What do you do when you are committed to providing a Monday Motivation challenge to your readers and your internet is down and won’t give you access. You write a Tuesday Motivation Challenge. That’s why you are receiving this today.
Last week I conducted a group mentoring session on Self-Care for leaders in a human service organisation. While this is a most important leadership skill for all leaders in these unpredictable and changing times, the motivations that lead people to work in the human service field make it all the more challenging. I have quite a number of people on my mailing list who work in the human service sector so this blog is being written for them. Its content, however, is very relevant to all professional leaders.
As human service professionals, you do the work you do because you are motivated and inspired to care for others, to make a difference in peoples’ lives, to bring empathy and compassion to them. Yet while you are busy taking care of others, you too often fail to take care of yourself. You feel self-care is an indulgence, or it is selfishness.
When you don’t take care of yourself, however, there is a risk you become the very epitome of the professional you don’t want to be. You become impatient, abrupt, intolerant, stressed and lacking in energy and too often you don’t recognise it in yourself. You have become drained of the very qualities you need to excel at your work, to give those you care for the attention they need.
Change and unpredictability is the new normal. Nothing is going to change any time soon. You will face increasing pressure and stress. You can tend to blame the work load, or the difficult clients, or your manager or CEO, or the government, anybody and everybody for doing this to you, when, in fact, in your lack of self-care you have done it to yourself.
12 Self-Care Practices
Here are 12 practices that you can take on board which will make a big difference to you as a caring professional and to the people whom you serve every day.
- Get clear about your WHY. If you know your WHY, the HOW is easy. This is what guides and underpins everything you do.
- Get clear about your priorities. Your underlying WHY will always remain the same, but your priorities for living that WHY may change from day to day.
- Change your mindset. Self-care is not selfishness nor an indulgence. It is the only way you can give everything you have to give, the only way to ensure you can live your WHY.
- Make self-discipline a valuable life skill. Be persistent and consistent.
Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do,
when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
- Learn to set appropriate boundaries on your relationships with clients, residents, family, friends and everyone you interact with.
- Learn how to say No and feel good about it.
- Stop being the rescuer of everyone.
- Abandon your Messiah Complex because there is no way you can help everyone.
- Don’t try and go it alone. Build networks of supportive professional colleagues, both within and outside your organisation, people who are empowered and empowering.
- Become aware early of when you are experiencing compassion fatigue and get support to manage it.
- Learn to stop, when the going gets tough, slow down, step back and reflect on what you need to do next.
- Change is the new normal and change fatigue can overwhelm. Learn ways to work with change.
My Motivational Challenge This Week
Stop and take some time out for reflection on your work.
Reflect on what you need to KEEP DOING because it energises you, keeps you focused and you just know you are the best version of yourself when you are doing those things and acting that way.
Reflect on what you need to STOP DOING because those things have the exact opposite effect. They drain your energy, dis-empower you and lead you to be the exact opposite of the professional you want to be. They even depress you.
Lastly look at the 12 practices above and reflect on what you need to START DOING. Don’t try and do everything. Choose 1-2 of those practices that you believe would make a huge difference for you and make them part of your daily self-care committment.