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Mayes Wilson & Associates

Plan for the marathon with self-care

Sara Wilson, CPCC, ACC |

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” — Oprah Winfrey

Now at the end of the first quarter of 2021, most leaders are caught up in the inexorable rhythm of the work year. We are sprinting from task to task, trying to stay on top of that never-ending to do list, and busy leading our organization toward annual goals.

But I am curious, have you put YOURSELF on the list? How are you taking care of yourself?

It won’t surprise me if you haven’t thought about checking in with yourself and evaluating how you are doing. I’m not talking about your productivity or where you are on achieving your goals. I mean how are YOU doing–mentally, physically, emotionally? How are you balancing the demands you face?

Self-care is taking personal responsibility for your own physical, emotional, and mental health. Practicing self-care is preventative, not selfish. Think about it from the perspective of stewarding the gifts you bring to the world. Many executives I coach have a list of reasons for not engaging in self-care that are often about the sprint and aren’t sustainable for the marathon of leadership.

Consider these actions to support self care and create a healthier work-life balance:

  • Evaluate the urgency that you create when it may not really be necessary.
  • Commit to only read and respond to emails during work hours–whatever those are to you. Share your email response schedule.
  • Improve time management: be realistic when scheduling so you aren’t working longer hours because you set unrealistic deadlines.
  • Say “no” more. Do you say “yes” to something when you know you really don’t want to do the activity? Saying “no” is an important self-care step.
  • Redesign your routine, scheduling the most important things first and being realistic about what you can accomplish in a reasonable work day.
  • Build a restoration activity–something to boost your energy and mood–into your workday. I created a dance song playlist and at specific times my phone alarm goes off and I get up and dance. It’s energizing!

If you are thinking “I’m too busy, I’m strong and don’t need to do any of these things,” I invite you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my life priorities? Can I achieve them without health and well being?
  • How is not taking care of myself impacting me, my family, my work?
  • By not demonstrating self care, what culture am I creating with my team?

How do your answers impact what you prioritize, including yourself?

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