Incorporating Self-Care Practices Into Leadership

As a leader, your days are filled with juggling various tasks, managing teams, making strategic decisions, and pushing your limits to reach your goals. It’s a rewarding role, but it's also grueling. As you strive to be the best leader you can be, the concept of self-care might seem incongruous - or even selfish - in a role that demands such extensive focus on others. But here's a truth that can revolutionize your leadership style: integrating self-care into your busy schedule is not only beneficial; it's absolutely essential. 

Self-care is not a luxury; it's a necessity. It's not just about alleviating stress but also about ensuring optimal health, which in turn increases productivity and enhances leadership abilities.

While it may be challenging to squeeze in self-care amidst the hustle and bustle, remember that the time you invest in yourself will pay off. For me, I've learned the hard way. I have been a road warrior for decades, rarely saying no and often working 'round the clock on tasks dictated by other people's sense of urgency but not strategically important for my long-term goals. This constant expenditure of energy, in fits and starts, scattered and blown this way and that by other people's wind takes a tollphysically and emotionally. I'm now at the point where my body is revolting. I have aches and pains that have been in the making for years. It's more difficult to jump-start my brain let alone maintain long, uninterrupted periods of focus so necessary for deep work–the strategic work that is the essential role of leaders.

It's not just me: 

Leaders who practice self-care tend to exhibit transformational leadership styles. They are more likely to be empathetic, patient, and emotionally intelligent. This is because self-care activities such as mindfulness, meditation, and physical exercise can enhance emotional regulation and cognitive function. This leads to leaders who are equipped to inspire and motivate their teams and foster a positive work environment. 

Self-care can also directly impact team performance. Leaders who are well-rested and less stressed can make more effective decisions, communicate more clearly, and manage conflicts more effectively. This can lead to improved team cohesion, increased productivity, and higher levels of job satisfaction.

Moreover, as leaders, we model the way. Leaders who demonstrate that they value self-care encourage team members to also prioritize their own well-being. This can lead to reduced burnout and stress among team members, elevating organizational well-being and team performance.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” 

- Audre Lord

At the end of the day, self-care, for me, is about aligning with my own values. For too long, I have focused on being "productive," "responsive," and "available." Though none of those attributes are bad, sole focus on them to the detriment of a larger vision of one's leadership goals, commitments, aspirations, and sense of purpose can be the downfall of any leader, upcoming or arrived. Like Lord’s famous quote, each of us has the potential to deeply effect change–for the better. But truly impactful change only comes with meaningful, focused, and strategic investment, all of which require strength, energy, clarity, and consistency over time. 

Be well, rested, and filled with the energy to pursue meaningful goals, my friends.

Tons of love from me to you, 



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DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) guides leaders and organizations on a journey that builds capacity, strengthens innovation, and increases organizational performance by creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment.

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