Following is a guest post by my friend Brad Krause of selfcaring.info/ Much as I did, Brad left the corporate world to help promote the simple notion of self-care through his writing and consulting. In this article below Brad covers the mental health benefits of self-care, using basic but overlooked practices. Let us know in comments what you think of this article and if you would like to hear more from Brad.
Over to Brad Krause!
Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care in Your Busy Life
Busy people don’t have time for themselves. They’re dedicated to their careers, passion projects, families, volunteer work, partner’s dreams, friends’ problems, neighborhood functions, professional organizations and children’s schools. When you’re a busy person, there’s just no time for you because your time is being used up in so many other ways. This is how you’ve functioned for years…until you finally get burned out. This is when you need to practice self-care and focus on you. It is possible to take care of yourself when you lead a busy life, and here’s how.
Go on a lunch break. Many busy people work through lunch either because they have too many things on their plate (except food), they’re overly devoted to their jobs, or they think everything will fall apart without them. Don’t be this person. Take a break, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. You need to eat, and your brain needs a mental break. Your creative thinking suffers if you don’t. You might even need a social conversation with coworkers to make your job feel a little more fun. The work will still be there when you get back to your desk, and you’ll probably be more effective at your job after that break.
Don’t bring work home. Unless you work from home, you should never take work home. Home is your sanctuary and safe space. It’s not an extension of your office. If you do work from home, keep your bedroom off limits for work-related activities. Not only will working from the bedroom make it harder to focus on work, but you’ll also have trouble falling asleep because the stress from work carries over into your place of slumber.
Sleep in. If you’re not already sleeping at least seven hours a night, you’re probably sleep deprived. It might seem impossible to sleep earlier because by the time you’re done with dinner and dishes, it feels like you barely have any night left. You can change that by sleeping in later. Make Sunday meal prep day so you have a grab-and-go breakfast and dinner ready to reheat during the weekday. Get your morning routine done at night. Exercise after work and take a shower at night to save yourself an hour each morning. Set out your clothes and pack your work bag before bed. When morning comes, getting ready will be a fast and easy process.
Eat a variety of food. Self-care means feeding your body healthy food, but it also means letting yourself live a little. You’ll get bored eating the same foods every day, so treat yourself with a variety of healthy foods and an occasional cheat meal. Healthy eating will make you feel better overall, but monotonous eating can be hard to stick to. Change up the menu to prevent boredom with your diet choices and to increase the likelihood of maintaining healthy habits. If you can’t come up with new ideas to cook every day, subscribe to a meal plan that gives you new, healthy recipes to follow every day, along with grocery list printouts.
Practice stress management techniques. De-stressing looks different for everyone. It could be meditation, exercise, going out into nature, playing with dogs, coloring, or a Zen garden for your desk. It’s whatever relaxes and calms you. Find your Zen and tap into it anytime you feel stress coming on.
Say no to negativity. Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, don’t let negativity permeate your life. That means saying no to anything that doesn’t serve you or make you happy. That means removing negative influences from your life. That means cutting off ties with people that cause you pain. That means setting boundaries at work.
You don’t need to spend hours each day or even a full day each week to practice self-care. It can happen in the little things that you might overlook—the things that take minimal effort while making a big difference. As you continue to practice these things, you might actually graduate to giving yourself a real break.
Photo Credit: Unsplash