Harvard Business Review Author: Why you get Self Care Totally Wrong with Dr. Alyssa Westring | POP 984

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Why can watching TV be real self-care? What do parents and successful CEOs have in common – and what can they learn from each other? How regularly do you experiment, and why should you do it more often?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about why you get self-care totally wrong with Harvard Business Review author Dr. Alyssa Westring.

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Meet Alyssa Westring, PhD

A photo of Alyssa Westring, PhD, is captured. She is the Vincent de Paul Professor and Chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University. She is co-author of Parents Who Lead. Alyssa is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Alyssa Westring, PhD, is Vincent de Paul Professor and Chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University. She is co-author of Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life. An award-winning educator and Certified Diversity Professional, Westring shares her expertise on leadership, work/life harmony and women’s careers in leading academic and popular outlets and is a frequent keynote speaker at Fortune 500 companies. She has two school-aged children and lives in Chicago.

Visit Alyssa’s website and connect on LinkedIn.

In this Podcast

  • Unhelpful assumptions about self-care 
  • Can watching TV be self-care? 
  • The value of teaching your kids through experiments 
  • What do good leaders do – as parents? 
  • Dr. Westring’s advice to private practitioners

Unhelpful assumptions about self-care 

A lot of people think about this vision of self-care as soothing baths and massages and having the right serum or potion … That assumption leads people down some self-care paths that aren’t necessarily as fruitful as we might think. (Dr. Westring)

The idea that self-care is something that can be bought is not as true as you may think. Sure, you can purchase additional activities or objects to help you relax, like a massage, a journal, or a book, but actual self-care is something within you. 

[I want] to invite people to find self-care on their own terms, rather than relying on this mass-media idea of self-care, and to figure out what it looks like for them, and ways to incorporate it that are realistic in your actual life and lifestyle. (Dr. Westring) 

When you figure out self-care routines, rituals, or methods that are unique and well-fit to you and your needs, then you cannot be forced or pressured into buying services or materials that you know will not truly benefit you. 

It makes you immune to false advertising while encouraging you to really get to know yourself. 

Can watching TV be self-care? 

The short answer; is yes! Not every aspect of your routine needs to be optimized to the limit.  If you want to watch a movie and you shame yourself out of doing it because you feel like it’s not “self-care” enough – when it simply brings you some simple joy and pleasure – then whatever you do afterward won’t feel like true self-care. 

Remember that self-care will look different for different people at different times. You can appreciate reading a book on a quiet afternoon, taking a nap, doing yoga, or watching a movie, and all of these can be good and helpful to you, and they’re not hierarchical. 

Why do you need to give yourself permission to do something that you enjoy? You just as easily could have gone for a hike, and sure, maybe that’s “better” for your body than sitting on a couch and playing a video game, but also … You enjoy this [too]. (Joe Sanok) 

The value of teaching your kids through experiments 

One of the reasons why many people try new things and then subsequently quit them is because they don’t give it a try for long enough. They may not try a new hobby, activity, or routine, and as soon as they start it they quit because it feels too different or new. 

It’s not just like we’re diving in head-first. There’s a trial period for everything that we do to [see] the extent that it’s possible, and I think my kids have grown comfortable with that, so they’re not set in, ‘Okay this is how we do things now, and it’s for forever.’ We try it, see how it goes, and then move on. (Dr. Westring) 

There is a lot of value to be had in teaching kids through trial and experimentation because it provides a period of adjustment and keeping track of effects or changes so that a later, informed decision can be made. 

What do good leaders do – as parents? 

A lot of things about being a good leader can be carried over into what it means to be a good parent, which can include: 

  • Being clear on your values 
  • Defining success on your own terms 
  • Solicit feedback 
  • Creating a shared vision 
Thinking about, ‘What are our shared values as a family? What does our vision of our family life look like?’ … and then ‘What steps would we all need to take to move in that direction?’ (Dr. Westring) 

A fundamental step in leadership is being proactive, and that is something that Dr. Westring wants to encourage parents to do as well. 

As your kids grow up, your conversations with them can mature as they do and you can begin to discuss values, goals, and expectations with them, and subsequent experiments that you can both try to move in these directions. 

Dr. Westring’s advice to private practitioners 

Give yourself and the people who you work with the permission and the space to define what success looks like on their own terms, whether that’s self-care success, career success, or family success. 

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Dr. Alyssa Westring and Stewart D. Friedman – Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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