All too often self-care is the first thing to go when we are under stress. It can feel frivolous or like a luxury when there are so many things demanding our attention.
We implore you to reconsider that thinking.
The MOST IMPORTANT element for peak performance to occur is physical and mental well-being. Study after study has shown this to be true. The basics of adequate nutrition, exercise and sleep must be in place in order for human beings to function at their best and be optimally productive.
- What are you doing to take care of yourself?
- Do you have a structure in place for ensuring you are eating well, exercising and getting enough rest?
A former coach of mine used to say, “If you don’t take time for your well being now, you will have to take time for your illness later.”
Why do you think the flight attendants always say during the safety instructions to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? It’s because if you don’t attend to your own needs first, you will not be available to take care of anyone (or anything) else.
In the book, Becoming a Resonant Leader written by Richard Boyatzis, et al, they refer to this phenomenon as “Sacrifice Syndrome.” This is an issue for many people however seems to be even more prevalent in emergency services. Sacrifice Syndrome creeps up on us until we are brought to an abrupt stop by a health, relationship or other crisis seemingly out of nowhere.
We can avert this disaster by first recognizing when it’s happening and then making a conscious effort to change our actions putting ourselves first.
Idea for Implementation:
Create a plan for self-care that includes the basics of adequate nutrition, exercise and sleep. You can start small and expand your plan a little at a time. An example might be taking a 10 minute walk or drinking more water each day or eating fruit or other nutritious snack during the day.
The point is to DO SOMETHING to take care of yourself and make sure you don’t lose sight of your own needs during times of stress.
Comment, or email us to share any insight or new ideas that arise from this blog.