In order for organizational leaders to truly create a culture that supports mental health and employee wellness, they must first take care of their own. Self-care is more than bubble baths and face masks. Feeling your best starts with getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and moving your body in ways that feels good to you.
Self-care doesn’t just support your physical well-being—it is the foundation for good mental health and stress management too.
What is self-care?
What it is:
- A regular practice
- Unique for each person
- A key factor to long-term effectiveness
What it’s not:
- A one-time thing
- The same for everyone
Why do leaders need to make self-care a priority?
While stress can be a part of any job, senior-level positions come with high demands and expectations from a number of stakeholders—employees, customers, boards of directors, and shareholders. That can affect a leader’s confidence, temper and ability to perform effectively.
- Nearly 96% of senior leaders reported feeling burned out to some degree. (SHRM.org)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently listed burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon‘ in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Though it is not considered a medical condition, WHO notes that it can influence your health, and cause you to reach out to health services.
Burnout results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Burnout is responsible for between 20% and 50% or more of employee turnover. (SHRM.org)
Learn more about burnout in our eBook – Your People are Beyond Burned Out
Self-care for Leaders
Resilience is an important trait that helps prevent, as well as heal from, burnout. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Not only does a resilient person adapt to difficulties but they bounce back and grow from the difficult times. That is an important distinction for being resilient.
Resilience does not mean avoiding stress or difficult times, it means going through them and come out having learned or grown from the experience. For the most part, we can all grit our teeth through difficult times, the difference in a resilient person is the growth from the same experience.
A lot of time we think of resiliency as an innate skill, but it is not. It is a muscle that must be exercised and grown. Like when we’re trying to build muscles, increasing your it takes time and intentionality.
Focusing on five core components—connection, wellness, purpose, healthy thinking, and seeking help—can help grow resiliency.
Building strong connections helps you remember you are not alone during difficult times. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, someone you feel comfortable opening up to during the difficult times.
Fostering wellness is also important. Have you ever tried accomplishing something when you physically feel bad? It is a lot more difficult. Exercising the foundations of self-care, we talked about earlier—movement, eating, and sleep—will keep your body healthy and you feeling better and ready to face any challenges. Read more about the five building blocks of well-being.
Having a purpose gives you a guiding light, a reason for getting uncomfortable and pushing through. Whether that purpose be helping people or working towards a personal goal, it doesn’t matter. Just having a purpose gives you a bigger reason outside of what you’re feeling to tap into when things get difficult.
Embracing healthy thoughts is key to resilience, as humans, we can all fall into the trap of irrational thinking by telling ourselves stories or falling into worst-case-scenario thinking. Taking a step back and recognizing when we’re thinking irrationally really puts things into perspective. Another form of embracing healthy thoughts is accepting that change is a necessary part of life, this helps set realistic expectations. Gain support in this Hot Topic.
Last but not least, seek help when needed. It is critical to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function as well as you would like or perform basic activities of daily living as a result of a traumatic or other stressful life experience.
How can you help your leaders prioritize self-care?
Hear from Aduro’s Chief Human Performance Officer speak to steps leaders can take to be flexible when going through a self-care improvement journey.
For even more support, Aduro’s Integrated Mental Health Solution includes leadership training and development. Learn more about our services.