~The Flip-side of Adversity: The Art of Self Care~
Webster’s dictionary defines resilience as:
- the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties
- the strength of an individual in the face of challenges or even setbacks
In essence, it is all about our ability to “bounce back” or keep moving forward, despite the obstacles we may face. As leaders are shaped, the requirement for resiliency extends beyond bouncing back for ourselves, primarily because of the people we impact on a daily basis.
Resilient Leaders: Born or Made?
While there are leaders who are indeed resilient as a basic part of their make-up, there are also leaders that this trait does not come naturally.
Can resilience be developed?
Believe it or not, it most definitely can be. In practical terms, resiliency can become an acquired set of our thoughts or mindset that is shaped by our behaviors.
At one point in my life, I recall being a leader who used to burn the candle at both ends in an effort to meet deadlines and stay committed to the projects at hand. My focus was primarily on being an effective team player who did whatever was necessary to get the job done with little or no thought about my own personal self-care. Not once did I ever imagine the impact that not having a take-care-of-me plan, would have.
After some time on my journey, I suddenly began to notice increased irritability, becoming short-tempered, having a low tolerance for things that I used to overlook, feeling inadequate, and experiencing physical and mental exhaustion. When I came face-to-face with my reality, I recognized two things: 1) I struggled with the ability to say “no” & 2) even though I wore a warm smile, I was silently frustrated, overwhelmed, and ineffective.
The Foundation of Resiliency
When faced with life challenges or unexpected events, having a self-care plan is necessary. Not only is it necessary but it helps us to get our bounce back – not for others but more importantly, for ourselves. This discovery empowers us to say “no” to the projects, people and things that threaten to take us off task and create unwanted barriers for personal, as well as professional goals.
The shaping process for a resilient leader includes cultivating several valuable skills. One of them is embracing the importance of participating in some form of self-care on a daily basis. When we take time to promote our own self-care, we can teach others how to do the same.
What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity that we do purposefully in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety (Psych Central: psychcentral.com)
How do we know when self-care is needed?
- Making simple mistakes, repeatedly
- Getting hung up on the small things
- Being highly judgemental of others
- There seems to be a problem or issue with EVERYTHING
- Trouble sleeping and/or increased anxiety
- Constantly feeling overwhelmed
- Always on the go
- Lack of clarity as to why you are doing something/going through the motions
- Feeling like you have no control over a particular situation
Creating a Self-care Plan
Self-care plans will look different for each of us. Develop a plan that is realistic and one you can commit to on a consistent basis. To get started, here are a few self-care plan options:
1) My Self-Care Plan – Download Here
2) Self-care Wheel – Download
3) Happiness Self-Care Calendar
4) The Self Care Starter Kit (Digital Resource): Click Here
Over the next 7 days, take some time to reflect on YOUR overall goals for YOUR self-care plan. Use one of the templates above, or create your own plan. Thoughtfully craft your plan throughout the week. Are there certain things you want to do every day? Do you want your plan to be varied or structured? Think of activities you enjoy to help you build your plan. Some common self-care activities include:
- Exercise, running, walking or Zumba
- Watch your favorite TV show
- Craft activity
You are further encouraged to start small and aim at implementing at least one strategy a week. Be mindful that self-care is not meant to create additional tasks for you, but rather to increase your effectiveness and improve your overall quality of life.
Be patient on your self-care journey as it may take some time to figure out what works best for YOU. The good news is, once you have identified a plan that works, you will see improvement in your personal wellness.
“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.”- Reed Markham