Invest Time in the Self-Care Habit

Being productive is a wonderful thing; but, too often, we get so caught up in doing that we forget that the person doing the thingis every bit as important as whatever we’re trying to accomplish, if not more so.

For most people, this is a difficult concept. We tend to be results-oriented that we skip meals, stay up late, and work through breaks. We push to keep going, thinking that we’ll accomplish that much more if we do. The truth of the matter is, we’re not only hurting ourselves but reducing our output significantly.

How can this hurt me, you might be asking?  Well, it’s common sense when you think about it. If you’re exhausted, it takes longer to perform simple tasks. Low blood sugar makes for fuzzy thinking. And if you have too much on your plate, you’re not able to dedicate your attention to where it’s needed most. In short, you’re sabotaging yourself, which is why taking the time for self-care is so incredibly important.

With working from home, worry about the health and safety of family and friends, financial concerns especially with massive layoffs that have occurred or may in the coming weeks. All of this is making many working longer and harder to keep up. It can leave one exhausted and not at the level they need to be for peak performance to continue on.

On this weekend, taking care of yourself is important, and you can start by putting a few simple habits in place:

1. Learn to say no. Setting boundaries are one of the most important things you will ever do to save your productivity – and your sanity. By knowing when to say ‘yes’ – and more importantly – when to say ‘no,’ you reserve your energy for what’s important. That means you’ll also free up some of your time to enjoy more self-care. Set beginning and end-times in your work-day and have firm boundaries with family and distractions when working from home. Burning out won’t be good for anyone, least of all you.

2. Remember to rest. Pulling an all-nighter is only cool when you’re young enough to snap back easily the next day. The hard truth? As we age, the quality of our sleep tends to go down, so you’re going to need more of it. Even more importantly, maximize the sleep you do have. A cool dark room is best for REM sleep, as is doing things to turn off your mind before bed. Practice good sleep habits- journal to get your thoughts out, use mindfulness breathing, and invite sleep in to create the right environment.

3. Reward yourself – but not with food. Sometimes we all need that little extra oomph to get us through that project. Rewards give a nice little bump of happiness to get you through the day. So treat yourself to a few minutes of that game on your phone or a movie out when you finish that big project.

4. Celebrate success. Recognizing your accomplishments gives a nice jolt in the self-esteem, right where you need it. So what if the project completed seems small? Every step forward is a step in the right direction and worthy of acknowledgment. Celebrate yourself and every little win; review each day to document goals met, people helped, compliments heard, etc. It’s amazing how many acts we do but not remember.

5. Fuel your body. Eating well gives you the energy you need to get through the day, which includes drinking water to hydrate your cells and regulate blood sugar and metabolism.  Add in forms of exercise, such as lifting weights, walking, or dancing;  you’ll build that staying power you need to accomplish great things.

If you want to be productive, you must first start by making sure your body is capable of that productivity. Taking care of yourself is that first step toward a happier and healthier you.  If you worry about taking too much time for yourself, remember that not taking care of yourself will make you spend more time on the projects you do have. Self-care is just that important.

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