By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live and work and for many people, trying to balance a career from home along with kids and household accountabilities has left little time for self-care. But prioritizing time for nurturing ourselves is perhaps now more important than ever. Here are some ways to ensure you incorporate self-care into your agenda:
- Establish a Daily and Weekly Routine – Create a daily routine to keep yourself focused and productive. For example, start your work day at the same time with coffee or tea in hand. Have regular calls scheduled and set aside a few hours for project work with your head phones on. Schedule consistent time slots for weekly exercise, meditation and when to end the work day. Once a month schedule a home spa afternoon for yourself - face mask and pedicure anyone?
- Take Breaks – Ensuring you take enough breaks will actually boost your productivity and is good for your mental health. Research has found that focusing on work for 90 minute cycles, followed by a short break can be very beneficial. Include a regularly scheduled time for lunch.
- Keep Moving – As you try to balance home, kids and work assignments, make sure daily movement remains a priority - whether you go out for a short walk, pop in a 30-minute yoga DVD or catch up in your garden. Pausing from the computer screen to be physically active can help reduce stress and open your mind for receiving new, positive energy and ideas.
- Find Healthy Apps – There are apps for everything now so find the ones that help you make self-care a priority. Need a reminder to take a break? The Stand Up! The Work Break Timer will make sure you don’t sit all day. There are also apps for meditation, mindfulness, movement and more. Decide where you may need some extra guidance and seek out an app that works for you.
- Make Time for What you Love – Make a list of those things that make you smile and feel energized and make sure that they are still part of your day or week. Green tea in the afternoon, reading a recipe magazine, an occasional nap, nature, a nightly glass of vino – these are a few of my favorite things.
- Stay Connected – Reduced social connection with colleagues specifically has been hard for many of us. Establish ways to stay in touch with your team, friends and professional besties. And every conversation does not have to be via Zoom. How about a walk and talk meeting while you explore the local park? Also, stay connected with your broader professional networks and any supporting online groups. Initiate these connections if needed. We all need the loving support of our friends right now.
Though our days may be hectic in these challenging times, commit to self-care so both you and your family can not just survive, but thrive. As health influencers, we can set the precedent that care for ourselves during these unprecedented times is a priority.