In our last blog post, we introduced the topic of self-care and why it is so important, yet challenging. We left off with the question: What to do when there is so much that needs to get done?
Part of why we as a society are so stressed out and have so much anxiety and depression and other mental health issues is that we are ignoring our own system signals that are telling us we need to slow down and refill our own buckets. However, we also feel the real pressure of all the deadlines and projects. The challenge is to take a hard look at what the real priorities are and how much time there is to accomplish the tasks that have the biggest impact. Next, determine what will become a priority or urgent need if not addressed. Finally, identify what is nice but not necessary. Once you have your list of priorities, help your team do the same with what has been delegated to them.
Be sure to keep in mind how much time you have each day to dedicate to the priorities and then set realistic timelines for each project. Once you have done the planning work, then you can see more clearly what you can cut out of your list and your day. There is nothing wrong with choosing to simplify and eliminating unnecessary complexity and tasks, for yourself and your team. What else can be delegated and to whom without overloading them too?
Now that you have a plan for the workload, hopefully, it is less stressful already, provided you are being reasonable and realistic. The next step is to figure out what really fills your self-care bucket. If it’s not that hobby someone told you to pick up to be a more well-rounded person, drop that activity. If you already walk enough and you don’t need to go to the gym to prove you’re working out, drop it and save yourself the gym fees. If what you actually need is more sleep, take that hour and put it towards better sleep. Maybe you’re getting enough sleep and you really do want to improve your meditation practice. Great, schedule that time and keep it sacred and then check in with yourself to see if your bucket really is being filled. If it’s working for you, keep it.
What you are doing for yourself is adding longevity and peace of mind which benefits you and your family and circle of friends. What you are doing for your team is setting the example of how to incorporate real self-care into your day-to-day routines, and that you are in support of the same for them. Organizational effectiveness begins with leadership. Talk about self-care openly, tell them and show them that it is a priority. A real self-care culture that is sponsored and modeled by leadership is the type of workplace culture that leads to higher retention rates and more real productivity towards goals and results that matter rather than busy work and stress and overload from too many tasks and unreasonable expectations. Focus on what matters which includes you.
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