Leaders help others. Whether it’s as a Life Recovery Group leader or a business leader, leadership impacts so many lives. If not careful though, leaders can take on too much. Even Jesus encouraged his disciples to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). To help find balance, here are seven solutions to self-care.
Getting organized is often the first step to self-care because it allows leaders to figure out exactly what is needed to take better care of themselves and lead others. Leaders have to know where their time is spent. In keeping track of time, it can be better utilized. No matter how busy the schedule seems, integrate self-care into life each day. Schedule it in!
Sitting quietly and reflecting can be a challenge as a leader. There is always something to do! But learning to detach from being a leader and getting away is good self-care. Remember to continue to do personal recovery work. Study the Bible, reflect, and journal about what God is doing and has done, in both personal life and in leadership. Pray for direction for leadership, as well as strength, clarity, and the grace to lead well.
Here’s a little secret more leaders need to be aware of: They don’t have to say “yes” to everything just because they are the leader and are in a position of influence. It’s okay to say “no” to things, and it’s healthy to communicate clear boundaries. Leadership will be more consistent, energized, and inspiring when communicated truthfully. It will also set the example for those who are being led to practice good boundaries in their own lives.
As a leader, there will be work to do. Always. So don’t forget to relax. Whether it’s going out to eat with friends or reading a book, make time for fun. This chill time is necessary and gives the leaders brain what it needs to relax. It can be hard to find time to relax but rest is a necessity for self-care. Turn off technology an hour or two before time to sleep. Avoid answering the phone or respond to texts 24/7; put phone on do not disturb. Go to bed early enough to get a full night’s sleep. This will help leaders be better prepared to lead as they practice some of these steps.
Leaders can do many things well but not all things well. Delegating helps others grow in their own lives which is a great way to lead others. Research shows that the more a person gets involved in a support group, the more likely they are to succeed in recovery. Step 12 also says to carry on the message of recovery—meaning, everyone needs to participate. As a leader, look for ways to allow others to share in the load where possible. Resist the need to do all the work, and know that it is good leadership to delegate!
Some leaders have hit a wall and feel like they are burning out. This is when leaders need to ask for help. Sometimes leadership creates a false belief that they cannot ask for help. This is the opposite of what recovery is all about! If leaders are struggling—whether they have relapsed or are just so tired—restoration is possible! Begin the process today by sharing with someone about the challenges, and then begin the process of healing. Maybe a leader needs to step aside. It may be for just a while, but don’t wait to ask for help. It is the first step in recovery!
Is self-care about doing something personal once in a while? No, definitely not! Self-care must be integrated into a leader’s life so that it very much becomes a part of the daily routine—like taking a shower and brushing teeth. Practicing self-care is part of living the life of recovery, not letting life get out of control. Rather incorporating the steps and all aspects of recovery into daily life.
Leading well begins with the leader. Take time today and add self-care. As a leader, you can be the best example!