Self-care stabilizes your strengths, develops your gifts, and prevents much needless pain.

Self-care comes about when you couple compassion toward yourself with personal responsibility for your well-being. Almost everyone practices self-care to some extent already. But by taking yourself in hand and practicing a higher level of self-care, you’ll enhance your resilience and balance, especially under conditions of stress.

In the absence of self-care, there is always some kind of needless suffering. You suffer because you neglect important needs. Others suffer because you have much less to offer when you aren’t whole and at your best. You can’t give what you don’t have.

Lack of self-care hampers your effectiveness by making you vulnerable to reactivity and unhealthy levels of stress. It undermines confidence and personal integrity and often broadcasts an image of low self-esteem to others. Leaders who neglect their self-care and well-being also become poor role models for others.

Alternatively, excellent self-care promises to build your self-esteem and strengthen your integrity. It leads to increased energy and a heightened sense of well-being. Because it corrects many imbalances at multiple levels, it also soothes anxiety and offsets depression. As you build reserves through self-care, you become naturally more resilient and able to withstand even aggravating circumstances with greater equanimity.

If you offer compassion to others but not to yourself, or if you focus too much on responsibility for others, you’ll probably neglect self-care. Sometimes it’s easier to take care of others than to take care of yourself.

You are as valuable as anyone else and are just as worthy of care. And you are worth investing in, despite what a self-limiting inner voice may say. When you establish clear self-care practices, self-respect and confidence can replace feelings of victimization and the world can feel like a better place.

Self-care includes a wide range of behaviors that support who you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If you’d like to assess your current level of self-care, you can download a free copy of the Self-Care Assessment. It will help you assess your level of self-care and identify which behaviors to strengthen. Each of the forty behaviors listed in the inventory can be an effective point of focus.

Action Steps

1. Think of the last time you were really tired and how much harder it was to stay centered. Now think about the last time you had a great night of sleep and how much easier it was to function the next day.

2. How can you work smarter to create more time for self-care?

  • What are two or three ways to simplify and streamline your roles?
  • Do some of your goals need to be re-evaluated to create more time for self-care?
  • What are two or three low priority, time consuming projects that could be put on hold or re-negotiated?

3. Get support from a friend, partner, spouse or colleague as you work with these action steps. Or take the plunge and work with a coach. Coaching is a fabulous investment in self-care.

4. Self-care is fundamental to Work-Life Effectiveness. If work-life effectiveness is a challenge for the group you work with, consider bringing the Performance and Balance training to your organization. When the whole group has the tools to take responsibility for personal balance in the workplace, productivity increases and is sustainable. Call Barbara to talk about ways to position this for your organization.

Barbara Bouchet
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