Self-care is critical for your success. As a leader, you know that your followers look up to you when it comes to making important decisions and as a role model on what it takes to be successful in life. You have heard the importance of self-care and its benefits to one’s life. However, according to the Harvard Business Review, many of those in leadership roles hesitate when it comes to taking some time off for themselves.
The reason why those in leadership roles hesitate to practice self-care and take a bit of time off is because of the common misconceptions of what good leadership looks like, and of what self-care actually is. Dr. Palena Neale said in a report with the Harvard Business Review that it is possible for even the most skeptical to put aside the archaic beliefs of self-care.
There is a line in Five For Fighting’s “Superman” that goes, “Even heroes have the right to bleed.” You know that these are stressful times and that your people need you more than ever. However, you must remember that it is okay to take of yourself first before you look out for the welfare of others, especially in unpredictable times such as these.
Here are five ways on how to look after yourself, which you can use as a model for your own managers and employees:
1. Learn how to practice self-awareness
What are the marks of a great leader? A great following? Confidence and charisma that could light up a room? All these are true, but what really sets great leaders apart from the rest is their ability and dedication to be able to learn more about themselves and others. Those with high self-awareness tend to be have more direction and purpose in their lives.
Here are some ways that you can practice self-awareness in your life:
- a. You must become attuned with your own feelings, and what these feelings are teaching you.
- b. Look at yourself through other’s eyes, which is ask others what they think about you.
- c. Learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can turn these weaknesses into strengths
2. Take care of your physical and mental health
These are two important things that you cannot afford to ignore.Effective leaders practice a healthy lifestyle and routine that they practice religiously.
Here are some ways you can start taking care of your physical and mental health:
- a. Practice the art of self-control. To be an effective leader, you must learn to control your emotions, especially your temper.
- b. Don’t ignore your back. Don’t spend the whole day glued to that desk, take a load off your mind and do some stretching exercises. A bad back can be a killer, so if needed consult with an experienced chiropractor to get a load off your back, as well.
- c. Reduce so-called “decision fatigue” by automating as many decisions as possible.
- d. Plan your day the night before to reduce stress at the start of the day
3. Free yourself from unrealistic expectations
One of the worst things that you can do to yourself is to allow yourself and others to have unrealistic expectations of you. As a leader, it is understandable that you have pressures are abound, but that that does not mean that you should set unrealistic expectations and timelines for yourself.
Take more control of your schedule. Learn that being a leader does not necessarily mean that you are subjecting yourself to 100% of the burden. Do not pressure yourself to be all things to all people. Make it a priority to give yourself time and space to reflect on things.
4. Check in your team
Your team is essential to the success of your company. Be sure to check on them every now and then, especially in this time of crisis. They might have some demons or issues that they are dealing with that might need some looking into.
Your interest in them can mean the world to them. For example, one of your employees might be dealing with homelessness at the moment, so take it upon yourself to look into community programs that may help your employees in need.
Make sure your company supports employee wellness programs in order to increase employee productivity and reduce employee absenteeism and turnover.
Self-care is something that everyone should practice and incorporate into their daily routines. As a leader, you are vulnerable to the health risks brought about by stress and the pressures of the job. Do not allow this stress to affect your ability to lead the people in your workplace.