How are you?
This morning as my good friend Anne Anis (@AnneAnis) and I were talking she mentioned I’d been promoting a lot of tweets/thoughts about #selfcare lately.
You see, I’m not smart enough to make things up or simply expound theoretically, so I write about what’s actually going on in my life and how I feel. Too much disclosure? I don’t think so: I never name names and I never embarrass firms or people.
I play nice.
But clearly this was a year that forced lots of introspection for me, which, on balance is a good thing. Far from egoistic navel-gazing, introspection helps lead the way to acceptance. And acceptance leads the way to what’s next and limitless possibility.
Thus during my journey of internal review I recognized bad habits trying to re-establish themselves and while examining them I recognized some of these same patterns developing in co-workers, often in HR. Things like working late and skipping meals. Dropping out of an exercise routine, abusing alcohol, losing perspective. All things we know we shouldn’t do.
And yet often in HR we find ourselves falling into these unhealthy habits. Why? We don’t practice self care.
In the health sector nurses and doctors alike suffer from some of the highest substance abuse rates and personal disruptions – divorce, trouble at home etc., – of all professions. Why? Lack of self care.
Indeed, every profession and sector around is populated with a percentage of people suffering in their personal and professional lives simpy because they don’t take care of themselves.
In HR this is particularly pronounced since we’re often the repository for everyone else’s problems, concerns, complaints and trials that we soon run out of energy as we simply give and give until we’re just empty.
How to arrest this phenomenon?
A friend of mine, a minister, told me just the other day that his first rule was to take care of himself. “If I don’t care of me I’ll never be able to take care of anyone else,” was how he put it to me. What an interesting notion.
I’ve written before about the physical acts of self care: exercise, hydration, eight hours of sleep, proper diet and a minimum of alcohol. You know these reminders well and I encourage you to work with your health care team to find the right balance for your life.
Yet self care also includes the mental game, the head games you play.
- Blaming yourself for everything? Stop it – that’s just ego talking: you didn’t create the world
- Doubting your abilities? Look at some of the things you’ve already accomplished – you can do this
- Feeling like you can’t say no to one more client? Yes you can if it means saying no to family time
- Sacrificing the ones you love for one more hour in the office? Go home. Now
- Not scheduling some downtime for your own recovery. I am giving you permission to do that now
Self care isn’t the province of the few and favored, those untested by the daily grind. In fact, the more demanding our work, the more challenging our personal circumstances the more we need to practice self care.
Our body, mind and soul all need replenishing on a regular basis. My hope for you as the holiday season ramps up is that you give yourself this gift first: become skilled at the practice of self care.
Dedicated to Anne Anis