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On every flight you take, you hear the same recorded message – “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.” This directive is an excellent analogy for prioritizing wellbeing and self-care in your own life. You can not effectively lead others if you always put yourself last. The end result will be burnout and maybe even illness. As a leader, you are expected to model good practices and making time for self-care is no exception. There will always be reasons and excuses for why you don’t have time. Instead give yourself the permission to invest in your health and wellbeing, the grace to know you are worth it, and the freedom to live a well-balanced, joyful life. 

Give yourself the permission to invest in your own health and wellbeing.

  •  Give yourself permission to take time off without interruptions from work. Commit to being completely unplugged. Sure, a work text may take 30 seconds, but how much does that quick text take you mentally back to work and away from your ability to recharge when you are off?  Set strong boundaries and leave work at work. 
  •  Give yourself permission to make self-care a daily priority, not something you do only if you have time after everything else is done.  Put it on your calendar and block time off, just as you would anything that you give time to in your day. 
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help. As leaders, we often feel a sense of responsibility to have all of the answers and do everything, but you, as much as anyone, need the support of others on your wellbeing journey.  It’s okay to lean on others for support. It often takes a village to be well.  

Give yourself the grace to know you are worth it.

  • Give yourself the grace to be your own best caretaker. Wellbeing starts with valuing yourself enough to know you are worth it.  You are worth whatever time and money it takes for you to feel resilient and energized. 
  • Give yourself the grace to restart your wellbeing journey if for any reason you have experienced a set-back and deprioritized yourself. Wellbeing is a lifelong commitment and it’s easy to fall off the wagon, especially in busy times.  Restarting your wellbeing journey is an opportunity to meet your most important needs right now. 
  • Give yourself the grace to embrace love in your life. Wellbeing isn’t only about restful sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. It’s also about experiencing more love in your life. You are worthy of love and the more of it you invite into your life, the more nurtured and joyful you will be.         

Give yourself the freedom to live a well-balanced, joyful life.

  •  Give yourself the freedom to cultivate health and wellbeing on your terms. There is no single path to a well-balanced, joyful life.  Listen and respond quickly to the messages your body sends you.  It knows instinctively what it needs to be well. Identify what wellbeing means to you and pursue it in a way that feels natural and authentic.
  • Embrace the freedom that comes from self-expression. Human beings have a deep innate need to feel self-expressed – to find their authentic voice, to be heard, seen, and felt in the world. Holding back or silencing your voice reduces your wellbeing. Have the courage to say what needs to be said.
  • Give yourself the freedom to pursue joy.  Joy is a byproduct of self-acceptance, healthy relationships, purposeful living, and fulfilled dreams. Joy improves wellbeing by bringing a sense of lightness to life’s burdens. You can create more joy in your life by worrying less about what people think of you and more about how you can serve others.  When you give selflessly, joy finds its way to your heart.  

If for no other reason, prioritize your wellbeing because a joyful, balanced life is your birthright, and you have the permission, grace, and freedom to make it so.

Sara Harvey

Founder & President, innertelligence

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