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A few weekends ago while visiting a friend’s church, a pastor shared something that really resonated with me.

He said: “So many times we look for people to complete us, when in actuality, we’re looking for someone to help us accept who we are.”

Why do we have such trouble accepting and enjoying who we are? We have compassion for everyone else – our spouses, our friends, our children, our co-workers, as we constantly do things to make their lives happy and easy. But when it comes to caring for ourselves, we don’t have the time.

This has to change, and here’s why: When we go, go, go and tend to everyone but us, we burnout. And when we burnout, we become careless. Our decision making is skewed, and we make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

It’s time to shift our values. It’s time for self-care.

Self-care is what happens when you find time to be alone and focus on your mental, emotional and physical health. It can be as simple as going for a walk at lunch, listening to music, meditating, cooking a healthy meal, getting a pedicure, going to the gym or even taking a nap. Try these steps to get started:

· Learn to say no – and be okay with it Self-care is connected to self-discipline. Be disciplined about your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. This will allow you to be okay with saying no because you have the bigger picture – a healthier, more successful you – in mind.

· Take a break from social media – Whether we like it or not, social media influences how we feel. Don’t let it distract you and zap your precious free time.

· Schedule your self-care – Use whatever tools you need to get that self-care time. Add a block on your online calendar, set a reminder on your phone or tape a note on the bathroom mirror that you can’t take down until you have completed your self-care exercise.

· Find an accountability partner – This can be a supportive friend, family member or co-worker who asks daily, “How much time did you spend with you today?”

By caring for yourself, you will be a stronger, more effective leader; and in the long run, your family, friends, and your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!

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