4 Reasons Professionals Must Embrace Self-Care for Long-Term Success

Self-care is often misunderstood as pampering—something for unserious people. It’s not, it’s a critical part of maintaining quality of life and is something all professionals should be intentionally engaging in. Prioritizing our health and wellness gives us the energy we need to show up for those around us. It is an essential component of being a strong team member and performing our job to the best of our ability.

So, what is self-care?

Self-care is everything we do to care for ourselves. It is not the spa days and online shopping often depicted in pop culture and advertising. It’s eating foods that properly fuel our body, getting regular exercise, spending time with friends, and getting a good night’s rest. It’s more about doing our laundry than buying ourselves a new wardrobe.

This isn’t to say that treating ourselves isn’t nice, but we need to be specific about what self-care is. Self-care isn’t about treating yourself to what you want (or as the advertiser’s would say, deserve), it’s about what you need. For example, splurging on a nice experience or product that we can’t afford isn’t effective self-care because it will add to our stress.

So, why is it something we should consider as part of our job performance strategy?

1. It reduces stress and improves our performance.

Taking breaks is part of how we care for ourselves. This isn’t self-serving, it’s an important component of reducing stress, fatigue, and other negative effects. When taking a break, try to engage in self-care activities to maximize the benefits of your break. Keep your phone in your pocket and instead try to get outside, chat with a work friend, or stretch and stare out the window.

Pulling yourself away from work to do something for yourself can be hard when pressure is mounting, and deadlines are looming. However, taking intentional breaks will not just increase your productivity, but your accuracy and creativity as well. 

2. We can see things more clearly when we’re taking care of ourselves.

When we are eating and sleeping well and taking care of our bodies and minds, we’re able to think more clearly. Taking care of ourselves results in better cognitive ability as well as stronger focus and concentration. Clarity of thought will help you make stronger decisions for your business, your team, and yourself. 

3. We can self-regulate better.

If we are overstretching ourselves, it becomes harder and harder to self-regulate. This is because we wind up with a reduced capacity to manage emotional labour. By effectively managing our emotional labour, we build trust with those around us. They know that if they bring us a problem, we’ll be able to stay calm and help problem solve.

Specifically, getting exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain as well. It boosts your ability to think, solve problems, and find emotional balance. Taking the time to move your body is a way to improve your self-regulation and cognitive function. You don’t need to run a marathon, a walk or even stretching can add a boost to your day.

4. It builds our capacity.

Self-care allows us to build our energy and increase our capacity for work. Working longer hours isn’t as effective when it isn’t combined with self-care. Through intentional and daily acts of self-care, we can become more effective and satisfied in our life and work. In short, healthy habits build healthy lives and careers. 

Practice makes progress.

Caring for ourselves is a lifelong commitment but it’s important to take it one day at a time. Changing our habits in a way that makes us feel better seems like it should be simple, but it’s not. We all are creatures of habit (bad habits included) so engaging in meaningful self-care may take some work.

If you’re looking to make a change that will boost your performance at work, we’re currently running our wellness series called From Stress to Success. Join us and learn how to Balance Your Energy Reserves, Protect Your Sleep, and engage in Positive Vulnerability.

We’re here if you want to talk. Your greatness awaits.