In recent news, Elon Musk proclaimed that he would be sleeping at the Tesla factory until production levels reached adequate levels. In many news reports, Musk’s comment was celebrated and praised as a business hero. And while businesses should do everything they can to meet predictions and promises made to the public, Elon’s comment can also cause others to fall victim to the assumption that unless they make drastic measures, they won’t be considered a hard worker or successful in the eyes of others.
As the current landscape and media celebrate over-ambition and the “hustle mentality”, the data and studies around work-life satisfaction actually shows the importance of self-care. A recent study performed by Porch surveyed over 1,000 individuals and discovered highly-successful people are more likely to get more sleep, eat less frozen meals, and spend more time cleaning. With this study and many others showing the importance of self-care, why is there such a major disconnect for so many? According to Leigh Weingus, senior editor at mindbodygreen.com, many people approach self-care with the mentality that they must make a radical and significant shift, often disrupting how they previously lived. Because of this, the overwhelming and ambitious plans do not stick, and the individual falls back into the same path.
So if large lifestyle resolutions aren’t working, what’s the solution for improving self-care? Leigh Weingus recommends starting small, even if it’s just dedicating 10 minutes each morning or evening for meditation or reflection. If your adjustment is around eating habits or exercise, pick an easy goal that can be maintained over time and formed into a habit. By focusing on a small, easy to accomplish goal, you will be more likely to stick with it longer, and as a result, you will see the benefits sooner.
If you’re struggling to determine what small, actionable lifestyle changes to make in your life, consider one of the following:
Exercise: If the word alone causes you stress, think of it differently. If you enjoy the outdoors, spend time each month going on a hike or going for a walk with a friend. The benefits of exercise go beyond physical. Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and prepare for an upcoming stressful week at work.
Meditation: Find a quiet place to spend 10 minutes each morning, free of technology and distractions.
Psychologist: Find someone that you trust to share your feelings and challenges with. If you just moved to a new area and don’t have any strong relationships, look into going to see a psychologist to help process stress and manage yourself.
Reading: Spend time reading for enjoyment and on a topic outside of your career field. If you’re a CEO, reading the latest management book may cause you to think about workplace challenges and stress even more, so find something completely unrelated.