Yes, yes and yes! Without self-care, you cannot perform at your best.

So, what is self-care anyway?

In a more obvious sense, self-care refers to getting enough sleep, eating properly, getting exercise, making time to unwind from a busy day, getting regular medical check-ups, taking care of your personal grooming and hygiene, and minimizing unhealthy habits like excessive eating, drinking or smoking.

I have my own interpretation of self-care.

It starts with ownership.

Take back control of your life, your schedule and even your destiny. Stop handing over your peace of mind to your company, your boss or your co-workers. Stop being a victim; being at the mercy of the circumstances around you.

Do any of the following statements sound familiar?

  • My boss sends me emails at 11 p.m., so I have to respond
  • I have so much work to do. If I take a vacation, it will only be worse when I get back
  • My-co-worker is on his cell phone; he’s lazy, he’s late, he makes mistakes, so I have to fill in
  • I have a heavy workload and my boss keeps adding more and more, and neither my job title nor salary has not changed
  • My boss gives my annual performance evaluation, and he doesn’t even know what I do so I don’t get a high enough rating
  • I have a young family so I can only work 9-5 and I feel like I’m not doing the same amount of work as my colleagues – I’m always pressed for time
  • I have to work long hours to get everything done

It’s time to get off the treadmill and get back on track.  How can you possibly live a happy and healthy life when you are always running to keep up and to deliver what someone else expects of you whether it is reasonable or not?

Yes, I get it, we need our jobs because we need the income. But we don’t need to sacrifice our happiness to earn a living.

It starts with you.  Take time out to decide what you want. You choose your availability for work. In most cases, the boss sends emails at night because that is the only time he/she has to get them out. You get to decide if you are available after hours to respond or not.

How can you enjoy your family if you are stressed out at work? Many people unleash that stress on their families – they are impatient, they rush their kids to get to bed, they snap at their spouse, and the smallest form of conflict turns in to something bigger.

You decide:

  • I will enjoy my family time and “be in the moment” when I am with them – no external influences. That is a choice you make about your personal life – not your company. Do not return emails after hours unless it is urgent. Let your boss know that you will respond accordingly.
  • You chose to have a family. You also chose to have a job. You should not have to sacrifice one for the other. Be productive and positive at work and don’t feel guilty for leaving at 5. You have some precious people who need you at home. People put in extra hours for many reasons – their job is all they have so they like to be there as much as possible, they are not competent to do their work in the designated time frame and too afraid to speak up and ask for help or the job is too big for one person.
  • If my workload is too heavy that I have to work excessive and consistent overtime and I can’t afford the time to take a vacation (and I am fully qualified, trained and productive), then I need to have a conversation with my boss. I need to find a more efficient way to do my job, or I need help. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you don’t, the boss may never know that the job is too much for one person.
  • If you don’t feel your performance review was fair, then come prepared in the first place. Know your specific accomplishments, have examples ready and even seek feedback from those you interact with the most. Present that to your boss.

If you do not agree with something at work, you must speak up. Otherwise, resentment sets in, and it shows.

Speak up to your boss about your concerns, asking for context or clarification. Set your own boundaries.

The worst-case scenario is that you work for a taskmaster with zero empathy or a company culture that doesn’t care about its people.  If that is the case – then it is likely time to find a new job in an organization that is better aligned with who you are.

The greatest form of self-care is to decide what is important in your life, then take charge of your circumstances. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by people’s responses and your own ability to influence others to see work differently.