time management

Why You Need to Make Time for Self-Care in Your Life

August 10, 2018

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Burn out. Stress. Overwhelm.

Regardless of where you show up as a leader in your life, it’s something we’ve ALL felt at some point or another.

We struggle with this “work-life balance” thing.

And we have a hard time detaching ourselves from “work brain” and being fully present during our off hours.

And it’s no wonder – after an especially rough week, it’s a challenge to leave work at work and press *pause* on that the replay of that heated conversation with your co-worker Meredith that seems to be running on loop in your head.

Right? “If only I’d said…. Or brought up that point….”

Self Care – What even is it?

Lately, I’ve noticed the term “self care” taking over as a hot topic/buzzword in the leadership world. An extension of general health and wellness, “self care” describes the act of taking care of yourself and your emotional, physical, mental and even environmental wellbeing.

And it’s become a buzzword for good reason – with constant connectivity, notifications and demands placed on us by everyone around us, it can be a struggle to even find 15 minutes in a day to step away from the noise, take care of yourself and take preventative action against burnout.

Why you should be making time for self care?


As a leader, you know that your actions, priorities and habits set an example for those you lead. You set the tone.

If you put in 12 hour days, send emails at 10PM, go into the office on weekends, never take vacation, shorten your maternity leave, and work through illness – you’re telling your team that’s what you expect from them. Even if that’s not your intention, that’s what you’re communicating through your actions and example.

But here’s the problem:

A leader who doesn’t take care of herself, cannot be an effective leader.

Insert your own title here and repeat after me:

A CEO/Manager/Mom/Wife/Business Owner/Committee Chairman/Club President/Editor who doesn’t take care of herself, cannot be an effective CEO/Manager/Mom/Wife/Business Owner/Committee Chairman/Club President/Editor.


Chronic stress and exhaustion = brain fog. Brain fog = mistakes. Mistakes = ineffective.

So what you’re inadvertently modeling to your team, could actually be hurting your team’s productivity and ability to reach goals.


In Grace, Not Perfection, Emily Ley shared the story of her foot going numb for no medical reason beyond stress.

In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis recounted her two experiences with Bells Palsy – brought on by – you guessed it: extreme stress.

If you want more fun examples of what stress is doing to you – here’s a super fun WebMD article you can peruse at your convenience: 10 Health Problems Related to Stress That You Can Fix

It seems to me, that being an effective leader from a hospital bed would be quite difficult – if not impossible.


So the irony of self-care is that it’s one more thing to add to your already full to-do list.

“Anna, I don’t have time to add more to my day. I don’t have time for a massage and a vacation to Aruba right now.”

I hear you.

So – I’ve compiled a list of 30 ways that you can practice self-care in 30 minutes or less. Most of them even less. Win!

  1. Go for a walk. Outside. Get some sunshine. Take your dog/cat/ferret/iguana with you.

  2. Salute the sun with a quick yoga sequence.

  3. Keep some dumbbells under your desk and bust out 3 sets of 10 bicep curls.

  4. Do 50 bodyweight squats.

  5. Set a timer, close your eyes and take a quick cat nap.

  6. Find a quiet spot and meditate for 5-10 minutes.

  7. Go to bed early.

  8. Make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for.

  9. Make a list of 10 places you’d like to visit on your next vacation.

  10. Make a list of 100 things you’d like to do in your lifetime.

  11. Make a list of everything bothering you. Then throw it away.

  12. Eat a piece of fresh fruit.

  13. Thumb through a cookbook or your favorite recipe site and bookmark and new recipe to try.

  14. Refill your glass of water.

  15. Head (walk, if you can) to your favorite coffee shop and grab your favorite indulgent drink. I’m a sucker for Peppermint Mochas.

  16. Enjoy a snack – and only the snack. Don’t look at your phone or computer. Just enjoy your snack.

  17. Make a cup of hot tea. This is my favorite tea when I’m really stressed.

  18. Buy a pretty bouquet at Trader Joes for your desk.

  19. Do a face mask. I like this one and this one.

  20. Find a local spa and schedule a massage as the reward for meeting an upcoming deadline. Having something to look forward to makes progress toward a goal even sweeter.

  21. Color a page in coloring book. I have this one.

  22. Straighten up your workspace. Outer order contributes to inner calm.

  23. Make your bed.

  24. Listen to a podcast. Some of my favorites include this one and this one.

  25. Light your favorite candle and smell the good smells. This is my forever favorite.

  26. Call a friend or family member you haven’t talked with in a while.

  27. Make a Spotify playlist of your favorite happy music.

  28. Dress your pet in a silly costume. This always makes me feel better.

  29. Text something nice to your significant other.

  30. Make a donation to your favorite charitable organization. This is mine.


  • What kind of example am I setting for my team?

  • What would make ME feel cared for?

  • How can I incorporate self-care into my daily/weekly schedule?


  • Choose 1 self-care activity that you can incorporate into your regular routine.

  • Try 1 self-care activity that feels “outside of the box” for you. Maybe it’s meditation, bicep curls or coloring.

  • Tell me in the comments below the 1 think you’ll do this week to take care of yourself! I’ll start!

What will it take you to get from chaos to calm?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey Anna! I'm looking for an episode about...

Hey Anna! I'm looking for an episode about...