10 Ways to Build Self-Care Into Your Work Day

It’s been all the rage for the past few years - self-care. But how do you really implement it as a creative online business owner? I wanted to share ten things that have worked for me, especially as I recover from last year’s burnout!

DON’T START WORK RIGHT AWAY

When we keep our phones right next to our beds, or our laptops, it can be really tempting to turn it on first thing in the morning and check everything - social media, email, Paypal, etc. 

But that doesn’t really help you feel calm, does it? Instead, it throws you straight into that day’s drama, whatever it is. If you have an unhappy client in your inbox, all of a sudden you’re in an awful mood before you’ve even gotten out of bed.

Instead of doing this, make sure you take time for yourself. Eat a good breakfast away from Netflix or email. Read a chapter of a book. Go to the gym.

Make sure that you take care of yourself before you start going directly into work, and you’ll be amazed at how much better and more productive you feel!

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Whether you do this in the morning or at night, make sure you take a few minutes out of your day to practice gratitude. Just list three specific things that you’re grateful for!

This will help you see how much good there is around you, and help you feel more positive and uplifted. When we focus on what what we have that makes us feel good, instead of what we lack or are put off by, you’ll start to see more of those good things in your life.

I personally love using the 5 Minute Journal for this! You list three things that you’re grateful for, what will make today amazing, and an affirmation. This simple practice means that I never have to think about what’s going in the journal - I just follow the prompts and I feel so much more happy and grateful.

MEDITATE INSTEAD OF GOING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

You know those moments when you have a few minutes between tasks or meetings, and you just want to stop working for a minute? So you open your phone and go to Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc.

Suddenly it’s been two hours and your work has been forgotten and you’re caught up in whatever’s happening online.

A more productive way to use those little pockets of time, without losing two hours to your phone, is to meditate. You’ll feel more alert, aware, and calm, which will then help you be more productive when you do go back to work.

I’m loving the Headspace app for 10-minute guided meditations! If you’re not familiar with meditation, or how to meditate, I’d highly recommend their “Take 10” series - it’s 10 days of 10 minute guided meditations that teach you all about how to meditate.

DIFFUSE ESSENTIAL OILS

I’ve recently gotten into essential oils, thanks to my friend Brittany! She shared all about them when I was at our mastermind retreat in February, and since then I’ve been hooked.

Diffusing essential oils can change your mood, and how you feel about the work that you’re doing. You can also anchor specific scents to your work day, so that whenever you start diffusing that scent your brain goes “Oh, it’s time to work! Let’s get to it!”

The brand that I’ve been using is Young Living - and honestly, their starter kit has been so beneficial for me. I’ve been loving Stress Away (which seriously sends your stress out of your body!!), Peppermint, and Lemon.

They have so many different scents that you can find what works best for you, and what you love smelling while you work. There’s also a whole science to essential oils, so you can find out what works best for productivity!

GO FOR A WALK AT LUNCH

This is a pretty simple one, but I’m willing to bet that you don’t do this very often. If you’re anything like me, you’re sitting at your desk (or on your couch!) and working for at least 6-8 hours per day.

That means that your muscles are just, well, sitting there. And I’m also willing to bet that like me, you spend a lot of your time sitting inside.

Getting out for even a five minute walk will help you refocus, stretch your muscles, and get some much needed sun. I like to take a quick walk around lunch since I’m already up and moving anyways! This is a great way to just spend time with yourself, for yourself.

HAVE A VIRTUAL (OR REAL LIFE) COFFEE CHAT

When you work from home, it can get really lonely. Especially if you’re a solopreneur, and there aren’t people in your life who really get what you do. It can also be scarily easy to not leave your house for weeks at a time!

That’s why scheduling in virtual, or real life, coffee chats can be so helpful. We’re social creatures by nature, even us introverts. But taking 20-60 minutes to just talk with another person can be so invigorating.

It can help remind you that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one doing this online business thing, and that you have people in your life who want you to succeed.

My friend Kaitlyn has a great way of doing this - she has a couple coffee chats every Friday! I love the idea of having a spot in your schedule that is dedicated to having these coffee chats - that way you’re always connecting with people!

WORK OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE

One of my favorite things to do, hands-down, is work from a local coffee shop. I’m lucky enough that my favorite coffee shop in all of Austin is a five minute walk from my apartment, so it’s really easy for me to pack up a couple days a week and work from there.

But it could be a library, a co-working space, a friend’s house, etc. The where doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re outside of your house.
Changing up your environment means that you can connect with new people, you can often feel more productive in a different place, and you can treat yourself to a fancy drink while you work.

This also ensures that you don’t fall into the workaholic hermit, as mentioned before. (Trust me, I’ve totally been there before. It’s not as fun as it may sound!)

If you go to the same place, you can also really start to develop new relationships and friendships. For example, I’ve been working at the same coffee shop for almost a year now and know all of the baristas really well. That familiarity really makes the coffee shop feel like a second home, and I know that I’ll always have a table to myself, fun conversation, and delicious food and drinks.

TREAT YOURSELF TO A LUXURIOUS DRINK

Going off of the coffee shop example above, make sure you #treatyoself! While you don’t have to have an entire Treat Yo Self day like Donna and Tom do in Parks and Rec, you should definitely have small #treatyoself moments.

And one of the easiest ways to treat yourself? A luxurious drink from your favorite coffee shop. 

For me, it’s a matcha latte with coconut milk. While I make matcha for myself at home, it’s literally just powdered matcha and hot water. But when I get it at a coffee shop, it’s a higher quality matcha with steamed milk - which is a whole different experience.

Find out what that really nice, delicious drink is for you and then once a week or so go treat yourself to it! After all, what’s the point of working for yourself if you can’t have a delicious, professionally-made drink every so often? ;) 

DO OFFICE-CHAIR YOGA

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily something that I do. But it’s so helpful and goes back to what I was saying about taking a walk during the day.

Our bodies aren’t meant to sit for 10-16 hours a day, and especially not in front of a computer. But by doing some office-chair yoga, you can stretch out your muscles and counteract the effects of sitting in the same position for so long.

Yoga also has numerous health benefits, and is a great way to look after your body. You can easily work in a five minute office-chair yoga routine next time you need to stretch or after completing a task.

WORK ON A PASSION PROJECT

If you’re just working on work all day every day, you’ll soon forget what else you love to do outside of that work. Which I can say from personal, and recent, experience.

By making the time to work on a passion project every day or a couple days a week, you’re giving yourself permission to make something just for the sake of making it! This can reinvigorate your creativity, help you work through work-related problems in the back of your head, and really just have fun.

I would also recommend working on your passion project before you dive into client work, if you work with other people. That way you are spending the first part of your day making something for you before you give your brainpower to someone else’s needs. 

This can also tie into not starting work right away! If you want to create a non-negotiable morning routine that includes working on your passion project, go for it. That way you’re really nourishing yourself before going into your inbox or social media and getting swept up in what the day has in store for you.

I’d love to hear from you! How do you build self-care into your workday?

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