Let’s be clear straight up: when you put yourself out there (on stage, on air, on screen), you are putting yourself in a position to serve others and to do that you have to be in a good place mentally and emotionally.
If you then start thinking about how speaking in public isn’t refined to the stage, it occurs in meetings or pitches or networking, you can start to understand why looking after yourself will affect your performance every day.
Self Care is vital to ensure you nail it (and it feels good too). Here are 5 things I prescribe.
1) Congratulate yourself 3 times every morning
How you talk to yourself is how you will behave. If you tell yourself that the crowd will hate you, you will end up uncomfortable on stage and behave in a way that the crowd end up dispondant and then it’s not a big distance for you to convince yourself you were right: they hate you.
So every morning as your feet hit the floor tell yourself 3 things you’re proud of or grateful for make this a habit.
2) A bag of spinach
You are what you eat. I know it’s a cliche, and I am the first to admit I over eat and my relationship with sugar is somewhere between complicated and destructive BUT….
When you eat well, you perform well. Sugar has a tendency to make you sleepy and if you are sluggish on stage your audience will feel it too.
I eat a lot better than I used to and one of the things that has improved my diet massively is a handy bag of spinach.
If I am in a rush or out for a meal I will add a handful of spinach to my plate. It means I know I am getting the right amount of good food in my system and I can stay on the go too.
Find your “bag of spinach” option and feel yourself get better!
3) Funtake (Fun Intake)
I read so many things that say “you can’t succeed if you’re watching loads of TV. Here’s the thing: you will succeed if you manage your feel good.
During the last bout of depression my counsellor told me to do something I loved every day. And I’m not the only one. Bryony Gordon talks about the same thing in her book “Mad Girl”, and a friend of mine was prescribed the same thing.
Its basically the act of in-taking joy : Funtake.
Do something that brings you joy every day. For me this is a box-set on Netflix, or a course on Udemy or a podcast.
4) Make your day work for you
Turns out I am an early riser. Who knew? All those years I convinced myself I was a night owl and then I had babies and I am a lark after all.
Discovering I am a morning person means I get rewarded with seeing things like this majestic horse at the top of this post, when I’m on holiday
I’ve also discovered my best work is done in the morning. But if I book a client session in in the afternoon I really slump ( see point 2 – this could also be overeating carbs at lunch!)
Putting hard edges in your day means saving the best time of day for your most important work. Allow yourself to try things and work out what time of day is best for you – then plan around it.
5) Make your night work for you
The science shows that you should be getting 7 hour of sleep a night minimum. Anything under that means you are not functioning at your full capacity. And the scary this g is that you don’t know that you aren’t – you think you:re fine!
I urge you to listen to this episode of the Joe Rogan Experience to hear Matthew Walker, Sleep Expert, break it down for you.
Now shift work, and heavy work loads, sometimes make this 7 hours impossible. I would still suggest you monitor it, and move as best you can towards it. Try going to bed 10 minutes earlier rather than trying to sleep later.
The problem with Self Care & building habits is that it’s really easy to get in to the “shoulds” of life. “I should be getting 7 hours of sleep…” can be as counter productive for some people as it is productive for others.
So the commitment has to be “do it one step at a time”. Form one habit (small) then add the next when you’re ready.
Take all of you, with your flaws, and just try to be better today than you were yesterday. A house is not built with one brick…