In pursuing life and career goals, prioritising self-care is often overlooked. As a dedicated Career and Performance coach, I’m thrilled to share practical steps to empower you on your journey. My work as a practising General Practitioner in the United Kingdom adds a medical emphasis. Let’s explore how intentional self-care can be the key to unlocking progress and success.
Self-Care in Ten Steps
1. Define Your Boundaries:
Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. This ensures dedicated time for relaxation, hobbies, and relationships, preventing burnout and fostering a healthy work-life balance.
Helpful Hint: How often do you visit these boundaries? Start by knowing what is essential for you to have a good balance. Add these activities or requirements to your calendar and create ‘Time Blocks’.
2. Mindful Moments Throughout the Day:
Integrate short, mindful breaks into your daily routine. Whether it’s a few minutes of deep breathing, a walk in nature, or a moment of gratitude, these pauses contribute to mental clarity and overall well-being.
Helpful Hint: A morning and evening gratitude practice can be simple and energising. Take a walk outside of your workspace or environment. How does it energise you? If it does not, then what do you need to add?
3. Prioritise Quality Sleep:
Sleep is a foundation for success. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Create a calming bedtime routine, minimise screen time before sleep, and invest in a comfortable sleep environment to optimise your rest.
Helpful Hint: Meditation and a calming breath technique can do wonders before you sleep and the latter if you wake up again.
4. Nutrition as Fuel:
Fuel your body with nourishing foods. Incorporate a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Hydration is key, too—ensure you’re drinking enough water to keep your body and mind functioning at their best.
Helpful Hint: Drink 2 litres or more of water. Add another litre during or after exercise routines.
5. Regular Physical Activity:
Find joy in movement. Regular physical activity enhances your physical health and boosts mood and energy levels, whether it’s a workout, a dance session, or a peaceful walk.
Helpful Hint: Exercise boosts endorphins, your feel-good factor. Did you know they resemble opiate drugs and are neurotransmitters or neuromodulators that help regulate the feelings of pleasure, pain, and hunger? Pleasure, I will take any day!
6. Reflect and Journal:
Set aside time for self-reflection. Journaling can be a powerful tool to process emotions, track achievements, and set intentions. This practice enhances self-awareness, a cornerstone of personal and professional growth.
Helpful Hint: Learning from what you do daily is essential for growth. Learning how your emotions affect your actions is even better for growth. I use an emotions journal I have created to help me here.
7. Connect Socially:
Cultivate meaningful connections. Spend time with friends, family, or colleagues who uplift and support you. Social connections contribute significantly to emotional well-being and provide a valuable personal and career development network.
Helpful Hint: Take on new opportunities to make connections, whether small or scary! You never know the connection or the client you will gain. Go to these events without a purpose and open yourself to all opportunities.
8. Learn to Say No:
Practice the art of saying no when needed. Setting boundaries and managing your commitments ensures you can focus on priorities and avoid spreading yourself too thin, maintaining a healthy balance in your life.
Helpful Hints: A NO list is a must! Check out my past blog from 6th November on the ‘Art of saying NO’. An essential read. Add to this NO list to maintain your existing and new boundaries.
9. Incorporate Relaxation Techniques:
Explore relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or visualisation. These practices reduce stress and enhance your ability to approach challenges calmly and focused.
Helpful Hints: I use a MUSE headband that provides quality data for my meditation sessions. It inspires me to continue as data confirms its effects and aligns with my feelings. If you want to know more and get a special 20% off, use this link: MUSE.
10. Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small:
Acknowledge your accomplishments. Celebrate both major milestones and small victories along the way. This positive reinforcement fuels motivation and strengthens your belief in your capabilities.
Helpful Hint: Go one step further, add future accomplishments to your calendar and create a plan for celebration. A holiday to celebrate success always goes down well for me. It also enhances my ability to achieve my goal, whether monetary or another step in my career.
Food for the mind
Remember, investing in your well-being is an investment in your success. By incorporating these self-care practices into your routine, you’re nurturing yourself and laying the foundation for sustained progress in your life and career.
If you fall off the well-being schedule, acknowledge it and be kind to yourself. It happens to us all. Sometimes, we must make even more time due to life events, illness, and busy schedules. Learn from these occurrences and start asking and coaching yourself for self-accountability.
What got in the way? How did my focus fall? What did I do last time this happened? How did I get back on track? What did I need for it? What did not work for me in the past? When can I restart my well-being regime? The answer should be Now. Why wait? Take small steps until you achieve success again.
Here’s to your holistic well-being and the achievements that lie ahead!
Dr Tisha Patel
Career and Performance Coach, NHS GP Director, UK
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