As a leader, it’s essential to prioritize self-care for good mental health, and there are numerous benefits to making it a priority. For one, self-care helps reduce the stress and anxiety that come with leadership responsibilities. If you neglect self-care, it can lead to burnout and make it harder to perform your job effectively. But when you take care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the pressure. It’s your key to resiliency!

And it’s not just about bouncing back; it’s the key to keeping (or maybe improving) your mood and productivity. Sometimes with all that is going on, we can’t help but turn into a bit of a Negative Nellie (my apologies to anyone named Nellie!). By taking care of yourself, you get to feel the benefits of being more energized and focused.  Not to mention it can bring more joy to your day and work, which is especially needed when things get tough, as they are bound to.

One of the biggest reasons I advocate for this (besides you choosing you!) is that by doing this for you, you are also walking the talk and setting a positive example for your team. As a leader, you’re an example for your crew, and showing them that self-care is important can be very powerful. Think of the ripple effects of this. Does anyone want a happier and healthier workplace? Positive culture? Yeah, that.

Additionally, self-care can help prevent mental health issues, especially depression, and anxiety related to work. In the 2022 State of Workforce Mental Health published by Lyra, nearly a third of workers surveyed said their mental health has declined over the past year. Work-related stress came in right behind COVID as one of the top issues that affected mental health. There is no more important time than now to create this critical habit for yourself.

It’s not just about work-related benefits either; taking care of yourself can lead to a more fulfilling life overall. You see things through a different lens when you prioritize yourself. Self-care is key to balancing your work and personal life better too.

Now let’s make it easier, shall we? Here are some simple ideas to fit self-care in as a busy leader.

  1. Take breaks: Take frequent short breaks throughout the day, even just a few minutes, to recharge and refresh your mind. Step outside, take a walk, or meditate to clear your mind and reduce stress.
  2. Get enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for good mental health, and leaders should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. If possible, create a relaxing bedtime routine that helps you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.
  3. Stay active: Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels. Find physical activities you enjoy, such as walking, running, yoga, or swimming, and make time for them regularly.
  4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help you stay present and focused. Even just a few minutes of mindfulness practice each day can improve your overall well-being.
  5. Seek support: Talking to someone about your challenges and concerns can be a valuable form of self-care. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or colleague, or seek support from a mental health professional if needed.
  6. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, and prioritize downtime to recharge. Turn off notifications and avoid checking emails after work hours to create a more balanced lifestyle.

My challenge to you is to pick one and put it in play for 90 days. That’s it. Treat it like an experiment and see what the results are afterward.

Remember, self-care is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to make it a part of your routine. By incorporating these simple and easy tactics into your daily life, you can prioritize your well-being and be a more effective and resilient leader.