As you know, we have a lot invested in you taking good care of yourself because we know that you are your instrument. If you’re not taking good care of yourself, you’ll be more tired, less creative, more reactive, and less resilient in the face of all that’s coming at you.
That said, you may be asking, What does it really mean to take care of myself? Followed by all the ways your life and the world is pressing you to ignore your own needs.
Things like work deadlines, kids’ needs, holiday activities, concerns about the country, health issues that you or a family member are facing, then of course there is the house that needs cleaning, the groceries that need buying, and the car that needs maintenance, and so on. It’s a lot.
So, when we say take care of yourself, here’s what we really mean.
We mean, taking a few minutes to think about what you would do for yourself if you were to matter to yourself.
Start by thinking broadly and consider things like: I’d get more sleep, I’d run more, I’d eat healthy, I’d spend time with people I love, I’d spend time alone, I’d write that novel I’ve been thinking about. Now write them down.
Then think about the realities of your life, your moments, days, weeks, and months.
At this point, you may be feeling like you want to stop reading this, but keep going!
Why the heck would we ask you to think about how you'd take care of yourself and then immediately remind you that there is nothing you can do given all that you have going on in your life at this time?
Well, because there are some things you can do. And they will help. And they will help in small ways. And many small ways can make life better.
So, once you've considered the ways you'd take care of yourself and then considered the realities of your life, pick 3 things that will make the most significant difference in your physical and mental health.
For Stephanie, it's sleep, eating well, and time alone. For Linda, it's moving for 30 minutes 5-6 days per week, time to read most days, and sleep.
What are your 3?
Once you have your 3, identify the small steps you can take to move your toward them.
If one of yours is sleep, consider getting to bed 15-30 minutes earlier. Not a big change, but one you may be able to do.
If it’s eating well, add some veggies to your day—every day—and for now don’t worry about the chocolate.
If time alone is on your list, it can be challenging but being aware of your time in your car, in the bathroom, or in the mornings before people wake up can be helpful.
Exercising more can be something that's overwhelming to people when they believe it has to be all at once, but walking a bit farther to your car, or down your stairs from your office can help. Linda tracks her steps with a FitBit aiming for (and rarely getting) 10,000 steps 5-6 days a week.
Think small and don’t assume that small won’t help. What we know is that small steps taken consistently (enough) over time will help you matter in your own life. And when you get off track, be very gentle to yourself, and start again.
You matter to us. We hope you'll start to genuinely matter to you.
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting
Still feeling like you need to add more hours to your day? You may not have the right things on your to-do list. We’d love to support you in finding a better work-life balance with our Productivity Coaching services. Click to find out more.