The subtle way of saying, “It’s ok to be selfish.”
We’re all swamped. We are juggling countless roles, moving to the “next thing”, and sidelining ourselves in the process. It took me a while, but I’ve finally learned to grant myself the permission to put self-care on that priority list. I’m sharing this personal journey, my reflections, not as a playbook, but as a gentle nudge. My hope? Maybe my reflections will offer you a spark of inspiration, or better yet, the permission you might be seeking to prioritize yourself, too. Here are the five areas I believe are essential to operate at your highest potential. Coincidentally, they are all “s” words.
Entrepreneurship isn’t merely a professional challenge; it’s an emotional roller-coaster. Navigating through the responsibilities of being a board member, a community member, parent, and spouse often left my mental well-being in the shadows. Until I embraced counseling. Having an objective third-party, to help me untangle the thoughts, feelings and even opportunities I struggle through regularly has proved transformative.
The COVID-19 pandemic had many, including me, retreating to the confines of home, with personal health unintentionally neglected. Inspired by Jonah Hill’s documentary “Stutz” on Netflix, I recognized the need to redefine fitness. It’s not about the numbers on a scale but about the mindset. Physical activity isn’t just for the body but also nourishes the soul and mind. Today, I count the days I walk into the gym or engage in physical activity – instead of counting calories or pounds.
The modern work-from-home culture, while providing comfort, can also lead to isolation. A recent move to Boise, ID unintentionally (but not surprisingly) created distance from my community in Seattle, WA. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that as a social creature, I needed to carve out time to connect with those I care about most. Social connections, as highlighted by Harvard Business Review, aren’t a luxury; they’re vital for our holistic health, equating the benefits of giving up smoking.
In our fast-paced world, moments of stillness are rare yet vital. This realization came on a long drive to a wedding in Norther Idaho – 18 hours of drive time to be specific. The hours were spent delving into thought-provoking podcasts and reflecting on their insights. Too often we listen but miss the opportunity to reflect. But there is power in the pause. It allows us to process and absorb, often ignite the most innovative ideas.
With the assistance of an Oura ring, I have begun to understand my sleep patterns better. I now know when the optimal bedtime is, duration of sleep and am beginning to see the impact of alcohol on the quality of my rest. And the quality is significantly more important than the quantity. Research from the National Sleep Foundation has long emphasized the integral role of sleep in ensuring peak performance. Understanding one’s sleep rhythms can be the key to unlocking day-long vitality.
For entrepreneurs and business leaders, the mantra often is “keep pushing forward.” Yet, I’ve realized that to make meaningful progress, we must pause, reflect, and care for oneself. Through understanding and nurturing these five areas, I’ve seen great progress in my life – and I’ve just started. My insights are shared in the hope that you will find inspiration to prioritize your well-being. You have my permission. I hope you’ll give it to yourself as well.