Being in a role of leadership can take its toll. No matter who you are or what role you’re in—boss, CEO, manager, entrepreneur, or even a father—the weight of responsibility can grow heavy. In order to do our jobs well and do right by the people that are counting on us, it’s important not only to do our best by them but by ourselves, too.
We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. There are a great many aspects to balancing our own health so that we can be at our best for our co-workers, employees, and loved ones.
I’m a busy person. I travel a lot, I work, I have a beautiful family, and I’m always on the go—but I try to make a point to make time for myself. Burnout isn’t an option. Balance is.
5 Steps to Maintaining Health & Balance in Leadership
1) Break away with people you love.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the drive to “do” all the time that we can forget to spend time with the people in our lives that really matter to us. When it’s all said and done, we feel too tired or just want to be alone. We think we can just do it later. Truth be told, nothing energizes you or brings you more joy than just spending time with loved ones. Go to the park together. Barbeque outside. Take a walk or find an activity in your town. Have a family game night. Whatever it is, taking a few hours out of the week and dedicating them to your loved ones is the best way to feel connected to the people you love most.
You’ll feel refreshed from the daily grind and have the opportunity to laugh and lighten up. And if we’re honest, we could all use that.
2) Enjoy something, just for you.
Do you still have a hobby? For me, I love running. Obviously—I’ve dedicated a big chunk of this blog to the subject. Hobbies and side projects and small loves are really valuable, especially as we get older and get wrapped up with work and life and all of its many demands. We need things just for ourselves sometimes.
Maybe it’s not a hobby you want or need, but a ritual. Start a book and read for 20 minutes before bed. Take a warm bath at night a few times a week. Start getting up a little earlier so you can really savor a cup of coffee or have breakfast with your family.
Find something, just for you. Even if it’s only a small pleasure.
3) Get regular exercise.
I can’t overstate the importance of exercise. I promise I’m not just saying it because I like to exercise. It’s so important not only for our physical health but mental health, too. When we exercise, especially outdoors, we’re improving heart health, reducing depression, boosting our energy levels, and bringing in vitamin D (a mood booster).
Getting regular exercise promotes lifelong health and can extend your lifespan. You’ll be healthier overall with fewer health issues, which is just good all-around.
4) Prioritize an early sleep and an early rise.
In the working world, we really don’t value sleep as much as I think we ought to. So many people run on coffee and sleep deprivation and it’s just not a healthy way to live and work. Healthy sleep—somewhere between six and eight hours, starting at around nine or ten at night—makes all the difference in the world. Too often we like to stay up and get more done, especially when we get behind. Getting enough sleep, though, means we’ll actually be able to function like real human beings. We’ll have energy, a better mood, fewer headaches, and even a better heart.
Sleep is a key part of health. Don’t neglect it.
5) Let go of the pressure to be perfect.
Lastly, let go of your own pressure to perform with perfection. As leaders in any capacity, it can be easy to fall prey to the pressure of being put on pedestals. We worry about our performances, of being absolutely perfect. We worry about making mistakes. We worry about the responsibility of carrying everyone else’s mistakes.
It’s okay to not be perfect. What matters is aiming for excellence and integrity. If that’s what you’re working for, no one can fault you for it.