A Leader’s Guide to Self-Care. Maverick Leaders are top performers in their field, and they do not tolerate poor performance from themselves or others. As a result, self-care isn’t something that is usually associated with maverick leadership. One might say, I don’t have time, or I don’t need to slow down. Some would think that taking care of themselves is in contradiction with their seriousness as a leader, so they do not want to indulge in the luxury of taking time for themselves.
But that line of thinking needs to change now. Here, we look at how leaders can benefit from self-care and what concrete actions you can take to practice it.
Leaders view every day as a chance to boost productivity and effectiveness, but you cannot give your best if you feel tired and sluggish. Proper diet, regular exercise, good sleep, and emotion regulation are your keys to better mood, higher energy levels, enhanced memory and focus, and improved empathy.
If you need more convincing, just think back to the times you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. It is during those times that you will benefit more from taking breaks.
Even microbreaks can help renew motivation, increase productivity, and improve decision-making and problem-solving skills. In turn, you boost your communication and confidence, leading to better quality of work and life in general.
As a leader, then, how can you practice self-care?
• Set boundaries
Just because you are a leader does not mean you should always say ‘yes’ to everything. In fact, that is the quickest way to drain yourself! Learn to set boundaries by saying ‘no’ to things that do not require your attention and energy.
Setting boundaries also means you have to let go of and delegate things that can be done by others. After all, you cannot actually attain perfection in everything, so why not just be smart and strategic in what you pour yourself into? Your followers will even thank you for your discernment.
• Optimize your workspace
Whether you are working remotely or on-site, be sure to craft a workspace that will help you be at your best. Even the smallest adjustments can make a world of difference!
Be smart about your workspace ergonomics through accessories like wrist rests and monitor stands. These can help limit the strain on your neck, back, arms, and wrists, which can help you avoid pain and further stress complications down the line. Plus, contrary to what you might think, feeling comfortable at work does not encourage laziness or complacency, as this boosts the quality of work you produce.
• Practice a sleep routine
Nothing fuels another day of intense work more than a restful night of sleep! If possible, avoid staying up to catch up on deadlines or waking up too early to prepare for the day. Make a bedtime routine, and be sure to stick to it by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Before sleep, give yourself some technology-free wind-down time, too. That means no checking of your phone or finishing last-minute tasks! You have to give yourself the chance to increase the melatonin in your body to fall asleep faster and better.
Being a good leader starts from being good to yourself. Remember, you can only give your 101% every day if you are healthy inside and out. Yes, you have the world to conquer, but do that after you take care of yourself first!