One of the biggest challenges people face today is the struggle between trying to take care of self when they have the responsibility of taking care of others. While this dilemma is wide spread among everybody, it is most acute to two groups of people: women who tend to be the primary care givers in our society; and leaders who have the responsibility for the people they lead. Of course, this means this dilemma may be most acute for women leaders.
Based on my many years of experience as a husband and psychologist, here are a few of the best practices on how to achieve this delicate balance between taking care of self vs taking care of others.
- Make a list of all the key people (and pets) in your life who you are trying to take care of. Determine a major goal for yourself in relationship to each of these people.
- Determine your major goal in taking care of yourself. While there are many things we try to do in terms of self-care, consider which one is most important for you and figure out how to do this on a daily basis.
- On a daily basis, preferably in a journal, keep track of what you did for yourself and what you did for others.
- Caring for self and others often is best done with some kind of routine. Consider whether you have a routine for taking care of your responsibilities toward yourself and toward others.
- Ask those for whom you are providing care what they expect from you. Evaluate whether their expectations are realistic. If not, have a conversation about what you can do and what you can’t do.
- Recognize that most often there is a gender difference in terms of self-care versus other care between men and women. Consider whether you are doing too much for others as a woman, or too little for others as a man.
As I am writing on this topic, I would appreciate hearing from you about your perspective on this topic, your successful approaches to this challenge.
On March 20th I am dedicating a session of Leaders Connect to “Taking Care of Yourself”. If you’re interested in attending, here is a link to the program: Leaders Connect Breakfast