Long days, endless appointments, calendars filling up before you can take a breath… As the projects pile on, so does the stress. With endless items on your daily to-do list, you’ll do anything to free up a few extra minutes. Often times self-care is the first thing to go. But that ends up only making things worse.
Though it may sound indulgent, self-care is essential to functioning and performing to the best of your ability. When you constantly commit yourself to the idea that “hard work pays off,” it becomes easy to take that mindset too far without even realizing it.
The truth is, many of us let our work-ethic actually get in the way of making progress – but that’s where self-care can help! By putting a few simple habits into practice, self-care will reduce the negative effects of stress, prevent “overload burnout,” and help you refocus on what matters.
If you are guilty of putting your own needs on the back burner, here are several changes you can make in your self-care routine:
Make time to eat well and exercise, even if you’re busy
This one is probably the easiest to neglect and the hardest to stick to. Instead of making dramatic lifestyle changes immediately, try focusing on one area at a time. Try squeezing in a 20-minute walk or cutting out sugar one day a week.
Practice good emotional hygiene
While the physical aspects of health are obviously important, the emotional side doesn’t always get the same attention. Throughout your day try taking a second to process any intense emotions or even write them down in a journal. By acknowledging your feelings as they come, you can make sure they don’t get the best of you or your work.
Protect your schedule
Learning to say no can be tough, but it’s a necessary part of managing stress and maintaining your sanity. Before squeezing in an extra appointment, try blocking off some downtime in your day to do something you truly enjoy.
Spend your time on what matters
Being constantly busy can feel good, but sometimes true progress will come from being unproductive. If you focus on one big accomplishment each day, you’ll be more aware of what things really matter to you and how you should be spending your time
It’s important to keep in mind that self-care is not a reward – it’s part of the process.
For more information on how self-care can make you happier, healthier, and more productive, read here.