Today we have a guest blog from John Foster who has done an excellent job of writing about the value of self care. This has a knock on effect for your sleep, health and immune system.

Self-care isn’t just a catchy concept being thrown around on social media. Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201905/self-care-is-important-why-is-it-so-hard-practice reports that self-care refers to a legitimate need from a mental health perspective. By showing yourself compassion and taking care of yourself emotionally and physically, you set yourself up for a happier and healthier life. Plus, when you are feeling fit, everyday challenges become more manageable — and stress you out less. What’s more, taking care of yourself will help you become a better leader, since you’ll be more physically and emotionally equipped to solve problems in your business.  https://suefirthltd.com/solving-people-problems-in-business/ as well as motivate and inspire your team members. That said, practicing self-care is easier said than done. Let these tips inspire you.

Don’t let vacation time go unused

Over half of Americans don’t take all their paid vacation and here in the UK we are probably the same. According to Market Watch, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/55-of-american-workers-dont-take-all-their-paid-vacation-2016-06-15 many are afraid that they will get behind on work and that their careers will suffer as a result. The truth is that taking time off allows you to regain energy and return to work in a more focused and productive state.

Of course, many people don’t feel safe traveling and taking a bona fide vacation right now due to the pandemic.  But, don’t let that keep you from taking time off. Taking a few days to explore the natural beauty in your area or even just relaxing on the couch with your favourite podcast or TV show gives you space from your job so you can return feeling reenergized. You can even create a staycation experience that rivals an actual getaway with the right strategies https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/7-ways-to-make-your-staycation-feel-like-a-real-vacation.html.

Create a stress-free home environment

When you get back from your staycation, commit to creating a home environment that is comfortable and conducive to relaxation https://www.redfin.com/blog/clearing-bad-energy-from-your-home/ . Start by tackling clutter, which is proven to cause anxiety https://www.scarymommy.com/clutter-causes-anxiety/. Cleaning and organizing your home is thus also a form of self-care. Get organizer boxes you can fit under beds and in closets, and put your odds and ends in these, out of everyday sight.https://www.bustle.com/p/the-4-best-under-bed-storage-organizers-16979109

You can make your space more relaxing by adding soothing touches, such as photos of family and friends. You can also incorporate oil diffusers: Smells can trigger memories and impact emotions http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_emotion.html. Look for scents that are proven to foster good feelings. Chamomile https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/best-essential-oils-anxiety-depression/ is shown to have a calming impact, while the aroma of peppermint will leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.

Incorporate meditation into your daily routine

Once your house is clean and organized, set aside a small corner https://leftbrainbuddha.com/create-a-meditation-space-in-your-home/ that you can use for meditation. This practice encourages you to be mindful and focus on the moment instead of stressing about things you can’t control. It’s been shown that meditation actually has a positive impact on the brain,https://www.medicaldaily.com/mental-health-benefits-meditation-itll-alter-your-brains-grey-matter-and-improve-319298  enhancing sense of self and combatting anxiety.

You can also consider combining meditation with yoga https://weknowyoga.com/4-ways-yoga-and-meditation-can-mellow-the-mind-and-soothe-the-soul/—the two activities often go hand-in-hand. Both require you to focus your energy inward by paying attention to breathing and the physicality of your body. Yoga will also increase strength and flexibility. Such exercise is also a great way to produce endorphins to enhance your mood.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep

Sleep is an opportunity for your body and brain to recharge their batteries. The Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898 suggests that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you have trouble falling asleep when you lie down, try cutting down on caffeine and staying off tablets and phones at least two hours before bed. The blue light https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side these devices emit will keep you up.

Adopting these self-care habits can improve your overall sense of well-being. Making such life-altering changes can feel daunting at first, but give yourself time. Studies show it takes about 66 days https://metro.co.uk/2016/12/30/how-long-does-it-take-to-change-a-habit-6351291/ to form a new habit. Be patient with yourself and rest assured knowing that with time, these habits will feel perfectly natural. Once they’re established, you will be feeling better and more in control of your life, and you’ll be a better leader for it. If you’re looking to build your leadership skills even further, be sure to reach out to me, as I’m an expert Performance Coach and Business Psychologist who will help you incorporate these and other self-care habits to take your leadership abilities to the next level!

If you’d like more information about John, you can find his site here https://suicidalthoughts.info/

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