Put yourself in your diary


Is your cup empty?

Have you put yourself in your diary? Or are all the places filled up with other people and other things?  There’s a well-known phrase – well-known because it’s true.  “You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Look after yourself first.”  You can’t serve others if you haven’t looked after yourself.  Yet, many of us don’t allow time in our overly busy lives to replenish ourselves and recharge the batteries. 

This is a super-quick reminder of how important it is to make time for yourself this season.  I know it already seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.  You hardly take a break and you can’t remember the last day that wasn’t intensely busy from start to finish.  It’s draining and you know it will be like that until the end of the season.  There’s no more space in the diary – I hear you saying.

What are your true priorities?

The truth is that we get so caught up in getting things done, in getting through the to-do list, that we forget about ourselves.  We don’t prioritize looking after ourselves.  We focus on just keeping going.  There will be time to rest later, we tell ourselves.   

What are our priorities?  Many people confuse these with values, thinking our priorities are the things we feel are important in life.  In fact, our priorities are the things we spend most time on.  For most people, work is a priority – that’s where we spend a large proportion of our available time.  For some, exercise is a priority – there’s a non-negotiable space in the diary every day for physical exertion.  For others, time with friends and family is a priority and a large proportion of time in the week is spent with them. You get the point.  If you have not reserved time in your day or week for yourself to replenish, you simply are not a priority for yourself.  And if you can’t look after yourself, eventually it comes really tough to look after others.  

If you keep going without a break, eventually it is you that will break. 

The difficult thing is that it is exactly when we are stressed out or busy that we are most likely to ditch our self-care activities. This is because our brains go into fight-or-flight mode and our perspective gets narrow.  We get really wrapped up in ‘getting things done’ mode and can’t pull back to see a bigger picture.  Another reason this happens is that we don’t have a go-to list of self-care activities or times that remind us to factor ourselves in.

Schedule Self-Care

One way to counteract this is to schedule time for yourself in the diary.  This puts you on your To-Do List.  This makes you a priority.  Here are five ways that you can make time for yourself this season, time to replenish the cup, to recharge your body and spirit.

  1. Own the first 15 minutes of each day – this is your priority time. Before engaging with anybody or anything else, sit down with yourself and set your intentions for the day.  This puts you in the driving seat and provides clarity and direction.  I have a full video and handy template for this and you’ll find it here https://www.thetourismspace.com/blog/2019/6/3/the-most-important-15-minutes-of-your-day-this-season. 
  2. Schedule a half hour for exercise in every day – a walk, a swim, a cycle, a yoga class. Exercise clears the mind, increases both clarity and significantly increases productivity. 
  3. Get to bed early and aim to get 7-8 hours sleep every single night. Have a target bed-time and a target wake time.  It’s no longer a badge of honour to say you get by on 4-5 hours sleep.  Sleep is a time for healing and repair.  Like exercise, it improves concentration and productivity.  It softens your emotions and social interactions, so important in tourism and hospitality.  While you can get by sleeping less, it does affect performance and mood – that’s a big trade-off.  
  4. Connect with other people in an intentional way. Arrange a time to meet up with friends or family – go to lunch or just have a phone call.  Connecting with other people is a self-care practice.
  5. Plan a treat or reward for yourself and enjoy the fact that you have treated yourself. There’s no room for guilt in self-care!

“Self-care is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation.” (Audre Lourde). 

At the end of the day, it’s your job to look after yourself.  Put yourself in the diary.  Make yourself a priority.  Allow time to replenish your body and your spirit this season.  You can use the overflow to serve your customers and team better.


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