Do you recognize any of these patterns:

  • You feel exhausted, irritable, or ill-tempered
  • Your social life and/or relationships are suffering
  • You have lower back problems, high blood pressure, and/or other physical complaints
  • You have given up on exercise
  • You eat poorly
  • You struggle to sleep or sleep a lot
  • You miss deadlines often
  • You neglect your finances
  • You have an addiction that is affecting your life

If you said yes to some or most on the list, you are stressed or even burnt out. Stress undermines our individual and collective ability to perform, connect, create, and innovate.

As leaders, you are exposed daily to pressures. Overseeing programming, monitoring performance, mobilizing resources to keep the organization afloat, and keeping the vision alive. You work long, irregular hours, and travel often. You lack sleep, don’t exercise, have unhealthy eating habits, and can’t keep cold and flu at bay. You feel you can’t afford to take time out because work for the just cause must be prioritized always. Right?

I have come to tell you that you have an obligation to yourself and the organization to take care of yourself. How much use is a leader who is tired, uninspired, feels drained and burnt out most of the time?

The road to self-care by a leader is a slow journey of breaking the habit of a workaholic. Taking short breaks, having downtime with friends, treating oneself: it doesn’t come naturally, the ‘self-care muscle’ must be build one step at a time. “They tried to get me go to rehab and I said no no no”, sang Amy Winehouse. I will take you there in my talks. So, welcome to Self-Care Rehab for Leaders! Change starts with you.

This is the introduction of talks I gave for activists at the #IntersexAfrica Regional meeting hosted by Iranti-Org. Originally posted on Linked In. Book a talk now to promote wellness among your staff at