Why Self Care is Important to Your Success
Have you ever had a day that you dreaded going to work? Maybe you had a fight with your partner, you were up all night with a sick child or wanting to avoid seeing a toxic coworker. Yet you push yourself to go in, thinking more about your responsibilities versus why self care is important to you.
I hate those days. The days when the obligations seem to be piling up, threatening to bury me. While we all have those days, and they can’t be avoided, what are you doing to make sure you’re practicing the self care you need?
For those of you over 40, you likely were raised with the philosophy that you push on, not talking about your challenges or taking time for you. It would be seen as a sign of weakness. It was expected that you would show up for work, put on a happy (or fake) face, and keep your problems to yourself. And in no way, were you to take any personal time off to focus on self care.
Thank goodness times are changing. If you let them.
Extreme stress = health issues
We now know how important self care is to not only your mental health, but also your long-term career success. According to Stats Canada, employees who reported being quite a bit stressed or extremely stressed most of their days were 3X more likely to have a major depressive episode versus people with low stress environments.
Think about that. There is a strong link between stress and depression, as well as a number of other health issues.
So back to why self care is important to your (personal and career) success and what you are doing to incorporate self care into your life.
Make YOU a priority
So here’s a lesson learned the hard way. Only you can make you a priority. No one else is going to do this for you.
At the end of the day, you are replaceable in your job. But you aren’t replaceable in your life.
You need to find ways to practice self care so it becomes a part of your routine instead of another burden.
For me, it started with going for walks at lunch. At times it would be full on 1 hour exercise walks and at other times it was just a stroll looking in shop windows. What was important was I got out of my office, had a change of scenery and cleared my head. It also ensured I wasn’t eating at my desk, never getting a break from the office environment.
Find what works for you
Self care needs to focus on the word self. What fills you up? Makes you happy? Helps you clear your head?
Now find ways to incorporate that into your daily or weekly routine. For extraverts it could be meeting a friend for lunch whereas introverts may prefer finding a quiet place to read a book. When you start making you a priority, the benefits spill over into every area of your life.
And, most importantly, you’ll see the world around you more clearly. This can mean setting more boundaries, creating space for work/life balance or leaving a job that no longer fulfills you. All of these things are hard to do when you’re buried in responsibilities and stress.
As a consultant, I often work with clients who are overwhelmed or looking for a fresh perspective or ideas. To be fully present for them, I need to make self care a priority in my life. There’s no way I can bring new ideas to the table if I’m exhausted, overwhelmed or stressed.
This means setting aside time in my work week to do what fills me up. It’s walks with the dogs while the kids are at school, meeting a friend for coffee and giving myself permission to read a book when I need a break. Yes, this is easier to do when you’re self-employed, but it’s all about routine. And this takes time and discipline.
The end result of taking the time to incorporate self care into my life is I’m healthier, have more energy and truly enjoy the work I’m doing.
How are you making self care a priority in your day? What makes you happy, fills you up or recharges your batteries? Now how can you incorporate this into your work week? Don’t wait until illness sidelines you and you are forced to care for yourself. Make it part of your routine so you can be your most productive you.
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