My Oxygen Mask

When we started the coaching session and she stated that she is dealing with many tough issues daily, I was getting in gear for a rather intense coaching session. But then she took the wind out of my sails! Marderé I’m loving this, I am navigating between issues and I’m in flow. Well, that took the wind out of my sails completely.

My question was what are you doing right, and the response – the oxygen mask. “Every morning when I wake up, I take care of me first. I meditate, write in my gratitude journal, exercise and then take on the world. This practice gives me a calm, mental clarity, energy and capacity to deal with whatever is thrown my way. Since I started this practice, my leadership role, tough decisions, the pandemic, isolation, family challenges are all manageable. “

Self-care is probably the most important aspect of leadership. One of my other favourite sayings is that you cannot pour from an empty teapot. Self-care fills the teapot and gives you the capacity lead.

5 tips to make self-care a priority in your busy schedule:

  1. Schedule it. Believe that investing time for yourself daily is the most important task for the day. A vehicle doesn’t travel without gas (or a charged battery). You are the vehicle. As long as you are filled up, and the battery charged, you will have the capacity to lead.
  2. Develop a routine. Find the ways in which your battery gets charged. We are all different, and it often takes more than the obvious elements (sleep, diet, exercise) to keep yourself filled up and operating at full tilt.
  3. Get stuff out of your head. Walking around with a lot of noise and milling thoughts in your head slows you down. Most people roll their eyes when I say journal, and I do believe that writing everything in your head is cathartic in many ways, there is a plan B – talk it out, talk to a recording device, schedule a coaching call, draw a mind map. The process of emptying your head creates clarity and makes space for new ideas.
  4. Detach. Go for a walk and focus on what is around you. This is a well-known strategy to defuse anxiety, it also helps with overwhelm or simply detaching from the world and taking a 30-minute break. In this walk find 5 things that you can see, smell, hear, feel, and taste. Your busy brain will thank you every time.
  5. Kindness. Be kind to yourself. Watch your internal dialogue, speak to yourself as you would to a dear friend or lover.

Quote from Carolina…

PS: Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity. Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes flow as a state of complete immersion in an activity. While in this mental state, people are completely involved and focused on what they are doing. “There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback,”

There are more conditions required to achieve a state of flow in the workplace. Self-care is a foundational starting point. More on this topic next week