Photo by Brandy Kennedy on Unsplash
From running your business to implementing strategic plans for your organization, we often run around non-stop from the moment we wake up early in the morning until our head hits the pillow again late at night.
Left to our own devices, we forget to stop and eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we stay glued to our desks and work monitors, forsaking brief breaks to walk around the block, reset, and gain perspective on the work we're performing.
Anything that you do to restore and recharge even amidst a busy workday is what I'd like to discuss with you as self-care.
“Self-care is your pathway to living a life that is more peaceful and aligned with how you want to live and lead, and to give you the energy you want to walk around with.” Dr. Ginny A. Baro
In this article, we showcase leadership quality #16! How to self-care to eliminate unhealthy stress can be as easy as 1-2-3.
In our Healing Leadership Video Series, we cover the 21 qualities our leaders must master in these times of high uncertainty and complexity.
Here, we continue to uncover the 21 qualities showcased in my new book, Healing Leadership: How to Lead, Love, and Thrive in Business and Life.
Previous articles (available from our blog) discuss the first sixteen leadership qualities healing and empowering leaders must possess to not only survive but thrive in these complex times.
Self-care is foundational.
How are you currently integrating self-care into your life?
We have a lot on our plates and spend a significant amount of our time on activities that aren't moving the needle for us in our life.
What if you were to replace the time you spend doing some of those mindless activities that don't inspire you and instead spend that time with intention and purpose doing activities that will replenish you?
What does self-care look like?
Would you agree that practicing self-care requires a mindset shift where you put the oxygen mask first on yourself? And what does that look like? For starters, it requires that you prioritize yourself--what?
Yes, we need to make it onto our own "to-do" list so that we can become purposeful in allowing ourselves the space to rest and take up a "timeslot" on our calendars. I'm going to share with you how I do it.
Several times throughout the year--usually at the start of the year, I schedule retreats or VIP days that I attend as a participant. Unless there's a dire emergency that prevents me from attending, I consider those days on my calendar to be sacred "me" time.
Similarly, I also host self-care retreats for my clients several times a year, starting in January--I already booked the retreats on my calendar. All the members of my programs are invited to these exclusive retreats to practice the concept of putting on the oxygen mask first and replenishing to show up energized, creative, and resourceful to their daily roles.
When you create a structure that supports you as a leader and intentionally carve out the time to give yourself self-care, that's when it happens. Instead, if we leave it up to chance and wait until the right moment or see an opening on the calendar, good luck to us, right?
Without intentionality, finding the right time on a week-to-week basis to connect inwardly, even if for only a few minutes, eludes us. However, when we schedule that retreat, or an outing, hike, or meet up with a friend and engage in an activity that replenishes you, it's more likely to happen. Once it's on my calendar, I treat it as seriously as a doctor's appointment.
That was the mindset shift I had to make.
My self-care is not optional. It's a requirement for me to feel at my best and perform accordingly.
How to fit in self-care daily
Whenever I have a free moment, on the weekends, before my workday starts, between client coaching sessions, I like to listen to a podcast, read an article, listen to music--Pandora's Calm Meditation Radio is one of my favorites. These activities are a form of self-care I can implement every day.
You don't need to plan a trip or go someplace outside your house to self-care.
When hosting my virtual self-care retreats for clients in my coaching and leadership programs, I show them how to host themselves to home spa treatments (one of my mentors, Victoria, showed me how). A simple example would be to take a bath with lavander, apply a 20-minute exfoliating or hydrating sheet mask (Burt's Bees has great ones--there are many to choose from). They can also buy a polishing charcoal and black sugar gel mask and scrub (Freeman makes one I like).
These envigorating masks, bath or shower bombs, for example, provide opportunities for a quick burst of downtime, relaxation without taking up much time. All you'll need is the supplies to use spontaneously.
Another accessible and affordable way to self-care is to plan to get more sleep. So many of us are deprived of sleep and have trouble sleeping. I've been very fortunate that I've created a practice over time that allows me to sleep soundly, and my practice for sleeping well is meditation.
Many of you who meditate know the significant benefits of meditation. Back in 2015, I learned TM, transcendental meditation. With this practice, in the morning, I prop myself up on my bed, close my eyes and focus on a mantra/keyword for 20 minutes, finish up and get on with my day. At night, typically, I do the same. Shortly after that, I am out and off to la-la land.
Watch out for your environment
Finally, without giving you medical advice--watch what you eat during the day and what you drink before going to bed. I'm only sharing what I do and what I've seen works for my clients. What you consume during the day, by now you know how it impacts your body--the amount of alcohol, nicotine, any substances you come in contact with. These could have an adverse effect on your health and sustainable sense of well-being.
Pay attention to what you're watching on TV adn protect your energy field as if your life depended on it--because your quality of life certainly does!
Members in my communities and I have decided to go on a news diet. The news cycle and other external sources can disrupt our sense of well-being, and for those of us who are sensitive and empaths, it can potentially cause a great deal of inner turmoil and crunchiness.
After watching the news, I don't ever remember saying, whoa, that was inspiring. The news feed means to keep us glued to the screen, and it's mostly bad news after bad news.
If you find yourself keeping and holding on to a lot of what you're reading or watching that is causing you anxiety, remove it from your life, get rid of it. If you can't remove it a hundred percent because of your job or your role, try to minimize your exposure to only gain what you need to know and avoid getting immersed in the doom and gloom of it.
Do it yourself - you know best
Meditating, sleeping, going to the gym, or going for walks, eating good foods, avoiding negative sources from infiltrating my energy field, overall, I create a harmonious structure that supports my well-being.
If you're feeling drained, stressed out, like you're spinning plates, consider implementing any of the tactics I mentioned from a place of ease and flow--not pressure on yourself. Be easy on yourself and see how it feels. Experiment, keep what works, and leave the rest.
We haven't been taught to practice self-care. As the decades go by, we've lived through the adverse effects of working incessantly and burnout. At any point, our bodies know when it's time to slow down the train or stop altogether to regroup, assess, and perhaps that time is now for you.
If you need support, you can reach us at www.callwithginny.com to set up a complimentary strategy session and explore how our programs can help you or your leaders gain these skills and get out of survival mode and into thriving mode. Your company and your success depend on it.
Live with purpose, live with joy!
Coach Ginny 💕
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Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning transformational speaker & leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 best-selling author of Healing Leadership and Fearless Women at Work. Ginny specializes in partnering with organizations and ERGs to develop leadership dream teams. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees, and delivered keynotes impacting global audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.
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