational Self-Care: What about building an organization that supports, promotes and empowers self-care as part of the culture? We know that burnout, dissatisfaction, poor engagement, mental health, productivity, and well-being can in some way be tied to self-care. We also know that some organizations do a much better job than others in creating an environment and culture that allows and empowers employees to engage in the self-care necessary to show up energized, positive, inspired, connected, engaged, and fulfilled in such a way that they want to and are able to bring their best.
Do leaders in your organization demonstrate that self-care is an important component of doing business? How do they demonstrate it (actions, not words)?
Do all levels of the organization feel empowered to engage in self-care at the workplace as they find appropriate? Is there trust in the employees to do what they need to from a self-care perspective? Are there enough options for different needs and types of employees across the organization? Can employees truly engage in self-care without feeling judged and worried about perceptions?
Are your systems, processes, resources, benefits, and environment set-up to support self-care for all employees?
Do you offer self-care training, resources, benefits, programs, and development that is holistic and appropriate for all types of employees? Do they move beyond the physical realm into emotional, mental, financial, and occupational self-care and well-being?
Reflect on which self-care practices could be or would be most beneficial to you:
Find someone who can support you on your self-care plan and enlist their support:
Explain to the person/people why self-care matters to you and how it will help you fulfill your purpose or have a more positive impact
Be specific as to how they can help you. Will you call them to talk? Do you want them to check on you at certain points?
Confront a detractor that gets in the way of self-care and problem-solve it:
Identify a detractor and pick apart all of the ways or reasons it prevents or derails self-care
Come up with a realistic action plan to eliminate, minimize, or bypass the detractor.
Challenge your mindset about the detractor. Track your progress.