It is the holiday season, so the term “self-care” may be within your radar? What does it mean to you?
Do you practice effective self-care? Or do you see it as a fuzzy concept, not for you?
I classify self-care as an enabler, as an opportunity to build and sustain your wellbeing and/or high performance.
Let me explain.
The value of self-care
One of the fastest ways to understand the value self-care offers, is to understand what a lack of it may imply.
Here are just two examples, focusing on sleep and multi-tasking.
- Research suggests those who experience poor quality sleep, particularly deep sleep may increase their potential to experience anxiety by 30%.
- Research suggests multi-tasking negatively impacts productivity by as much as 40%.
What is self-care?
Self-care is generally defined as the practice of taking action to preserve one’s own health or of taking action to preserve one’s own wellbeing and happiness, particularly in time of stress.
How do you practice self-care?
It is my experience people practice self-care on a spectrum where either end indicates:
– You view self-care as a strategy to enable your and/or others wellbeing and performance.
– You view self-care as a strategy to enable the wellbeing and performance of others.
Option one is effective as you will employ self-care strategies for yourself, as well as promote and encourage others to invest in them.
Option two presents all sorts of potential issues. As you are not using self-care strategies for yourself, rather your focus is on promoting or enabling the self-care of others.
The challenges, option 2
It can leave you tired, feeling exhausted or at worst bordering on burn out because:
- You focus on enabling wellbeing and/or performance of others or something.
- The cost of doing this is too often your own wellbeing and/or performance.
- You may not be consciously prioritising the self-care of others; it is often habit.
If you are focused elsewhere, if your own wellbeing or performance is what you are negatively impacting, you need to understand who or what is it you are focused on?
Is it your company goals, objectives, priorities or outcomes? Is it your work colleagues or your team? Is it your family, your children or possibly your partner? Whose or what wellbeing and performance are you enabling, inadvertently offering your own as the cost?
Connect self-care with energy management
I talk about key currencies of wellbeing and performance. These are measures that you can check on quickly and easily to gain an insight as to the state of your wellbeing.
I use four wellbeing currencies, one of which is energy.
Checking in and understand what I describe as your energy capacity (the energy you have in your fuel tank) will give great insight into the quality of your wellbeing.
It is important to add:
- The real power of checking on your wellbeing currencies, happens when you do this consistently over time.
- You begin to raise your awareness of the trends and a patterns of your energy.
- It is akin to reading a map, or having your own mini energy scorecard.
- You will raise your awareness of the triggers and drivers that build your or deplete your energy.
- Once you have this, you can make choices.
Back to the energy check-in.
- Give yourself an energy score, assess it on a scale of 0/10.
- Zero means no energy through to ten where you have plentiful energy.
- It gives great insight into effectiveness of your self-care.
- What self-care strategies are you using to build and protect your energy?
Self-care as a strategy
At its broadest, a self-care strategy is a strategy that creates, builds and protects your energy.
Energy for you to be a well being and perform optimally, personally and professionally.
Energy that enables your capacity to think, relate, do, and remain self-directed.
- Strategy one: Score your energy out of 10; nil is none and 10 is plentiful. Does your energy allow you to think, relate, do and be self-directed? Check-in weekly and monitor the trend.
- Strategy two: Create a strategy options list. Identify what strategies you will commit to? Includes only options that create, sustain and protect your energy?
- Strategy three: Choose strategies wisely. Consider the effort, frequency and duration of each strategy? Include strategies that align with your personal preferences? Reflect on how each strategy has potential to shape and influence your energy?
- Strategy four: Accept that for you to enable wellbeing and performance of others, you need to be a well being role model yourself. Others will do what you do. But they will struggle to do what you say, if you are doing something different yourself.
Self-care strategies vary widely, they may be personal and/or professional.
- Personal strategies include reading for pleasure; making time for a creative outlet; spending quality (non) distracted time with friends and/or family; investing in sleep hygiene to create quality sleep and including 3-4 alcohol free days a week.
- Professional strategies include implementing work-life boundaries; taking regular breaks from sitting at work; doing a regular digital detox; implementing effective time management to limit multi-tasking or learning how to effectively say no to avoid over-commitment at work.
And of course, if you are not sure of the what, how, when or why of creating and embedding self-care strategy, you can engage a coach such as myself to assist you.
Reflecting on 2020
Final questions. Are taking time to reflect on 2020? What are you intending to place focus on? Is self-care strategy included in your focus areas?
I hope this post is useful food for thought for helping you answer these questions!
Wishing you an amazing 2020. ciao Jan