As a leader, you carry a world on your shoulders. Whether you’re managing a large company, a small team, or a community organization, your role comes with immense pressure to excel — mentally and physically. But you’re human, which means you can’t always operate at your peak. You need time to breathe, recharge, and take care of your well-being.
In this article, we’ll explain the importance of caring for your mental and physical health, then dive into four ways you can improve your health.
Why Do I Need to be Mentally and Physically Fit?
When you’re aware of your own mental and physical health struggles, you can actually become a better leader. You’ll be able to bring your best where your skills are most needed. Instead of exhausting yourself mentally and physically by going all-in throughout your workday, you’ll be able to create a balance that works for you.
Plus, you can bring more empathy to the workplace. With a more realistic understanding of your team members’ needs, you can help them thrive in the workplace, too. Your openness about your struggles can also encourage your followers to communicate their own needs and better integrate into your team culture.
Let’s dive into how you can unlock these benefits.
Reflecting on your daily habits is a great way to start identifying what’s taking a toll on your mental and physical health. To do so, first consider how you’re spending your time in your leadership role. For example, think about the number of breaks you take and how much time you’re spending on your own tasks versus helping others. Also consider what you’re feeling throughout your day, whether it’s mental stress, back pain, or something else.
When you understand what’s deteriorating your mental and physical health, you can start implementing better habits to counter your stressors. If you’re struggling mentally, you may need to take short, frequent breaks to recharge. You can also hold office hours for team members instead of offering endless support and energy.
Feeling physically tired or struggling with common injuries like neck pain, back pain, or migraines? You can prioritize your physical health by:
- Investing in a standing desk or ergonomic chair
- Taking walks and avoiding digital screens during your breaks
- Consuming healthy snacks and water instead of eating junk food, coffee, and alcohol
Small changes in your habits can lead to major improvements in your mental and physical health.
We’re not always honest with ourselves. And even when we believe we’re telling ourselves the truth, our reflections may still include overly hopeful excuses or negative self-talk. Working with an executive coach can give you a third-party perspective on your situation and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
For example, if you’re struggling with brain fog, your coach can work with you to identify if you’re missing a good night’s sleep or if you need to increase your aerobic activities.
Your executive coach can also keep you accountable. Even if you correctly identify what you’re struggling with, it can be hard to change your lifestyle for your health. A hired coach will not only routinely check in on you and motivate you, but they’ll also track your progress toward your goals.
Seek Professional Health Services
While your daily habits are the primary factors for determining your mental and physical health, it’s crucial not to fully rely on a DIY approach — especially if your struggles are still getting the best of you. Health issues can stem from invisible causes and conditions that only professionals can treat.
When practicing time management, prioritize your health appointments, whether you’re getting preventative check-ups or ongoing treatment like chiropractic adjustments. Be willing to say no to your team’s requests when it will prevent you from getting the help you need. And don’t be afraid to take time off when your mental or physical health demands it.
If you don’t want to take time off from your leadership role, the good news is that many health appointments no longer require travel. Telehealth allows you to access virtual appointments, prescriptions, and much more from the comfort of your home, car, or private office. Whether you’re seeking cognitive behavioral therapy, vision care, or other health services, telemedicine may be able to help you reduce wasted time.
Manage Your Health Wisely
A leader’s physical and mental health is directly tied to their team’s well-being. When you take care of yourself, you can give your team the support and attention they need. Plus, you may improve your performance by removing health stressors from your life.
You’ll also be leading by example. When you prioritize your well-being, team members will feel more comfortable expressing their own needs and taking care of themselves, too. As a result, your whole team may be happier, healthier, and more productive.
Adrian Johansen is a writer and consultant in the Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing knowledge with others and learning along the way! You can find more of her writing at Medium