Leadership and Coaching – Lessons on The Basics of Self Care

I would like to share some lessons I have learnt in my journey of coaching others and being coached. It is interesting that 3 areas of our lives that are as basic as one could get to self-preservation and health management are generally neglected by some of the most competent people. One may ask what these are as if it is a big secret? But actually they are simple and obvious – they are Diet, Sleep and Exercise.

The question I have is: How many of you have got these three licked? My experience is that it is a very small percentage of people (this is not a scientific assessment but a personal subjective one).

We all know and understand the value of these three critical areas but when life happens, work becomes hectic or life at home becomes challenging whether it be partners, children or just family in general, the first things that go out the window are one, two or all three of them. We eat on the go, grabbing the first fast food meal we can get, normally easy junk food – sounds about right, doesn’t it? We work longer and longer hours as if to believe we are being more productive, but we are actually depriving ourselves of much needed healing – as sleep is essential for restoring the damage done to our bodies during our waking hours from air pollution, stress, poor diets, illness and the list goes on. Oh and exercise finds itself completely off the To-Do list.

We promise ourselves we will do better tomorrow and that we will do the right things, only to repeat the bad habits the next day.

Then we use the weekends (if there is one for you) to try and catch-up on sleep, rest, etc. But then weekends become equally hectic: with kids, friends, families, functions, shopping, and so on. I hope you’re seeing visions of your life mirroring what I am saying …….. may be, may be not.

The point I would like to make at a very basic level is that we all know and understand this has to be fixed – but how? Well, let’s start with making these three items Priority 1 on your To-Do list, not 98, 99 and 100 on your list as they currently are. Even better, schedule them straight into your calendar as high priority items.

I am sure you are thinking that work is more important and all the other very important things on your To-Do lists, but think of this – if you fall ill and cannot work, what happens to your To-Do list. I am always fascinated how obsessed people are about their plans and meetings for the next day, but if they fall ill overnight and cannot go to work the next day, they are quite happy to call in sick and simply postpone or cancel the day’s schedule. So much for it being so important. I rest my point about priorities.

Think of the analogy of your car – you fill fuel when the tank is empty, you check the oil and tyre pressure, you regularly service the vehicle. In this way you know your vehicle is in good shape to take you places. So why don’t we do the same with our bodies which is much, much, much more important and valuable than our cars.

If we get these right, from my experience you feel better, you feel happier and you have more energy to tackle the day. As a personal example, I normally exercise each weekday morning and it really gets the day started on the best note possible.

I hope you get some value out of this article.

Attached is a link that speaks in-depth about the subject: Too tired to lead: Curating energy resilience by Mark Holtshousen https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/too-tired-lead-curating-energy-resilience-mark-holtshousen