1. Schedule your self-care time first: If you stop and think about it, you probably have a few routines that are critical to your ability to take care of yourself. It could be exercise, quiet time, reading or something else. When you’re planning your calendar, schedule those times first. For me, it’s yoga. I’ve learned in the last year that it’s my killer app of self-care as it provides physical, mental, relational and spiritual benefits. Yoga classes are the first things that go onto my calendar. It has to be something really important for me to skip. Otherwise, I’m showing up on the mat at the appointed time. The return on time invested is worth it in maintaining my ability to serve others at work and at home.
2. Get your sleep: The idea that real leaders are Type A warriors who get by on four hours of sleep a night is a myth. Most of us can’t do that on a sustained basis without a serious degradation of performance. The research (as summarized in the New York Times) proves it. When I had the opportunity to go on patrol with the crew of the US Coast Guard Venturous earlier this year, I was impressed that the Captain was disciplined about when he went to bed. He told me that he never knew when he’d have to get up in the middle of the night to deal with something unexpected so he made sure he got to bed most nights at a reasonable hour. When emergencies come up, you want to be operating at your best.
3. Eat right and regularly. There’s an old law of computer programming – garbage in, garbage out. The same rule applies to our bodies. Grabbing a fast food meal and a cup of coffee or a soda when you can squeeze it in is not a great strategy for long-term health or success. For a straightforward approach to the healthy alternative, follow the advice of Michael Pollan and make fruits, vegetables and lean protein the staples of your diet. If you’re looking for simple and tasty recipes for healthy meals, check out my wife, Diane’s, blog at thewholegang.org. She has more than 500 of them there.OK, those are three tips and some resource links to get the conversation started. What’s your best advice for “putting your own mask on first"?