For many of us, weekends are a time for relaxation. Counting down to Friday becomes routine because it means you can finally recover after five days of beating yourself up at work. However, this is a toxic cycle that tells us we should put self-care on hold for most of the week, when it should actually be something we think about all the time.
Like all things, moderation and balance is key. It’s completely possible to practice self-care even when you’re juggling a hectic career. In fact, it might just be what you need to improve your productivity and quality of work. Here are a few simple ways how.
Plan your day
When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it’s easy to get more stressed out than you should. Those who work in the creative industry, for example, tend to get carried away by the ideas buzzing around in their heads. This makes them too overwhelmed to do actual work. If this sounds like you, Quartz suggests purposefully setting aside periods for deep work and rest. Understand what are your most productive hours and plan your day out accordingly. This helps you to stay focused, while allowing your mind to take mental breathers.
Speaking of mental breathers, it’s important to schedule your day with breaks in mind. Instead of looking at self-care as something to be done outside your 9-5 (or only when you have some free time), find a way to incorporate it naturally into your work day. If you can afford to go outside for a walk, do it. A study published on Scientific Reports found that exposure to nature sounds has a soothing effect on the body. But if you can’t, taking ten minutes to stretch, read a book, or make a cup of coffee will rejuvenate you, too.
Make friends beyond professional relationships
Some people prefer separating work relationships from friendships, but it pays to get to know your colleagues, too. Special Counsel note the importance of personal partnerships at work. In the legal world, networks and connections are vital. But even outside the industry, everyone is going to need help at one point or another. It’s good to have people you know you can turn to who can deliver the solutions you need. Moreover, CNBC states that having friends at work can make you happier and more engaged with your job — making it a win-win situation.
Have a clear work space
Never underestimate the power of a clear desk. Researchers from tech firm Brother found that people feel more productive and advance more in their careers with a tidy and organized work area. Clutter and chaos only lead to unnecessary background stress. So clean up your desk and watch your mental clarity change dramatically. You can even decorate it with things that inspire you, such as art, photographs, or a mantra.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Baby Boomers may have created the workaholic norm, but it doesn’t mean you can’t change it today. Times are changing, and the hours you put into work no longer signify success. Get rid of the notion that if you aren’t tiring yourself out into debilitated health, then you aren’t working hard enough. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects, and never bite off more than you can chew. Lastly, be kind and congratulate yourself on your efforts, no matter how big or small they might seem to others.