20 Ways Leaders Can Take Care of Their Mental State Daily
Times like these where stay at home orders are in effect, the country as a whole is practicing social distancing, and we are being instructed to stay home even if we feel ever so slightly ill are taxing, both mentally and physically. It is extremely important to take care of yourself and those you live with.
Here are 20 ways leaders can take care of their mental health during challenging times:
- Embrace breathing exercises. Participate in breathing exercises every day. Whether you choose to use guided meditation or meditate on your own, perhaps try to inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale on the 8th second. Repeat this three times daily.
- Challenge negative thoughts and pity-parties.
- Get ample sleep. Reset your bedtime routine and really focus on 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Set strength goals. Write out four to eight revised goals – perhaps five professional and 3 personal to focus on over the next few weeks and months.
- Skill training. Use this time to strengthen a new skill and explore options on how to do so.
- Give back. I’ve been going to one police department per week to deliver boxes of mixed nuts and vitamin water. Giving always is great for mental health and a way to show appreciation to others.
- Stretch and exercise daily. Find and perhaps write out simple stretching routines to practice daily. Many exercise apps and programs are also offering virtual workouts that you can participate in from the comfort of your home.
- Walk, walk walk! When the virus made its way to Washington state, I started a walking challenge on social media. My challenge was to walk daily – anywhere between one to four (plus) miles per day.
- Journal. Dust off that journal and write out some thoughts, fears, uncertainties you may be feeling, and revise your goals and actions. Perhaps you start or end your day doing this.
- Problem solve. Take on one or two problems you face (we all have some) and do some “solution finding.”
- Check on your friends. We all are trying to stay connected, while keeping our distance to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Reach out to one or two friends each day to be an encourager and listener. If you have a larger network of friends, maybe even consider scheduling a weekly Zoom session where you all catch up and connect with each other.
- Hydrate. Limit your alcohol consumption and up your water intake. Consuming ample water will not only lower inflammation in your joints and increase energy levels, but it is great for your overall health.
- Restructure. My daily routine, like most peoples, has been disrupted big time. Be courageous and write out your “new normal” routine to stay productive and meaningful each day.
- Increase how much you are listening to music, in place of watching television. Increase some nice music that is soothing, upbeat, and classic so you can find peace and “rock and roll” for a bit.
- Vision cast. I’m encouraging all my clients to take two to three hours and re-cast a new vision for the next 40-60 days. This helps us focus on what we can control, what we can achieve, and who we are.
- Reflect on your self-talk. Watch your words to yourself (and others). They become prophets for your future. Speak life, health, favor, strength, and possibilities into your self-talk.
- Read Leadership. Now, more than ever carve out 20-minutes per day to read and lead.
- Talk honestly. Communicate openly and honestly with your family about anxieties you are feeling, hopes, dreams, and how you can stay together during these uncertain times. It is important to come together, not pull apart.
- Focus on balanced foods. Last night, Julie made us a wonderful salmon dinner with vegetables and it felt so good to eat well. Try to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet.
- Show appreciation. Show gratitude for what you have. We all can and will rebuild from here. Together anything is possible.
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About the Author
Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.
A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.