This Will Require Stamina | You Will Need Self-Care
Friends, I know you don’t need one more piece of information validating the unprecedented scenarios that are unfolding daily. We are all experiencing real-time changes of what we considered to be our normal lives. When we have no control, we can feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and scared.
As leaders, we are called to a higher standard of responsibility in these times. We cannot retreat with our heads in the sand hoping the tension of the moment will disappear. We are called to step into the arena and anchor our teams with care, clarity and authenticity.
To do this, we must also be self-aware of how we are processing the events unfolding around us. Are we sensing feelings of a hyper-aroused nervous system? Do we feel we have to busy every minute of the day to rescue those around us? Or can we find ways to create pathways through the change? Can we find the right words to coach our team to be resourceful rather than rescue them?
Our thoughts and our actions can drastically shift how our brains and bodies react to prolonged stress. Self-care in crisis is not something to add on or write off as a fluffy nice to have option. It is an essential ingredient to leading through turbulent times and I’d like to offer a few ideas of how to fit short methods into your week that help you preserve your personal resources and be the leader your team needs you to be.
Ideas for 10-minute self-care sprints
Quiet your mind through prayer and/or mediation
This doesn’t need to be fancy; it may look like a quote or bible verse or song lyric that calms you. Setting aside time to focus solely on that at the beginning, middle or end of the day can offer you a sense of the energy you want emanate.
Focusing on a greater purpose can bring perspective and calm.
Get some fresh air and get active
The world isn’t going to stop if you go for a short walk or sit in the sun on your lunch break (yes take a lunch break).
Yoga, and many other fitness activities are available online in shortened versions for quick infusions if there isn’t availability to go to the gym.
Build it into your schedule and protect it.
Give yourself time like this to let your body physically process all you are absorbing.
Connect with someone you love or care about
It is easy to never turn off the leadership engine when you move into a crisis mindset. Intentionally give all your attention to someone you care about and have a truly connected interaction. You do have time for it.
Remind your heart and your mind what those harmonious moments feel like so you can fill your tank and pull from it throughout the week
Spend time with a pet and play
Petting a furry friend can be surprisingly therapeutic and calming when stress hormones are invading your body.
Play can come easy when a cute tail is wagging you to join in.
Seek out the funny friend
We all have those people in our lives that help us to lighten up. Laughter is hugely powerful and can build our resilience when times are tough.
There are so many funny clips online that can get the ball rolling to let yourself laugh and release tension.
Reach out for support
If you have a counselor or want to seek one, build in some visits over the next month so you have it set in your calendar as a priority.
If you have a coach or mentor, lean on them to offer you a place to sort through your leadership challenges and combat the sense of having to figure it out alone.
If you have a small group you belong to in your faith community or other places, lean in. These are the times community is designed to help us through.
Be a helper
Serving others can be a profound way to break out of a vicious cycle of tasks. It helps you to connect to humanity and nurtures a sense of purpose.
You don't have to commit to big volunteer engagements to be a helper, the smallest act of kindness will have the same affect.
Eat healthy and get adequate sleep
You hear it everywhere, because it is supremely important!
The purpose of this list is to encourage types of activities that are intentionally going to serve your body, mind and soul well. While binging on a bag of BBQ chips may feel comforting in the moment when stress is raging through your body, the effect will not be beneficial beyond the brief moment. Engaging in healthy activities to nurture your well-being throughout the week will build your capacity and stamina to lead through challenge and combat burnout.
The world will not prioritize your well-being; only you can keep it as a must-have in your life. Consider it the fuel that keeps your leadership engine running.