“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Taking care of ourselves has a direct impact on our ability to lead others.
The other day I was meditating and doing some movement activities to help with some stress I was dealing with. It occurred to me how less creative, patient and productive I am when I’m stressed.
Just like parenting, or athletics, leading people takes being in our best mental, emotional and physical health. While it’s difficult to control all the stress that happens in our lives, we can do our best to manage ourselves through it.
These five things help me alleviate stress and help me stay focused and more patient so I’m able to lead effectively:
Awareness of the stress. This can be difficult at times because I’ve learned to stuff it down and keep going. In the last year, in particular, I’ve been working on awareness, especially in my body. Waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep easily; tightness in neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Lack of focus and memory.
Meditate in the morning and at night. When I wake in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, I listen to a guided meditation. My favorites are Deepak Chopra, Kris Carr and FMTV has some really great stuff. One night I did this for almost 3 hours because I couldn’t sleep. Even though I was awake, I relaxed and I felt much more renewed than when I lie there awake thinking for 3 hours.
Move. Stretch. Swim. Walk. Dance. Especially first thing in the morning I find that I sleep better and am less stressed. 5 minutes every hour helps me destress and stay more positive as well.
Breathe. I set my intention the night before, in the morning and throughout the day. It’s so important to shift our own thoughts and beliefs so our actions align. A friend recently sent me this saying: Breathe in possibilities and breathe out expectations. Our breathing can tell us a lot about our stress. The more shallow the more stressed. Taking time throughout the day to breathe in slowly, hold it, breathe out slowly and hold it helps me level set and gets important oxygen flowing.
Great music, sunshine and laughter with friends and family. Take time to let loose, have fun, laugh and enjoy the people you love.
And there’s one more thing I do when the stress is something I can’t seem to get control of:
6. I get a massage, go to the chiropractor, get acupuncture and/or get energy work to shift the stress I’m holding in my body.
When we consider the fact that everyone is coming into work with their own issues and stressors, it’s that much more important to manage our own. In doing so, we can be the best leaders we can be, not only for ourselves but for those we are empowering to get results.
What do you do to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best? Share it in the comments!