Until a friend of mine brought up the concept of “self care” a few months ago, I honestly never really thought about it. I take care of myself, I would like to think. I try to make time for me…occasionally. I, well, I….ummm geez what do I do for self care? Ok, I see my girlfriends for brunch (less and less), I read (maybe once a month when I am not too exhausted at night, so a rarity), I workout (well I used to). Not boding so well am I.
And I don’t think I am alone.
Both men and women in the business world today seem busier than ever. Juggling full time jobs + side jobs, family, friends, parenting, household responsibilities, after work obligations, community work…the list goes on.
I run this blog on my evenings and weekends and a large part of me considered this to be “self care” but deep down, as much as I love it and I am passionate about it – I don’t think it quite fits the definition.
Wikipedia tells us: “Self care is personal health maintenance. It is any activity of an individual, family or community, with the intention of improving or restoring health, or treating or preventing disease”.
The words that stand out to me most are: IMPROVING and RESTORING health.
What are you doing proactively to improve and restore your health – physically, mentally, emotionally? What are some things that you LOVE to do, that bring you great peace, perspective and re-invigoration?
I look around me and I see some people I really admire – that take their health seriously. And then I see some, who are often burning the candle at both ends and might just be headed for “burnout”. I have heard from a lot of Senior Executives (or former ones) that have told me they were either totally burned out or were definitely headed that way. I for one, do not want to be one of those people so I am starting to take this whole notion of self care a little more seriously.
If you’re a type A like me – you may want to consider being a little bit more reflective on what you do for self care.
Some steps that have helped me in the last few months:
1. Sleep – just google the “importance of sleep” and you’ll find out just HOW important this is. Refresh your reasons on why it’s important to get some serious shut eye every night. I self imposed a bedtime of 10pm for myself and like to try and get into bed by 9:30pm.
2. Reading – I used to be an AVID reader but somewhere between having my first child and now…this love affair ended. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve found that by shutting out the bad sources of media I used to consume (ie. Reality TV), I have lots of time post 9pm for a 45 min read session. In the last few months I have read 8 new books that have captivated me in a way The Bachelor NEVER did. I am educating myself, learning about important historical events and having many laughs. It is very relaxing. I used to only read business books but now I am allowing myself to get more engrossed in the lovely world of fiction.
3. Saying no – I used to think that saying “no” was really, really bad. In fact, I pretty much rarely ever said no. My mentor enlightened me on this subject and I’ve learned it doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a better person. I think it takes a strong person to say no. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You do not have to be everything to everyone. I use a little self imposed rule of only being out of the house in the evenings twice in one week.
I think it’s important to self reflect. Life can get so busy and it’s often hard to take time to think about these things. Personal and professional growth are of the utmost importance to me but I think if I had to choose, I would take personal over professional. With a heightened sense of awareness, I can only think this will translate positively into my professional life.
Would love your comments and suggestions for routine self care!
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