Welcome to the first installment of The Self-Care Series! I’m excited to begin a year-long journey of empowering OMA members with self-care skills and habits. Our goal for this series is to provide you with simple, practical, and effective strategies that will help increase your capacity to fulfill your purpose in work and in life.
Mediation is a meaningful, rewarding, challenging, and demanding career. Your focus and attention are non-negotiable as you navigate tension, stress, and intense emotions. You are committed to and uphold the Core Standards of Mediation Practice. You assist people and organizations in resolving controversy and finding peace.
Your work is important, and the stakes are high.
Successful mediators are adept at maintaining focus and energy in high-pressure situations and have the ability to recover from stress, challenges, and setbacks. In other words, mediators need to be resilient.
When you are resilient you:
- Have a clear mind and calm response, even to difficult, stressful, or tragic events
- Approach life with hopefulness
- Make real connections to people and have deep and fulfilling relationships
- Do work that is fun, meaningful, and makes a contribution
If your focus, energy, and resilience are lagging, your effectiveness and success as a mediator is impaired. One of the best strategies for building resilience is to establish healthy self-care habits that address your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being.
Self-care is more than hitting the gym regularly, getting an occasional massage, or having a night out with friends to let off steam. Sure, these activities can all be part of a healthy lifestyle. But true self-care is deeper. True self-care matches your core values and personal needs with your everyday habits and routines.
Self-care is as much a mindset as it is a thing you do. You have to believe that prioritizing care for yourself is an essential (mindset), and you have to follow through by doing the things that nourish, energize, and rejuvenate you (habits and routines).
Scientists have proven that the body, mind, and spirit are connected, and they all need your care. There is a saying (attributed to many sources) that says, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” In the context of self-care, tending to any aspect of your well-being will benefit your whole self.
Nurturing Your Resilience with Self-Care
Passionate professionals dedicated to their work often push self-care to the bottom of their to-do list. This unhealthy tendency creates a vicious cycle that eventually turns into a downward spiral. You may experience mental and physical health issues, poor sleep, depression, disengagement, anger, anxiety, and burnout that impact your life well beyond your profession.
You can avoid the downward spiral or reverse its direction (if you’re already in it) by making self-care a priority. In the coming months, I’ll share simple habits and habit-change techniques to increase your resilience and overall well-being. We’ll talk about:
- Morning and evening routines
- Sitting in silence (aka meditation)
- Eating and sleeping habits
We’ll also learn how to stay accountable to your habits and how to make lifestyle changes that last (spoiler: willpower is not the answer).
A Self-Care Resolution
If you’re the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions, consider a commitment to self-care. Allow it to be a year-long (lifelong, really) pursuit that happens in small steps and incremental changes. That way you won’t “fail” by February and give up like 92% of all resolvers do.
It’s easy to make an intention or set a goal, but without structure it’s also easy to let your deep desire dissolve into a wish that never comes true. Give yourself a SMART goal – one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Get an accountability partner to help you succeed. Tell others about your commitment and you will be more likely to follow through.
What will be your self-care goal for 2019?
About the Author
Kirstin Pinit teaches the art of self-care through creative, engaging, and practical habit-change programs. She is a certified coach and yoga teacher and consults with cities, communities, companies, and groups on behavior-change programs and strategies. Learn more about her work at www.kirstinpinit.com.