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The Importance of Self-Care and Wellness

Woman in workout clothes running by the beach

By: Bridget Pooley, Mission Partners COO + May Robinson, Mission Partners Director of Community Engagement

When we don’t take care of ourselves, we pay a price — especially during this crisis: innovation, creativity, resilience, empathy, decision-making and team building are the first to disappear when we are burned out and depleted.” -Arianna Huffington

The new normal is weighing down on many of us. We are living in a period of grief, uncertainty, loss, instability, and great transition. Any one of those experiences alone is enough to require additional self-care but the combination of everything together makes it even more critical that we make time for ourselves. With this in mind, Mission Partners has found new ways to prioritize our team’s self-care. We developed additional emergency benefits, including the increase of paid time off (PTO) hours that are specifically available during the mandated stay-at-home period to encourage team members to take mental health days. Because of our commitment to mental and physical wellness, we wanted to bring our community together to share additional tips to heal our minds, bodies, and spirits.

Below is a recap of our second community conversation on April 23 titled The Importance of Self-Care and Wellness.

Overcoming Challenges

The biggest challenge people who struggle with self-care have is putting the needs of family, friends, coworkers, and bosses before our own needs. A couple of reasons why we must stop putting our own needs aside:

  • Physical, emotional, and cognitive stress are linked: If you find yourself hitting roadblocks at work or being irritable toward friends and family, it may be because you are not properly taking care of yourself. Your mind, body, and spirit are all linked, so you must replenish each of these to show up as your best self everyday. If one thing is off balance, everything else will become imbalanced.
  • Without a stable foundation, you won’t be productive: The imbalances created when you aren’t taking care of yourself will cause a lack in productivity, motivation, and even your ability to care for others.

Self-Care Strategies

It’s healthy to remember that we don’t need to tackle self-care all at once. If we can do one small thing for ourselves each day, we will get closer to restoring balance. Here are some simple strategies for you:

  • Just breathe: Take a deep breath. Recognize that you are here. You are still standing. You. Are. Here. “Someone asked me the other day why I wonder so much about breathing. It’s a thing we just do naturally and I said yes, and even though we do it, we do not all do it well. We do not breathe deep and true in a way that feeds our bodies, hearts, and lives.” -Brian Andreas
  • Develop a routine: Take a little bit of time during your evenings to plan your activities for the next day. Go to bed early, so you can wake up early and have focused time to pray, meditate, or go outside to ground yourself before tackling the day’s tasks.
  • Fuel your body: Remember to eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Build time in your work schedule for these important meal breaks. You may also consider a temporary fast to physically and spiritually detox.
  • Get moving: This can be a simple stretch, a short or long walk outside, a run, a virtual fitness activity, or even dancing. You can start or end your day with movement, or take movement breaks throughout the day.
  • Change your environment: Add things that make you happy to your working space: aromatherapy with candles or essential oils, artwork, plants, or anything else to brighten up your home office. You can also change your environment by going outside in the middle of the day to refresh.
  • Find ways to connect with others: While you can’t physically be together, find a way to connect with your loved ones everyday through a daily family joke thread, videos, or even just having breakfast together as a family or lunch with your dog.

Choose Joy

Accept the things you cannot change, but acknowledge that the one thing you have control of is your ability to choose joy everyday.

  • Write a love letter to yourself: Remind yourself of your beauty, talents, your big wins, and everything you bring to this world.
  • Practice gratitude: Think about one thing you are grateful for each day. Maybe it’s the family and friends you have had more opportunities to connect with each day, or if you live with others, relish in the little moments you share with them now.
  • Be present: Don’t multitask. Turn off your social media or text notifications while you are working. Close your work laptop when you are with family. Be present, even when you are outside. Stop and look at the flowers, the trees, and the animals; appreciate the unique smells, the sensation of your feet hitting the ground beneath you, and the warm (or cold) breeze blowing through your hair.
  • Be intentional: Schedule time in your calendar for yourself. Consider using the timer feature in your phone to take a five minute break every hour to stretch, do desk yoga, or just breathe. Use a whiteboard to cross items off of your Self-Care To Do List everyday. Consider creating a vision board dedicated only to self-care, so you can remind yourself to make the space in your life for self-care.
  • Get rid of the noise: Unplug sometimes. Turn off the screens. Don’t consume as much news. There’s a lot going on in this world. It’s okay to ignore it sometimes (or a lot of times) and just be still and relax.
  • Do something kind for someone else: The joy we feel when we bring joy to others is a unique kind of self-care. Reach out to a friend who lives alone, send a care package to an essential worker, or create art for a family member.

Additional Resources

Some our community has found especially helpful include:

Join the Next Conversation

If you found value in these tips, we hope you will join us in our upcoming community conversations, where we bring together an intimate group of business and community leaders to exchange ideas on how we can get through this time together. Find details and register for upcoming virtual conversations here.

Past Community Conversations