As I lead teams around the world to stay balanced and productive during the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve made three key observations:
1. Workers are anxious.
2. Parents are fatigued.
3. Children are stir-crazy.
We seem to be at a point where if we don’t balance and harmonize our own lives soon, we might implode, and, therefore, be good for no one. My plea to teams I influence is simple and satisfying: Focus on self-care. Let me explain.
We spend time and money keeping our cars in good shape, we tend to our children’s needs, and we are there for our friends, but what about being there for ourselves? What consistent care do we take of our bodies and minds? Because our health and well-being lie on our own shoulders, why not deliberately spend time, money ,and a little bit of effort on yourself?
Today’s pressure for profits and power is as unrelenting as the problems they produce. So much so that it may be more important than ever to reset, rebalance, and reconnect with values that got you to the level of success you enjoy today.
While there is a lot you can do to invest in yourself, here’s my curated list of 8 key tips.
1. Take an inventory of yourself. At the age of 20 in 1726, Benjamin Franklin, philosopher and one of America’s founding fathers, made a commitment to live according to his “moral virtues.” To accomplish this lofty goal, he identified 12 virtues around which to align his life. He wrote a short statement clarifying the meaning of each virtue.
Doing a similar exercise, even if you uncover only three or four values, can set your life on a course that brings untold benefits.
2. Soothe your mind, body, and life. What interests you? What brings harmony? Is it a class on cultures, basket weaving, painting, or golf? What would enrich your life? Identify what would do the most for you and go for it. You could even ask your boss for a few ideas. It might give your career a boost.
3. Forgive others. Odd as it sounds, forgiving others has a powerfully soothing effect on your physical and emotional health. It frees your mind from negative, recurring thoughts and allows you to make more progress in your life. Conversely, clinching onto negative feelings toward others only steals time from yourself. In today’s world, it could be easy to hold on to resentful feelings about anyone or anything, but I’ve found combining forgiveness with gratitude brings balance and harmony.
4. Spend quality time alone. While spending time with others is important, it’s vital to spend time alone, too. Once in a while, everyone needs to get away and be alone. Again, how much time is an individual preference, but in such settings, I’ve found we reconnect with ourselves.
5. Immerse yourself in nature. Born and raised in the natural beauty of Montana, I learned firsthand that spending time in nature is healing energy. It is evident that we are natural beings, and if we really focus, we can almost feel ourselves uniting with nature. I have found a walk in the woods; time spent near lakes, rivers, and parks; or even escaping to fields and mountains all enrich our soul and help us bring back balance and harmony.
A favorite saying is, “Listen to the wisdom of the trees. For trees know you can be still and grow at the same time.” Truly, when I’ve immersed myself in the outdoors, I’ve felt nature’s majesty in its calmness.
6. Slow down your mind. Make time for this important self-care practice and allow yourself to sleep fully each night. Set up a regular schedule for sleeping and stick to it. It’s not too hard to convince yourself of the importance of sleep. All you have to do is skip one night to experience the powerful impact of sleep on your well-being.
7. Read more books. While you’re slowing down and spending some quality time alone, I encourage you to read something that you can get lost in. I like the quote: “Successful people have libraries. The rest have big-screen TVs.” Another person said, “I read a book one day, and it changed my whole life.”
I have personally felt that change—but not with just one book; it’s been with countless books. My life is much more enriched and balanced in harmony because I read regularly. I’m often asked what I’m reading currently. Here are my latest books:
- “The Reality Slap” by Russ Harris
- “Don’t Feed the Monkey” by Jennifer Shannon
- “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck
8. Breathe. Finally, conquer anxiety with a 4 x 4 breathing technique I use. Imagine a square and with each side representing four counts. Then follow the lines of the square and breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts, and hold that for four counts. When I’ve gone around the square four times, I’ve found my heart slows, more oxygen reaches my brain and I can think more clearly. Simply put, breathing works.
Good self-care practices are also an effective way of keeping yourself firing on all cylinders. That’s important for all of the teams I lead. I need them to fire on all cylinders, and they want to do the same because that brings more satisfaction to them as they accomplish their goals.
If you’re feeling down and out, give extra attention to your self-care. You deserve the time, attention, and rewards that will bring.
Named Best CEO in Utah in 2019, Kevin Guest is chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences, a global health and nutritional supplements company. Success for the small-town boy with rock star aspirations didn’t come overnight nor did the CEO of a billion-dollar company find success by straying from his deep-rooted principles. Each experience in Guest’s life—in music, business, and now as bestselling author of “All the Right Reasons: 12 Principles for Living a Life in Harmony”—has built upon another, all contributing to a life lived in harmony. For more information, visit: www.kevinguest.com