Your Guide to Self-Care as an Executive

busy creativity energy learning meditation productivity self care self-awarness stress


"If you're like the old me, the phrase 'self-care' might make you roll your eyes. I cannot begin to tell you how important it is! But when we are talking about self-care for an overworked CEO, entrepreneur or any other high-level executive, what does that even mean?"

This blog post will explore self-care for executives who feel they can't spare time from their busy day. We'll talk about how to prioritize doing things that replenish your energy and help you manage stress so that you can get back up and face another day of work.


How Can I Do Self-Care as an Executive?


Doing self-care as an executive can be difficult. In addition to long hours at work, a leader will always have many responsibilities outside of the office, such as family care, exercise and church activities; if you are like me, any spare time that I may have been usually spent catching up on emails or reading articles online. So, where is the time for self-care?

You juggle a lot of responsibilities already. So why should we spend any extra time on our physical, mental and spiritual health? Let's see how committing to taking care of ourselves has a positive effect on your ability to perform optimally at work. But first, let's define what self-care is.

What is Self-Care?


Self-care refers to various activities that include proper nutrition, time for exercise and healthy habits. Your definition may also have spiritual practices such as prayer, scripture study or meditation. We'll focus on this latter part because that's where executives can make the most significant impact right now.

As an executive, you're tasked with motivating people, keeping up with a new business strategy and making the company profitable. In addition, you are responsible for thinking about how future decisions will affect your organization--and, by extension, those around you. We all know that it's easy to get caught up in constantly doing instead of simply being.

The feeling of being overwhelmed can easily sneak into every aspect of your life if you're not careful.

If you don't take care of yourself well, it will become harder to be the leader you are today. So the bottom line for an executive is that we need to work smarter with more clarity to get even more done.

How to Take Care of Yourself Properly with Self-Care


Improved Self-Awareness


When you disconnect from everything to focus on what matters, or when you make time for exercise or meditation, you give your mind the space it needs to reset and function at its best again. Here are a few examples to improve your self-awareness:

  1. Meditation: A regular meditation practice will give you the space and time to examine your thoughts and feelings. If you are always going full steam ahead, meditation can help you get back in touch with what's important to you.
  2. Exercise: Even if you only have 10 minutes throughout your day, exercise is a great way to release pent up energy and tension. This will give you the energy boost you need so that you can remain calm and level-headed when a crisis arises later in the day.


"As an entrepreneur, the way I look at self-care is that I'm not doing it for myself. My priority is my business. The reason I do things like eat healthy or exercise is that these things make me a better leader and ultimately help me run a more successful company." - Taylor Pearson, author of When to Jump: follow him on Twitter @TaylorPearson. 


Increased Productivity


There isn't much time when you aren't working on something during the day. Creativity can get lost whether you are looking at your phone or computer screen waiting for that next update. Here are a few ways to increase your productivity and make more time for checking in with yourself:

  1. Stop and make a quick to-do list: many times, the best ideas pop into my head while I'm not sitting at my desk. When that happens, I make sure to note down a few essential items so that I have something to think about when I get back to work again.
  2. Please make an appointment with yourself: this helps me take time out of my busy day and focus on what I need to do. This can be for a daily exercise regime, or it could be weekly self-improvement workshops.


Improved Focus


Far too many high-powered executives let their minds wander when they're supposed to be in meetings, on conference calls or working with a team because they didn't take care of themselves properly. You can only be successful if you are present and engaged with the people around you. Here are a few ways to improve your focus:

  1. Look deep as to why your mind is wandering. What is your thought process trying to keep you from? Are you bored? Craving something else?
  2. Are there other ways to be more engaged and energetic during these meetings or conversations? For example, exercise beforehand, maybe drinking some tea?


Boosted Energy


If you walk into a meeting exhausted or dreading it, then the rest of the team will pick up on that energy. This impacts their ability to stay focused and contribute their best ideas.

When you give yourself time off during your day instead of just taking on more work, then your mental and physical energy levels will bounce back more quickly so that at the end of each day, you can feel energized for the next day! Here are a few examples that could boost your energy:

  1. Even if it's just 15 minutes before the meeting, do something fun and creative to get your brain going. This could be anything from drawing or listening to a random song on Spotify.
  2.  Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night: we all know that adults' necessary amount of sleep is 7-8 hours. However, many of us don't get that amount regularly. When you're sleep-deprived, staying focused and alert throughout the day is tough.

Improved Learning


Anyone who has taken an education class knows how important it is to take notes during lectures. It's not just about recording what the instructor says but also taking breaks from studying material at various times so you can think about what you read. This helps with understanding and retention later on.

For executives trying to learn new things every day as part of their job, self-care can be critical for retaining information long term because your mind isn't completely focused on thoughts of "I need to remember this." Here are a few ways to improve your learning and memory:

  1. Take a picture of the material and read through it whenever you get time throughout the week. It's easier for me to do this with papers or notes, but I tend to forget about it if I record an audio file.
  2. Did you know that researchers have found that ideas are more likely to occur when people are in a relaxed state as opposed to being under pressure? That is why so many of us complete tasks at the last minute or "wing it" on the fly. If you give yourself time during the day or week without feeling rushed, then you're more likely to have creative breakthroughs that can help drive your career forward.

Heightened Creativity


If you find yourself thinking about new ideas and disengaged from work, then self-care has helped your mind to come up with these ideas in the first place. This creativity can translate into more successful business strategies or solutions for problems facing your team or company. Here are a few tasks that can help:

  1. Try a weekly exercise like making a list of ideas or brainstorming using random words or phrases. Or just let yourself wander and use your imagination!
  2. My favorite activity for getting creative is journaling. I have two journals that sit on my desk, one just for brainstorming and writing down new ideas and the other is reserved solely for list-making. After going through each item on my mental/to-do list, I grab my book of creative activities and let my mind wander for a few minutes.

How to Practice Self-Care Daily


Self-care is critical during your day because it impacts every interaction and relationship you have professionally and personally. So, what does this look like on a day-to-day basis? Here are a few ways to practice self-care:

     *     Turn off all devices when spending time with family 

     *     Take at least one full weekend day off per week to do what you  


     *     Plan your workday so that nothing comes up

            unexpectedly late in the day

     *     Exercise or meditate at least three times per week

     *     Schedule vacations with family and friends throughout the year

Final Words on Self-Care


The truth is that self-care isn't just for people feeling completely overwhelmed. Everyone needs to take a step back from time to time to give their best effort and create real change. It also helps to set up self-care rituals, so they become part of your routine. Here are some examples of things that high-powered women executives do to take care of themselves daily:

Self-care is critical because it improves your ability to be an effective leader by reducing stress, improving performance and allowing you to create new ideas. If you want more from your career, then take a step back today so you can get even more tomorrow.

About Me


Hi, I am Tiffany Spencer, a Mental Health and Business Coach! I help high performing moms reclaim their mental health without sacrificing home and work.