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Prioritising Self-Compassion

There is much evidence to support why leading with kindness and compassion matters and the difference it might make in health and care. Now it’s time to explore how you might embed this way of leading and working with others.

There is much evidence to support why leading with kindness and compassion matters and the difference it might make in health and care. Now it’s time to explore how you might embed this way of leading and working with others.

In the face of the many overlapping challenges that the health and social care system is facing, and the everyday pressures that arise from them, you might find that self-care slips down your list of priorities. Whatever your role, fear, anxiety, panic and fatigue will all disrupt your ability to provide high-quality care, focus on the right priorities, regulate your emotions, manage relationships, and make informed choices.

Self-Compassion is Vital

In this video, Simon explains how the practice of self-compassion and restorative self-care is vital for sustaining your energy and building personal resilience. As we have seen, there are many forces at play in the health and care system beyond our control and influence, but we can try to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, however hard this might sometimes be. But doing so isn’t just about safeguarding our wellbeing, it’s also about our performance.

Conservation of Energy

Leaders often assume effective time management is what underpins high performance, leading to a preoccupation with tasks and ‘doing’ that can, and often does, lead to burnout. But it is the effective management and intentional use of your energy that really matters because – unlike time – energy is renewable (Loehr and Schwartz 2003).

Below is a simple leadership model that invites you to think about how you manage your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual energies. Life and work make often unreasonable demands on our energy and wellbeing, so what kindness and self-compassion will you extend to yourself to keep your reserves of energy topped up?

Physical energy

Good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest are the foundation of physical energy, but they are also vital for managing emotions and focusing attention. Is your body getting what it needs to properly restore itself each day?

Intellectual energy

This is about the mental ability for sustained concentration and attention, for data, for memory and for speed, flexibility and creativity of thought. What do you do to relax that gives your mind the time and opportunity to recover throughout the day?

Emotional energy

Emotional energy is central to how effectively you understand and regulate your emotions, as well as how you connect with others. What coping mechanisms do you use to process your emotions and develop your self-awareness? Who or what in your life helps you experience positive emotions?

Spiritual energy

We all have and feel a connection to something bigger than ourselves. What that is will be deeply personal but could include things like values, connection to culture and community, the natural world and/or to faith and our beliefs. Spiritual energy is ultimately about motivation; it ensures congruence between who we are and what we do (authenticity). So, what really matters to you?

Using the four energies outlined above, try to reflect honestly on what you do, don’t do and could do to routinely renew and manage your energy.

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An Introduction to Leading with Kindness and Compassion in Health and Social Care

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