The demanding nature of leadership roles, coupled with constant decision-making and responsibility, creates a stressful environment that can lead to burnout.
Prioritising self-care is vital for maintaining mental and physical well-being, sustaining optimal performance, fostering work-life balance, and setting a positive example for the organisational culture.
Self-care is not a luxury but a strategic necessity, enabling CEOs to lead effectively and contribute sustainably to their organisations. It enhances leadership qualities, such as emotional intelligence and resilience, while promoting creativity, innovation, and sound decision-making.
While self-care has become a buzzword, it’s a practice easier said than done. How can those who are in high-stress jobs that take up much of their time during the day make their lives better? Here are 11 things that every CEO and manager should focus on when it comes to self-care.
This is the first thing that is sacrificed at the altar of career goals, to make more work hours available at your disposal. Pro tip: Don’t make people who boast about their 20-hour workdays your role models. Ensure you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Consider creating a relaxing bedtime routine and optimising your sleep environment. Read more on why sleep is so important for you and tips on how to get the best sleep.
2. Mindfulness And Meditation
In the fast-paced world of CEOs and managers, the pressure and demands can be overwhelming. Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools to navigate stress and cultivate a sense of balance. Mindfulness involves being fully present and engaged in the current moment, without judgement, be it in work meetings or when hanging out with friends and family.
Taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath can bring awareness to the present moment and help manage stress. You can also learn how to do body scan meditation which involves paying attention to different parts of your body, releasing tension, and promoting a sense of relaxation. There are several guided meditation videos on YouTube as well as apps that focus on mental health. These can be done in a 10-minute break at work or at bedtime.
3. Health Check-Ups
This is pretty much the literal definition of self-care. A health check-up customised for your age, gender and lifestyle gives valuable pointers on the present state of your health and the steps you can take to achieve your health goals. An end-of-the-year health check is a good way to set goals in the new year if you are a New Year's resolution kind of person. If not, any day is a good day to invest in this high level of self-care.
4. Non-Work Activities
Engage in hobbies or activities that you enjoy. The more unrelated to your line of work, the better. This could be anything from playing a musical instrument, cooking, visiting art galleries or participating in sports. Having a creative outlet is essential for stress relief and allows you to come back to your work with fresh ideas and solutions.
5. Delegate Tasks
Learning to delegate tasks efficiently is top-tier self-care, be it at work or at home. Trust your team and empower them to take on responsibilities. This not only eases the burden of your workload but also helps in the professional development of those around you.
6. Setting Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Designate specific times for work-related tasks and make a conscious effort to disconnect during personal time. Boundaries are also essential at work to ensure that you are not constantly interrupted and distracted while in deep work.
7. Tech Detox
For most people, work means constantly staring at a screen or two with constant information bombarding, all of it requiring your immediate attention. For better mental health, implement regular technology detoxes. Turn off email notifications during non-working hours. As a popular meme goes, ‘deleting my mental health to focus more on social media’, being constantly online takes a toll on our mental health. Consider periodic breaks from social media.
Take regular vacations and breaks to recharge. Use this time to disconnect from work completely and focus on personal enjoyment, relaxation and family time.
As a CEO or business leader, you don’t necessarily have all the answers. The responsibilities and burdens of the post sometimes need the guidance of a professional coach or therapist. Having a neutral third party to discuss challenges and goals can be immensely beneficial.
10. Nutrition And Exercise
These are two of the four most important pillars for overall wellbeing. The other two are sleep and stress management. Ensure that you are getting superior nutrition through wholesome foods and a balanced diet and your daily dose of movement in the form of a gym workout, walk, yoga or a sport.
11. Family Time
Last, but the most important is quality time with family. Your workplace is not your family. A company will easily replace you and get over you, but your family is forever. We tend to take our family time for granted, assuming they will always be around – be it parents, siblings, partners, or children. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s some valuable advice from entrepreneur Sahil Bloom’s newsletter titled How we spend our time. Call your parents or siblings this week for no reason other than just to chat. Time spent with your children is short, be present in every moment spent with them. Family time is limited, cherish it.