I'm a big supporter of "Self-Preservation". The idea of worrying solely about yourself, and doing what you want to do for you, is one of the main aspects of maintaining your mental health. It's how you stay you. Staying resilient on this ride called life, means sometimes throwing your self in a bubble and putting a "Do Not Disturb" sign around it.
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I talk about self-care quite a bit, well self-preservation is the shell to self-care's hermit crab. They need each other to survive - you need them to survive. You're only as good as your best self. Self-preservation is that cocoon that bring you to your best self. I know all the leadership, self-help, professional development books and sites will tell you - self-preservation kills good leadership, stifles progress. Well if you're burnt out, easily agitated, disheartened and jaded, i doubt being a great leader is at the top of your to-do list.
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There are times when I feel spread thin, Making sure everyone and everything is taken care, well except me of course. That's when i notice that i am more irritable, unable to focus, lethargic and most times super petty and outright off putting. When it get to that point, I know its time to withdraw, limit social interactions, stay close to home and do some self reflection. When I am outside my character, I know its time for me to focus on me and figure out what made that sudden shift. When I'm not at my best, everything suffers - relationships, school work, career and professional identity, and more specifically my mental and physical health.
You may feel overwhelmed from balancing the responsibilities of family, work, school, etc; you may feel as if you are putting more into a relationship than the other person and its slowly draining you; you may feel as if you don't have what it takes to get that managerial position you've been "eyeing" for well over 6 months....these are all reasons to self preserve. To limit outside distractions until you can get what truly matters to you right & in order.
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I am not saying shut yourself off from the world. What I am saying is - TAKE TIME FOR YOU - Take time to withdraw from the world to recharge, re-new, and reinvigorate yourself. Learn to say - NO! and mean it. Its okay to not want to save everyone, everyday. It's loving yourself enough to know you've reached your limit. Self-Preservation is not the end all to be all. At the end of the day, we humans are social creatures, we just have to learn to appreciate the solitude. There's beauty in being with just yourself.
Self-preservation is a process. Its something you build upon to adapt to you as grow, as you and your goals change. So how can you start the process of building up you own cocoon......
- Distance yourself from toxic personalities. Some people thrive on criticism, harping on others’ flaws and shortcomings. Their criticism is draining, sapping you of emotional energy. Remove yourself from these unhealthy situations. (psychcentral.com)
- Mindfully disengage. Read a book. Put your records on. Watch your favorite throwback ‘90’s movie. Take up that painting class you’ve been putting off. Think about how magical you are. Allow yourself the space to take a mental vacay, even if only for 5 minutes. You deserve it. (forharriet.com)
- Accept help from others, especially in a time of change. So many of us are adjusting to physiological, medical and emotional issues. During such adjustments, so many think either, “I can do this all on my own” or, “I need everyone to help me.” There's a balance, you'll find it with experience. (lifemattersmedia.org)
- Be compassionate with yourself. Be gentle to yourself. Don't be so quick to criticize or chide yourself. Take time to commend and appreciate your journey your successes, overcoming obstacles. (success.com)
- Set Boundaries. We all need some boundaries, in our professional,personal and social lives. It always helps to create , maintain and protect your own space,and get others to respect it.When creating a boundary,either physical or emotional,make sure to be respectful, calm,but firm about it.You don’t owe anyone an explanation about these boundaries, they are necessary for your self-preservation. (sepiadahlia.com)