By Karla Arroyo
Whether you work an eight-hour day with a side hustle, manage family and home or juggle classes, you may find it difficult to take a moment for yourself throughout the day.
After unproductive meetings and lunches with clients, you can’t wait for the moment your head meets your bed. Then, you slowly realize work is becoming your life. Guess what? That's not life! We are here to let you know you can practice self-care wherever you are.
Set Weekly Goals
If you’re just taking a day-by-day approach, you might want to set weekly or monthly goals for things you want to accomplish. Starting off with weekly goals is an easier option to transition as you’ll see results sooner. These goals can be unrelated to work content such as staying professional when your coworker or manager talks down on you. After all, life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it, according to pastor Charles Swindoll. Another goal can be to finish your work by the end of each day so it doesn’t have to carry on until the next day. You can cut off all distractions like using your cellphone and leaving it in your bag/locker so you don’t feel tempted to get up and get it. You should be able to trust that just by setting goals accordingly, you can accomplish what you really want to- especially if you know it’s not impossible. Using a planner helps as it makes it easier to remember things when you actually write them down. If you have a close coworker, you can also ask them to help monitor your goals and keep you on track. Sometimes moral support is all we need!
Take A Break
We’re not always lucky enough to have a smooth day at work. Whenever your day is hectic and it’s not time for break yet, take a quick 10-minute one. Go outside for a walk around the block, go to the restroom, or call a close friend to vent. Make sure to squeeze in a few deep breaths during that break and you’ll return to your desk more refreshed than you felt before. It’s really important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in a high-stress environment because the last thing you want to do is shut down. Once you get to that stage, what can happen next is unpredictable- you might have an emotional outburst, or even worse, fall into a bad situation with your employer.
Find Something You Enjoy at Work
If you’re still at your job, chances are there is something you enjoy doing or at least feel comfortable doing there. You spend approximately eight hours (excluding overtime) there and you’re still alive, right? If the answer is yes, try digging deeper and find out if there is something else you like doing there and can incorporate into your day. Make connections with the heads of other departments and see if they can use your help. This is convenient for someone who enjoys being hands-on and is dynamic- that way you’ll stay entertained and busy even on the slow days. Think of it like prison (might not be the best comparison, but here it goes), you have to be there for a certain amount of time before you’re released- so why not find something to do in the meantime to make time “fly” or accomplish something while you’re in there? Sometimes self-care means keeping yourself busy instead of dwelling on things you don’t want to think about. The busier you are, the less time you have to think about the negatives.
Breakfast of Champions
You should always prepare yourself mentally for the day coming ahead. Some people prepare days before, especially if there is a big meeting or audit coming up. Always make sure to eat breakfast- you wouldn’t believe the positive effect having breakfast will have on the rest of your day. Whether it’s just coffee and a bagel or a catered breakfast from your company, eating before a long day will make it go smoother and your stomach won’t be yelling at you at 11 a.m. If spending money on breakfast (plus lunch) is adding up and you feel you’re spending too much, make coffee at home and bring it in a travel mug. You can also incorporate breakfast into your grocery shopping for the week- bananas are an inexpensive option and they contain fructose which boosts your energy. For lunch, the best option is to bring food from home since you’ll already know what to look forward to at your own expense. If you don’t have time to cook the night before, look up nearby spots on Yelp and find what suits your stomach and your budget.
Take Initiative When Problem Solving and Ask For Help
There are always going to be issues in the workplace no matter where you work. Sometimes these problems will be out of your control and you might panic. Ask a colleague in your department before asking your boss if you don’t feel too comfortable. If your coworker can’t help you solve the problem, reach out to your boss and take that opportunity to ask as many questions as you want and write down the answers. Your notes will always serve as a reference when others aren’t there physically to help you. In some cases, you’ll be presented with problems in which you have to teach yourself how to solve them. These are the best kind because you learn from them on your own. Once you see you can accomplish a difficult task on your own, your confidence in the workplace improves.
Ultimately, we all need money to survive. However, that doesn’t have to be difficult if you maintain your overall mental health at work. There are people who hate their jobs all around but unfortunately have to stay in order to make ends meet. It doesn’t have to be this way as one important tip when job searching and going through interviews, is to interview your interviewer as well. Not only does the employer have to make sure you’re a good fit for them, you have to make sure the company is a good fit for you. Glassdoor.com is a helpful resource that allows you to read employee reviews on the company, along with interview questions and salary reports. If you most of the reviews are negatively detailed, maybe the job might not be the best option for you. If the job site is two hours away from you and reviewers are saying there is a high turnover rate, the same applies. Although not every job is likely to be Utopian, there is a lot of stress that can be avoided beforehand just by utilizing your resources. Once you land that job and go through a few ups and downs, you’ll be the judge of whether it fits in with your anticipated self-care routine.