Posted by Sandy Yu on 6.20.2019
Your team is your main focus. Ensuring they’re healthy, satisfied at work, and succeeding in their roles is more than a full-time job. Keeping up with these demands often results in leaders neglecting themselves. But it’s important to remember self-care and mental well-being aren’t just important for your employees.
Actually, when these elements are personally neglected, employees are, subsequently, negatively impacted. Leaders who focus on their own self-care are better equipped to deal with workplace situations and even lead by example for their teams.
Of course, taking time to proactively care for yourself is easier said than done. We reached out to four leaders who aren’t just practicing self-care but also have learned from their personal experiences.
Here’s how they’re positively impacting employees while caring for themselves:
Self-care is important for leaders because you can only give what you have inside of you. Imagine a container filled with water. If you are taking care of yourself, you give out of your overflow. If you are running dry, however, you have nothing to give.
Spend two percent of your annual salary on personal development. This could range from books to conferences, events, and online courses. Also, know when to turn work off. That means stop checking emails after work hours and spend time with family and friends during down time.
Here’s what I do to protect myself, and consequently my employees, from going into that ugly, burnout place:
Take your one hour lunch break and use the first 20 minutes for eating casually. Then, go for a 10 minute walk. Find somewhere you can rest peacefully for 20 minutes. You'll want to wake up five-to-10 minutes before you're expected to be fully functional, as it'll take a little time to clear the grogginess.
Not to worry about that initial fuzzy feeling, though -- it'll clear off in no time. Your brain will function at a much quicker and more alert level than if you had skipped nap time altogether.
Self-care is important for leaders because their moods affect the whole office vibe and the efficacy of the team. When a leader is in good spirits, they encourage open dialogue, creativity, and drive. However, when a leader is sleepy, they’re grumpy and not enthusiastic. This discourages employee productivity.
Eating well is a way to prioritize your health, no matter how busy you are. It makes your body and your mind feel better, which will, in turn, make you a better leader. As an added bonus, you can lead by example by bringing healthy snacks to the office for everyone to share.
Starting my own business at the age of twenty-four, I thought I was unstoppable. Now, in my older years, my disregard for personal health is taking its toll, both mentally and physically. I realized just how important my health and well-being are after spending a night in the hospital for a panic attack. Since then, I also want to ensure I’m setting the right example for my employees.
After my incident, I sat down with my team and completely redid our paid time off policy. I want my employees to not only take time for vacation, but also when they just need a day away from the office.
We outlined a new policy encouraging employees to take days off to care for themselves. Then, we checked-in with the team to make sure they were utilizing the policy. We immediately noticed at least three employees hadn't taken a single day off in six or more months. We told them to pick a day and we would automatically give it to them within the next week.