Damn, I’m pooped—you too?

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Hustle. Grind. Repeat.

(Um, no thanks.)

I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way, right?

Conventional wisdom (and social media) tells you that you must maintain a never-ending churn of activity to get ahead. Entrepreneurs tout their 100+ hour work weeks, CEOs wear their busyness like a badge of honor (stop that!), and founders boast about forgoing sleep to gain more time.

While consistency and discipline are crucial for career success (and along with clarity, part of my “power trifecta”), there’s one other essential (and unexpected) area you might be neglecting: self-care.

Living in a world of “always-on” culture can wreak havoc on you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Constantly grinding leads to burnout, anxiety, and stress-related illnesses. Our immunity weakens, we age faster, and we become more susceptible to colds.

News flash: you can’t grow your career if you’re running on fumes and stressed out.

Enter self-care, the practice of taking an active role in protecting, preserving, and improving one’s well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress (which, hello, we’ve been living in for the last year, thanks to the pandemic).

If until this point you’ve ignored self-care, it might seem daunting to start; here are five easy ways to incorporate it into your routine:

1. Dispel the myth that self-care is selfish. 

Self-care isn’t just about mantras and spa days (though that sounds pretty good right now). It’s understanding that being “selfish” about it means that you’ll show up fully energized and as the best version of you, ready to tackle challenges and to help others without sacrificing your sanity or health in the process.

2. Practice self-compassion.

Self-compassion is about treating yourself the supportive way you would a treasured friend or colleague. (Full disclosure: This is what I struggle most with, though I seem to have no problem supporting others. Go figure.) This means being kind and caring toward yourself and framing supposed failures as opportunities to learn. 

3. Use your words.

Your words have power and significantly impact your potential. Replace negative self-talk with supportive phrases, and clearly articulate and communicate what you need to allow colleagues, friends, and partners to understand how they can assist you. Remember, too, that saying no to the people and things that don’t serve you allows you to say yes to those that do. (Read that last sentence again, friends.)

4. Protect your time.

This one’s a biggie and my most important lesson learned in 2020. Take back your calendar and schedule blocks of uninterrupted time to be quiet, slow down, and make room for insights. Protect your time by understanding who and what in your environment boosts or drains your energy so you can adjust accordingly.

5. Replenish yourself.

Listen to your body—are you having frequent headaches? Exhausted? Unmotivated? It’s probably time to replenish yourself. Nourish your body with proper rest, nutrition, and movement. Enrich your mind with educational and uplifting content. Recharge your spirit through meditation or prayer and by experiencing nature and visiting with friends and loved ones.

And speaking of replenishing yourself, don’t assume getting some shut-eye will cure your exhaustion.

As it turns out, sleep is not the same thing as rest.*

In my latest Forbes article, I explain why most of us have a deficit in rest because we don’t understand the difference—and how to fix it.

And before I go, my weary friends, please remember to be kind to yourself and others; it’s contagious.

Shine on,

Amy

P.S. Now that we’re inbox-exclusive, maybe you want to follow me elsewhere on the interwebs. I’m on ForbesLinkedInTwitterInstagram, and now, Clubhouse. (No link for that last one. If you’re also there, you can find me at @amyblaschka.)

P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or prioritizing my self-care, I’m a social media ghostwriter (yep, that’s a thing), helping founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.

P.P.P.S. One more thing: If you think this post would resonate with others, feel free to share it with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!

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*Did you know there are seven (yes, really!) different types of rest? Most of us would acknowledge that we need physical rest, but the other six types are equally important for our health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. To learn more, check out Dr. Shauna Dalton-Smith’s TEDx Talk on the topic.