You Won’t Be Able to Take Care of Others if You Don’t Take Care of Yourself

It’s your obligation to support your family, as well as do well at your job and to take care of your clients. While pursuing these goals and responsibilities are you making the time and effort to take care of yourself?

“Self-care” is the topic of an article in the Harvard Business Review by author Amy Jen Su. She states that self-care refers to your relationship and connection to yourself. It’s not just physical health (though that’s an essential part of self-care), but also caring for your mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time and resources.

Self-care may seem unattainable, but the intention is not to add to your responsibilities or create another reason to beat yourself up. Self-care comes from an intent to stay connected to oneself and one’s overall mission: Who and what supports and helps me with the positive contributions I hope to make?

Self-care should be woven into the course of your workday, not just after you finally get home. Here are some suggestions,

  • Give yourself a break. Stop being your harshest critic. If you feel weighed down by accountability or your perfectionism starts kicking in, ask yourself: “What would I say to a colleague or friend in the same situation?” By controlling your internal critic, you may create the psychological conditions that allow you to get through self-doubt more quickly.
  • Value time, money and resources. You may frequently be asked for your time and efforts which will distract you from more important priorities. Set aside 15 minutes at the start of your day and write down three things you hope to accomplish that day. As more requests for your time come in, think about how they will impact on your priorities before giving your ordinarily automatic yes.
  • Celebrate your victories. Look back on the past week or month and name or write down what went well or what felt particularly satisfying. Celebrating these successes can help you stay connected to your passions, top contributions, and actions that add value.
  • Surround yourself with good people. Healthy and supportive relationships are critical to self-care. Who feeds your energy? Who drains it? Try to avoid the drainers and invest more time and energy in your supporters.
  • Update your workspace. Clean up your desk. Put pictures, artwork or images that inspire you or remind you of the people and things that matter to you in your workspace. It should be a reflection of your best self.
  • Recharge and reboot. Get as much sleep as you can. If you are chronically short of sleep set aside a couple of days a week to try to catch up. At the office, schedule walking meetings to get more energy and have lunches away from your desk with colleagues and friends.

As your life gets busier, self-care becomes more important so that we can have a more positive impact on our personal and professional lives without sacrificing our health or relationships. If you can put some self-care in your time at work, you can be more constructive, effective and authentic to yourself.

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