2018-02-23 / Chaplain's News

Proper self-care is fundamental to good leadership

Chaplain (Capt.) Loren “Greg” Sink
442nd Signal Battalion

Chaplains are in the caregiving profession! And, caregiving is a demanding profession requiring all to ensure they are caring appropriately for themselves to best set themselves up for ongoing success.

However, caring for others is a significant responsibility for all military leaders.

Being a great caregiver and leader in our military is like being on an Olympic team of caregivers! And just like an aspiring Olympian trains for the Olympic Games, we, too, must be daily devoted to various aspects of self-care.

Even the toughest, most talented and durable athletes will soon find themselves beginning to “crash and burn,” and their performance beginning to suffer if they do not regularly practice good habits of self-care that can ultimately have an impact on athletic performance.

And so it is with leaders in their roles as caregivers! When it comes to self-care, there’s a lot to be said for sticking to the basics.

Nonetheless, we are complex and need to pay regular attention to multiple aspects of our being including the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual (especially if that is important to us!).

We all need proper exercise, a healthy diet to include lots of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, good fats, hydration (water is best!), and proper rest and recovery including sleep.

We should also limit or avoid altogether any practices or habits that are well known to detract from our well-being.

If an athlete fails to pay attention to even just one key area that can impact performance, they can end up falling short of their optimum performance potential and thus not even make “the cut” in the Olympic trials and to the Olympic Games themselves.

It can pay great dividends to make regular, ongoing, multifaceted selfcare a top priority since it establishes and maintains a foundation to build a stellar performance that results in good, second, third and fourth order effects.

To not do so can have similar effects but with totally negative outcomes.

For instance, let’s consider the issue of sleep and its importance! When one is not getting proper quantity and quality of sleep, a person is being robbed of its many benefits.

Sleep to our brain is somewhat like a total reboot for a computer.

In a manner of speaking, sleep allows our brains to run the performance troubleshooter, delete programs we never use, and clean up and dump files and cookies that hinder our performance.

Sleep also gives us a turbo boost of sorts in that the brain pumps out Human Growth Hormones, one of the most powerful hormones in the body that has numerous benefits to our well-being and performance!

And to think, those are just the benefits of taking care of one key area of our being. Imagine all the benefits of regularly practicing good habits in the other keys areas of being!

Here’s to your health and self-care! Best of wishes as you evaluate and improve your personal self-care program.

Bottom line: being a good leader means that we must lead the way in taking proper care of ourselves so that we can effectively care for others.

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