If you’re like me, you’re in the middle of your second decade as a performance practitioner and if there’s one thing that I’ve take away from that time, it’s that my own mental well-being is vital to my own long-term health, as well as the ability to maintain this long of a career. If you’ve been in the game longer than that, you already know what I mean. If you’re just starting out, some of what is here will help you keep your head on your shoulders as you go through your career.
To keep that career longevity, we need to practice self-care in some way to be our best selves for those around us, meaning our patients, our clients, our athletes.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate, or time consuming or expensive. Self-care also doesn’t have to be something you add to your list, as most of our “to-do’s” are already long enough. Sometimes taking an item off your list is what you needed all along.
Here are 5 simple ways we can get self-care for ourselves this week, and really every week going forward.
We’re glued to our phones and our computers all day, every day. This is especially true for the phone when we conduct much of our business from it. From answering client texts and emails, to producing social media content, we likely spend a good portion of our day on the phone.
Disconnecting from it entirely is a challenge. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a big challenge. Even if it’s not handing work related items, there’s the mindless scrolling. Find ways to put the phone down during the day, especially as you unwind at night.
Focus on what’s important and what is deserving of your time and attention. For me, disconnecting from my phone means connecting with my kids at the end of the day.
Sleep is probably one of the simplest, most accessible forms of self-care that we can do, and we don’t do it often or well enough. We wear this lack of sleep as a badge of honor, as if going with as little sleep as possible makes you some sort of superhero.
We take pride in “tired” being the adjective that describes us daily. I mean, it is a relatable adjective when talking to someone. We’re all tired in some way.
Sleep is where we recover from the day to day, it helps our brain health, repairing damage done during the day. This helps our mental health as well.
We’re constantly telling our clients & athletes to look after their sleep, but it would be hypocritical of us if we didn’t do the same for ourselves.
Whatever you must do to get better sleep, do it, from setting a bedtime to a nighttime routine, to cutting out your phone earlier in the day. Make sleep a priority.
Take a Break
You know the scene from The Shining where Jack goes crazy? When all we do is work and not take downtime for ourselves, we tend to go a little crazy.
Now maybe it’s not murder our families at a winter chalet crazy, but you know. It’s probably something to best avoid.
Not allowing ourselves breaks ramps up our stress levels and have us not enjoying as much of our lives as we could. In fact, it can have us enjoy what we do even less. And I know for a fact that as coaches, we’re passionate about what we do.
I’ve been there. Diving headfirst into nothing but work, but in the end, it makes us more miserable because we are so singularly focused.
Breaks don’t have to be long, in fact, they can be mini breaks throughout the day where you work hard for 60 minutes, then take a 15 time out for yourself. We do however need something extended, like a vacation to really recharge, turn off our brain and relax.
Saying no is, for some people, the hardest thing to do. I’m looking at you “people pleasers” and “obligers” of which I belong to. However, for our own mental health, we have to say no more.
Our physical, mental, and emotional capacity is only so big and eventually can hit a breaking point. Sometimes our capacity for things drops as well for a multitude of reasons, for example, lack of sleep. We can only handle so much till we’re overwhelmed.
We avoid saying no because we feel guilty or that we are letting others down. We can feel like we’re rejecting someone, and no one wants to do that. One thing to take away is that saying no isn’t about rejection of someone else, it’s about protecting and prioritizing our own self. Saying no is about establishing boundaries for yourself, your time, and your energy.
Take a Walk/Do Something Physical
Doing something physical is very beneficial for our mental wellbeing. This can be a workout, a movement snack, or something like a walk.
Being physically active in some way has its physical benefits, but it can also provide some mental and emotional benefits as well. So, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the week, take a walk, even for 5 minutes and see how you feel.