Loving Yourself and Each Other
When we think of the word “Love” we may associate it with a feeling or an emotion. A feeling perhaps with the act of falling in love in a relationship or an emotion from “loving” something or someone so deeply.
However, the word “Love” can also be an action, the act of displaying kindness, sympathy, empathy or even the most important love of all, love of yourself.
As leaders it is important to do both; love ourselves and love each other. In order for us to do the valuable work we were put on this earth to do, we must take care of ourselves first. We are no good to those we lead if we don’t take care of ourselves. This means planning pockets of time and intention daily to work on your own personal self care.
Sit down and analyze how much time you spend on yourself in a week! I started a new system, inspired by Rachel Hollis after the new year using my Google calendar. She shared a tip that in order to view a week, month or even a year at a glance, color code your “me” time in a certain color on your calendar. Mine is yellow :) Go back over your week, month or year and see how much actual time you spend on taking care of yourself.
During the pandemic we all spent much of our time in reactive mode and at times became numb to the endless rollercoaster of ups and downs. We may have even been guilty of wearing pajama pants around all day or sleeping until noon!
Well guys, it’s 2021 for goodness sakes and we must move forward as leaders to set an example. Here are a couple of tips to manage your self care:
- Get enough sleep - This one is hard but research shows that those people who get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night are 25% more productive and have more energy. Makes sense!
- Drink plenty of water - Measure how much water you drink a day. Ideally you should be drinking your bodyweight in ounces. If you are 140 lbs, drink 140 ounces of water.
- Start a new hobby - Try something new in your life. Research shows that people who have hobbies outside of their normal work or school schedule are less likely to suffer from stress and anxiety.
- Pamper yourself - Schedule a massage, a day out with friends, a haircut or a pedicure. Adding pockets of time to do something physically for yourself makes you feel better.
- Exercise- Many times we put exercise on the back burner. Make exercise a lifetime habit. Most people don’t stick to their exercise goals because their goals are too big. Start with little steps such as working out 2-3 times a week with short workout times.
- Eat healthy and well balanced meals - Another easier said than done tip as we are all busy and it is more convenient to grab the quick “unhealthy” option rather than to plan ahead to make smart choices on the food you eat. Take time to plan out what you eat daily.
- Meditation/Yoga- Put on your headphones or take a yoga class. Meditation and yoga are some of the best activities for calming the body and the mind.
- Gratitude Journaling or Reflection - Fit in 5 minutes of gratitude into your daily routine. Research has shown that gratitude makes you happier.
When you operate more confidently, have more energy and have a positive mindset, this becomes a ripple effect into the lives of others. Think of the action of love for others kind of like a bank account ; there are deposits and there are withdrawals, and healthy relationships depend on the right balance of both.
Deposits are kindness acts such as listening, spending quality time, writing a thank you card or giving a compliment to someone. Withdrawals, on the other hand, are the opposite of deposits, and can sometimes have a negative effect on relationships and friendships.
With your own ripple effect of love and kindness, you want your goal to be about building habits —habits of positive deposits with your family, your friends, and your community. The more kindness you deposit, the more your account grows. But the more withdrawals you have, the less you will have in your account. There are times when you’ll need to make a withdrawal from your account, but just like with your bank account, if you withdraw when there are no deposits, you run into trouble! Building up those kindness deposits is key!
So what are some ways you can practice these deposits of kindness as you take action on loving others in your leadership? Here are five suggestions to try:
- Understand and listen to someone when you are in conversation. Look them in the eye and actively listen to what they have to say. Empathize with how they feel and express genuine kindness to them.
- Keep your commitments. Think about how you feel when someone keeps their promise of doing what they said they were going to do. (It feels good, right?) Follow through and do what you say you’re going to do.
- Always be honest. Do so gently and with care, but never lie to cover up your feelings or actions. In relationships, trust is built when you show your ability to be honest, which means being authentic and not pretending.
- Do the little things. You can honor and show respect for others through small acts of kindness, like a hug, a smile, or doing something you didn’t “have” to do.
- Apologize when you have to make a withdrawal. You’ll make mistakes; it’s part of life. But when you see you have violated someone’s trust, a sincere apology is the best start to reversing the damage.
Loving yourself and loving those you lead is a key value in being a successful leader. Start with yourself and the ripple effect of kindness will spill over into others. The ripple effect of kindness starts with you, and it starts with your positive actions toward yourself and others. Encourage yourselves leaders to lead with “Love” in your heart!