As I reflect on self-care there are three keys to being effective in self-care: self-knowledge, boundaries and intentionality. Over the next several blogs I will be talking about each of these factors.
There are certainly other key factors in effective self-care, however I have found these to be the most essential three. We cannot care for ourselves effectively if we do not know who we really are, our strengths, weaknesses, temptations and victories. Boundaries are not easy and very unpopular but are an essential aspect of love and of self-care. You cannot care for yourself without setting boundaries. Self-care also does not happen without being intentional. It is counter-intuitive and counter-cultural.
Most leaders find boundaries to be the hardest part of self-care. Many leaders are driven, caring and have a strong work ethic. Many of us leaders also struggle to say no and to shut down. We live in a culture that values workaholics and rejects rest. We are constantly expected to perform at high levels and often compete. The easiest way to make people made is to set boundaries or to say no. As a leader, some of the worst things that have ever been said to or about me or done to me or my family have come when I set boundaries.
Three Keys to Self-Care: Boundaries
While boundaries are challenging, you cannot be healthy without them. You cannot be a great leader or have great self-care without setting boundaries. Boundaries are always a part of love and care, contrary to what we tell ourselves. As a parent, I set boundaries for my children all the time, because I love them. If we love ourselves and those we lead, we must set boundaries. Even Jesus rested. God took a day off from creating the world. Jesus said no all the time. No is a word we need to relearn as we work on setting boundaries. In the end, healthy boundaries keep us health and model health to others. We are better leaders when we set boundaries.