Being a leader is a demanding and stressful job. No matter what industry you work in, there are always going to be deadlines, projects, and responsibilities that need your attention. With so much on your plate, it's easy to let your own well-being fall by the wayside. However, it is essential for leaders to practice self-care to be effective both in and out of the workplace. By taking time for yourself, you can recharge and be better equipped to handle the demands of your leadership role. But what does self-care look like, exactly? And how can we make sure we're doing enough of it? In this post, we'll explore some answers to these questions and offer some tips on how to prioritize self-care in your own life so that you can be your best self at work and at home.
What is self-care?
Self-care is anything we do deliberately to take care of our physical, mental, or emotional health. It's about listening to our bodies and minds and taking the time to do things that make us feel good—both physically and emotionally. When we practice self-care, we're investing in our own well-being and setting ourselves up for success both personally and professionally.
Why is self-care important?
There are lots of reasons why self-care is so important. As a leader, you’ll be faced with many demands throughout the day that require a lot of mental, physical, and emotional energy. Taking time for ourselves can help prevent burnout and make us more productive at work. Here are some other reasons why self-care is important.
- Self-care can boost our moods and increase our overall happiness levels. When we feel good about ourselves, we're more likely to show up as our best selves—both at work and in our personal lives.
- Self-care can improve our physical health. Taking care of our bodies helps us avoid illness and injury, both of which can impact our ability to do our jobs well.
- Self-care can increase our productivity levels. When we take care of ourselves, we have more energy and focus to devote to the tasks at hand.
How can I make sure I'm practicing enough self-care?
The answer to this question will look different for everyone. Only you know what you need to feel your best. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to make sure you're incorporating enough self-care into your life:
- Get enough sleep: The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best during the day. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body's natural sleep rhythm.
- Eat healthy meals: Eating nutritious foods helps your body function at its best—both physically and mentally. Make sure you're getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet. And don't forget to stay hydrated!
- Exercise regularly: Exercise releases endorphins—chemicals that have mood-boosting effects. A regular exercise routine can help improve your mental well-being by reducing stress levels, boosting energy levels, and improving your mood. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day can make a difference.
- Take breaks: When you're feeling overwhelmed or overworked, take a few minutes to yourself—even if it's just a quick walk around the block or a few minutes of deep breathing exercises. Stepping away from your work will help you come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes next.
- Find a Hobby: It's important to have things in your life that bring you joy outside of work, so you don't become too bogged down by stress. Whether it's playing sports, taking walks in nature, or spending time with family and friends, find activities that help you relax and recharge so you can show up fully for your job.
Self-care is essential for anyone who wants to be their best selves—in work and in life. It is especially essential for leaders who want to be successful in their role. By taking some time each day for yourself and making healthy choices both at work and at home, you can improve your well-being—and set a good example for the people you work with!
About the Author
Specializing in supporting entrepreneurs and professionals unlock innate potential across the industry sectors, Coach Krizel Rodriguez features a rich progressive leadership history and has built a strong reputation for delivering articulate support that enables her clients to not just become successful professionals but ultimately thriving leaders. Coach Krizel was a Mujeres de HACE Program Lead in Fall 2022.