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This article was last updated on Nov. 18, 2022.
Self-care gets a bad rap. Most people think of it as indulgent, like spa days, or weak, like opting out of a situation or problem. In reality, however, self-care is about the way we focus on ourselves and our needs — mental, emotional and physical.
As real estate professionals, we put so much focus on our clients that we sometimes lose the ability to check in with ourselves. It’s essential, however, that you create opportunities to look at yourself so that you can be healthier, happier and more productive.
Self-care doesn’t have to be about bubble baths and mani-pedis — though it can be if that’s what floats your boat. Instead, it is about the way we treat ourselves and prioritize our own needs. Here are five foundational ways to give yourself the attention you require and deserve.
1. Practice preventative maintenance
Everyone knows that deferred maintenance is the kiss of death for a property’s condition. Letting little problems build up and go unaddressed can lead to much larger and more intractable problems down the road.
Don’t wait until you’ve reached the end of your rope to start evaluating your needs. By taking care of yourself a little bit every day, you can head off small anxieties or bad habits before they become bigger issues. Here are a few easy ways to take care of yourself each day:
- Set aside 15 minutes for quiet time or meditation.
- Go out of your way to make one healthier choice at snack time or mealtime.
- Take a few minutes to do some form of physical activity and clear your mind each day.
- Turn off your phone for a few minutes, and give your attention to a simple, repetitive task.
- Work on a puzzle, clean something, or repair something for a quick sense of accomplishment.
- Take the time to practice good dental hygiene and skincare to feel better and give yourself a physical boost.
2. Set healthy boundaries — and stick to them
I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but here it is: You are worthy. You deserve good things. You don’t deserve to be yelled at, berated or emotionally abused.
If you are with a partner, broker or client who treats you poorly, you need to evaluate that relationship and make decisions that are right for you. Setting professional and personal boundaries is not selfish — it’s essential for self-care and long-term health.
If you struggle with setting boundaries, it might be a good idea to talk to a professional counselor and learn strategies to help. If you grew up in a household without healthy boundaries, you may need to spend some time learning what they look like so you can implement them in your own life.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded friends and colleagues
Hustle culture is toxic, yet many of us surround ourselves with hard-driving colleagues and friends who perpetuate some of its more damaging ideas. While healthy competition and ambition are necessary for high performance, it’s important to ensure that your mentors and trusted professional associates are focusing on balance and health as well.
If the people around you are encouraging you to pursue your professional goals at the expense of your family, your integrity or your health, they are giving you bad advice. Surround yourself with people who are seeking to reach their goals as part of a fuller, richer life experience.
4. Go on a balanced information diet
We are inundated with information from all sides — social media, television, podcasts and more. Everything you take in contributes in some way to your mental, emotional and even physical state. If you are constantly focused on news and information that is overly sad, angry or upsetting, you may need an information detox.
Although it’s good to be informed and to keep up with the latest news and cultural information, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your health. Take in a balanced information diet with things that bring you joy and peace added in.
5. Seek perspective from mentors
When things go wrong, it can feel like the end of the world — especially if our response is based on our own experiences and the reactions of our clients. However, a more experienced mentor has probably been where you are right now and knows how to get things back on track.
Remember: You don’t have to have all the answers, and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself. By consulting a trusted associate who knows the lay of the land, you can begin to evaluate a variety of next steps to take and gain much-needed perspective on the current situation.