Self-care: simple ways to start managing stress
It seems like the term ‘self-care’ is everywhere these days, and with good reason. Busy schedules and the mid-winter blues have people looking for ways to improve their mindsets. Taking time for oneself can seem like a big ask when you’re busy with work, your home life or any number of things you might be juggling, but self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s helpful to think of self-care as simple habits you can adopt to keep yourself happy, healthy, and mentally sharp.
Here are some tips to you get started:
Give your brain a breather!
Studies show that our ability to focus decreases significantly after about 90 minutes of concentration. Give yourself a little mental distance from what you’re working on, even for one minute, and come back to your task with fresh eyes.
It can be easy to remember to drink lots of water when the weather is warm but it’s equally important to stay hydrated in the winter, particularly if you’re on your feet a lot as a property manager, maintenance worker or personal support worker. Though your water intake may vary based on your activity level, environment and overall health, it is generally recommended that adults drink approximately eight cups of water per day. Keep a reusable water bottle with you to help you get into the habit.
Take an actual break
Taking a lunch break isn’t always possible, but it’s important to step back from your work for a brief time. Even if you end up eating at your desk or on the go between one site and another, try to make time to go for a short walk, talk to someone about something other than work, stretch out your neck and shoulders, complete a couple of crossword clues or listen to music. Just 15 minutes can rejuvenate, refresh, and increase your energy as well as your ability to concentrate.
Eat healthy snacks
Set yourself up for success by packing something healthy to graze on throughout the day. This is particularly important if you’re unable to take a full lunch break. Make sure it’s something you like in addition to being healthy; if carrot sticks aren’t your thing, try fruit or unsalted nuts. Don’t forget to treat yourself every now and then!
In your free time
Start off on the right foot
Start your day in a positive mindset by doing something you enjoy. Have a nice cup of coffee or tea, spend a few minutes with loved ones or pets or do some light exercise.
Take a few minutes to mentally separate from work. Whether it’s listening to a podcast on transit or singing in the car on your way home, going for a walk, jog or doing yoga, taking some time to get out of that work headspace can be very helpful in creating a line between work and home. If you can walk or bike to work, the exercise will get the endorphins flowing to start and end your day.
Take some time to plan your meals and grocery list. Having a plan can help eliminate weeknight stress over what to have for dinner. Don’t feel guilty about ordering in or going out for a meal if you’re truly too overwhelmed to cook.
Take some time to do something you truly enjoy.
Love to cook? That’s an easy win! Otherwise, taking a moment to read a book, knit, write in a journal, play video games, etc., can help you find the balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do.
It may seem simple, but initiating these basic changes in your life and building them into a routine are a great way to get you started thinking about and practicing self-care. A little can go a long way to reducing your stress, increasing your productivity, and making you feel happier overall.
Check out our post on mindfulness for tips on uncluttering your mind for a moment or two.
Interested in trying yoga? There are many videos online for the complete beginner and varying levels of physical ability. It’s a great way to decompress at the end of the day and to ease tension in your neck, shoulders and upper back.