Self Care in agile teams is critical
These software developers are working to tight deadlines and the pressure is on. They are not all young whipper snappers, just like any team, they need experienced programmers too, so self care, is important to keep the dynamics of the team healthy and functional. Frankly it just makes common sense.
So why is it so hard to find the time – or make the time – to take care of ourselves?
It is essential to be able to perform and learn long term. Ideally agile teams give their staff the break that they need and are working back to back from one sprint to the next. The truth is that a little self care in any team, but especially in agile, is critical. This me time, can go a long way in terms of keeping stress and absenteeism in check. It will also boost loyalty and commitment. So let’s see what we can learn from agile teams.
The bottom line is this…
Self care might seem indulgent,
perhaps even a little self centered
but looking after yourself means
that you will achieve more, with less stress.
That’s exaggerated in agile teams due to the speed of development.
Interestingly most of us have nothing at all against other people indulging in self care. If people that we care about take the time and head space to look after themselves that’s great. We normally are the first to compliment them on eating sensibly, taking some time off or just taking off early at the end of a hectic sprint. So surely we should be able to invest a little time in ourselves too, right?
Wrong. Most of us put it off, get distracted by social media, little jobs,
“I’ll just …”
But paying attention to your own needs from time to time is what keeps us on top of our game and functioning well. Because burnout is real and not just for the lightweights or wimps. It affects all kinds of people, yes, you too! Who do you think your are? Captain Invincible?
None of us are exempt. I don’t want burnout taking you out , because LITTLE KNOWN FACT burnout is a massive self confidence killer, that takes a lot longer to get over than people realise. This is due to the stigma attached to burnout, it’s easier to grin and bear it than share the fact that you are struggling – stiff upper lip and all that, as we say in the UK. So let’s avoid burnout. Let’s invest in self care.
People that are calm and in control tend to come over as being more professional than those that are easily triggered or stressed, don’t they?
Let’s aspire to me one of the calm ones and that means scheduling some self care and giving yourself to look after yourself in a continuous basis,
not just when you are reaching boiling point.
Not everyone appreciates the same type of self care and every situation is different.
Sometimes you will feel the urge to sing your heart out in the car, at others, you will prefer the solitude of the woods. If it has been full on at work, you might crave a beer to celebrate, (even the small wins count) but other times you’ll just want to be on your own with a good book or Spotify/Netflix. The important thing is to have some go-to techniques that you can turn to – not just when you feel yourself leaving the zone of control, but regularly.
Build up a stock pile of self care options, to boost your resilience and keep the happy points clocking up.
Working like a crazy thing without investing in some ‘me time’ is like running a car with no oil or petrol – it’s a disaster waiting to happen. You might get away with it for a while, but we deserve to cut ourselves a bit of slack from time to time and have some time to yourself.
Use this self care tracker for a month and spot the difference
I have created a self care tracker for you, feel free to print it out from this website or download it onto your phone.
Why not send it or share it to a friend that you care about. You can have a lot of fun helping each other to invest in some more time and energy in self care. Exchange photos, your filled in tracker and keep each other going.
Do it for yourself, your team, but most importantly for your kids
We owe it to ourselves but also to our children because we are role modelling healthy working techniques closer than ever now that the family is working remotely and home schooling. Use this as an opportunity to create some healthy working practices that are sustainable and will help them get through education and work with less stress and more success without killing themselves in the process, making them happy, confident individuals.
If you are interested in reading more about self care and meditation for instance, below are a couple of books that I have enjoyed reading
Practical Mindfulness A Step by Step Guide by Ken A Verni DK
the little book of self care by Suzy Reading – a gorgeous little book to give too (in fact this copy is one that I gave to my son)
These are both affiliate links, just to make life easier for you guys, by clicking on and buying from these links, I will get a small commission.
But what if I am a Mum? – it never stops!
I hear you! Women in Europe have a few more responsibilities to juggle than the Dads as a rule (it’s worse in India and some other places though), but it nobody said that you have to do everything now did they!
Even if you don’t have a partner, you no doubt have fabulous friends, colleagues or relatives that can – and would love to – help out. It might be something simple like doing the school pick up on the days when it ends up being a rush. The thing is, it is easy to forget that we are surrounded by people who think that you are amazing and would be happy to help.
Asking for help actually makes you very approachable and if they needed help, you would be happy to help too, right?
We need to make sure that our guys are doing more around the house too, the onus shouldn’t all be on us and for goodness sake, get the kids onboard too. They can and should be doing small tasks, increasing in complexity each year. It will teach them important life skills, independence and they’ll appreciate home life more too. If every one in your home does three jobs a week, that would make a big difference, wouldn’t it?
I think I just need more sleep though Corinne!
Insufficient sleep is one of those things that can drive the most level headed of us absolutely crazy, sleep deprivation is one of those things that you can get away with for a couple of days, but over a longer period of time, it will not only make us put on weight, but is also bad for our health. Check out this podcast episode for some tips and tricks to get that sleep that makes us all function so much better
Language Learning Tip
How can you combine self care with improving your English? Well Netflix is available in English, and once we can get out and move about more freely we can go to the cinemas again, going to watch an English language film with a friend or colleague is a great way to tick all of the boxes
self care ✅
activating your English ✅
Rather than just going home afterwards, why not go for a beer afterwards or a bite to eat so that you can discuss the film – in English.
So I hope that you were inspired by reading this to take a little more time for yourself, because you deserve it
If you work in agile, you might be interested in joining a new facebook group that I have set up to discuss topics like this in English
Subscribers to my newsletter were the first to find out about this podcast and cheat sheet
If you sign up too, you’ll get your personal cheat sheet for your next meeting, with some handy phrases in case your mind goes blank plus a handy layout for you to log who’s who, action points, notes etc all on one convenient sheet.