5 Self-care tips to help boost productivity
With a full year of COVID-19 behind us, many of us around the world are still adjusting to a new normal, in which the line between work and everyday life have become blurred. This drastic change in our daily lives has caused collective stress and anxiety to surge, bringing the conversation of self-care to the forefront in 2021. Figuring out a self-care routine that works for you will result in both improved work performance and personal well-being!
When we think of self-care, we think of rest and relaxation, taking time to recharge or to treat ourselves to something that makes us happy. Although all of these can count as self-care, it goes much further than only caring about ‘self’. Self-care is about setting priorities, setting boundaries, and finding purpose. It shouldn’t only benefit us personally but also benefit our friends, partners, and family. How we get there however, is highly dependent on our personal lives and our relationships with those around us.
1. get some sleep.
“Try enjoying a screen-less activity like listening to music or reading a book before bedtime.”
It may seem obvious, but perhaps the most important self-care routine activity would be simply getting enough sleep. According to 2014 statistics from the CDC, up to 45% of adults in the United States get less than the recommended 8 hours per night. Quarantine only serves to exasperate this problem, as our circadian rhythms are thrown off by the lack of light-based cues of sleep and wakefulness, replaced by an increase in the sleep-disrupting blue light emitted by screens on our devices. To combat this, try enjoying a screen-less activity like listening to music or reading a book before bedtime, and stay out of bed when you aren’t planning on sleeping. This will help your brain associate your bed with sleep, making it easier to drift off when you need to.
2. Foster your relationships
“Spending time together outdoors is a great way to enjoy the company of your favorite people…”
Though it may be more difficult to socialize in our socially distant world, there are still ways you can spend time with friends or loved ones in a fun and safe manner. Spending time together outdoors is a great way to enjoy the company of your favorite people in an open environment that provides you with some much needed fresh air. If you’re looking to go out with friends, consider scheduling more frequent one-on-one sessions rather than coordinating a large group gathering. Carving out even just a little bit of time every week to socialize will energize you and raise your mood, which has been proven to result in better work performance!
3. take a pause
“Even a short 15 minute reprieve from work every couple of hours can help make you more productive…”
It can sometimes be hard to sense when it is a good time to take a break from work, and doing so can even seem downright counter-productive when you’re in the thick of a busy workday. But research shows that our prefrontal cortex, the logical part of the brain that keeps us focused on goals, needs a break to function optimally. The stress that is inherent with a long work day can impair the function of this important brain region, causing tasks to become much harder to complete in an effective manner. Even a short 15 minute reprieve from work every couple of hours can help make you more productive, focused, and happy.
4. Get spiritual
“Whether it’s a relationship with your higher power, religious practices, or meditation…”
Though spirituality has been a mainstay of human culture since the beginning of recorded history, even modern studies show that maintaining a healthy spiritual routine can have tangible effects on work performance. Whether it’s a relationship with your higher power, religious practices, or meditation — spirituality provides an outlet for stress relief, a sense of community and belonging, and a healthy belief in your own personal meaning. These qualities allow for a more enthusiastic outlook towards work, which helps you do your job better!
5. make exercise a priority
“Think of exercise as a part of your recreational and work activities.”
If you want to feel and perform at your best, the significance of having a physical exercise regimen simply can’t be understated. Not only is regular exercise beneficial for your physical health, but studies show that it has immediate benefits on your cognitive functioning, too. Exercise has been commonly linked with an elevated mood, and since nearly every occupation requires you to build interpersonal relationships and collaborate with others, the beneficial effects of getting some motion in your day become obvious. Many people think of exercise as a luxury – something they would partake in if they had enough time. Perhaps the problem is that we don’t value exercise as a worthy part of our limited time. So try to think of exercise as a part of your recreational and work activities. Since exercise helps you do all of these things better, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch!
Live your best life
While there is no one-size fits all approach to self-care, what matters is that we take the time to figure out what works for us. Make dates with yourself and commit to making a positive change in your routine. We don’t back out on our friends, so don’t back out on yourself. By being healthy about self-care, you will feel better equipped to be there for your co-workers, friends, and loved ones. Go live your best life!