"Self-care is your fuel...Whatever the road ahead or the path you've taken, self-care is what keeps your motor running and your wheels turning."
― Melissa Steginus
How hard have you worked to get to where you are today? Think about the long nights, the extra hours and the hard work that you’ve put into your career. With all that groundwork put in, it’s now time to nurture it and let it grow. One element of this nurture is self-care, whether that is relaxing with a book, jogging off your worries or losing yourself in meditation. If you are a young professional, then it’s important to prioritize self-care for your career.
It is essential for our physical and mental well-being we need to stay healthy to ensure that we are able to stay productive both at home and at work. Taking time to care for ourselves is a vital part of the career-building process.
Tip 1 - Have a work-life balance in your career
Work-life balance is a term used in business management to describe the ideal balance between one's personal and professional life. It can be defined as "the extent to which an individual maintains a balanced lifestyle that includes both professional and personal commitments" (Merriam-Webster). This definition emphasizes the importance of balancing professional and personal life which is why we must see it as a priority, both when building our careers and whilst maintaining the professional levels we’ve reached.
Ask yourself these questions to see how well your work-life balance is currently:
• How often does your job interfere with your family life?
• Do you have enough time at home for yourself, or do your family and career activities take up all of your free time?
• What are the implications of your choice for your family life?
• Do you have a healthy attitude towards money?
How have you fared? Have you answered positively or negatively to these questions? Positive answers will show that your work-life balance is working well, negative answers will highlight areas that need to be improved.
Tip 2 - Ways to manage stress in the workplace
Knowing the signs of your own personal stress can be a tricky thing to master. The feeling of overwhelm and the physical side effects of stress can really take its toll. But while this stress is present, try to use it as an opportunity to grow. Use it to understand yourself better and find out what your trigger stress points are. While it’s inevitable, we can be in control of it.
Take some time to relax. When we are stressed, it is important to take some time to relax and remove the daily worries of our workday behind. A healthy way to relax is to find a hobby or an activity that you enjoy. As well as this, make sure you get some rest. You will be more productive at work and less stressed if you are well-rested.
Try not to let stress affect your work. When we feel stressed, it is easy to get distracted or single-minded at work. We often end up spending more time than we should on tasks that are not important to us. If a stressful period is coming up at work, then be prepared and work on techniques to help manage this.
Delegating to others is one way to help manage stress, you don’t have to do everything yourself. There are always other people who can help you.
Create a to-do list of all your tasks and deadlines. Check it daily. Keep it at hand so you can see all the deadlines you have to meet. Set aside time each day or each week to complete tasks. Use the Pomodoro Technique if you want to—setting a timer for 25 minutes, then breaking for 5, and continuing this cycle as many times as necessary.
Adjusted your schedule so that you can avoid the times when your workload is at its peak and your stress levels are at their highest.
When you are feeling stressed, it's important not to make rash decisions. Instead, take some time to cool off and unwind from the situation.
Focus on stress triggers and identify them in advance where possible. This will help you to avoid them or reduce them to help manage your stress levels. Once you have the hang of this kind of foresight, you should see your stress levels reduce and your work-life balance improve.
Tip 3 - Taking care of yourself
Some people have the misconception that their productivity at work will suffer if they prioritize their wellbeing at home. That is not true. People who take care of themselves at home usually become more productive at work. They can focus better and can do their jobs more efficiently. And it’s not that difficult to look after yourself, simple tasks such as eating better, exercising, getting quality sleep and having time to unwind. For example, you could start by eating healthy meals and snacks every day. This would help you feel healthier, more energized and focused at work.
Another useful tip to help you unwind is to adopt some calming measures like reading, listening to calming music, or practising yoga. You can also try some breathing exercises or meditation which can easily be done at your desk or on your lunch break. When we are tired, we make bad decisions and make mistakes so it’s vital to make sure you have enough sleep to make better decisions at work. If you are struggling to sleep then why not try increasing your exercise?
Exercise is a great way to burn energy or the stress of the day. Simple exercise, like going for a walk and getting some fresh air, is one of the most basic exercises that people can do. In fact, it's one of the easiest activities to get started with, so it's a great place to start when you need a quick workout.
Prioritizing your body may feel counterintuitive right now, but if your body is not healthy, you are going to be less efficient when you start your day and throughout the day. It doesn't matter if you are at work or at home. Being physically fit can help you perform at work by increasing your endurance, strength and overall health. When your body is in better shape, it helps you handle physical activities with less effort. This is because the more you exercise, the more blood flow you get throughout your body, resulting in less soreness after exercise. As well as this it can also help to increase your stamina, improve your mental health and help your waistline too!
Tip 4 - Replenish your soul
Self-care is not just about getting enough sleep or getting enough exercise, you need to make sure your mental health is in check. A strong and positive attitude allows you to perform at your best, which will lead to a great career. But when you feel down, your performance will be negatively affected, and your career won't be as successful as it could have been.
You need to think about what brings you joy and what can replenish your soul?
What are the things that bring joy to your career?
Is it doing something meaningful for yourself or others?
Is it improving your expertise or learning a new skill?
What about learning more about your industry, the new developments, and how they can benefit your current career?
Your soul is a part of you, so try to find a way to replenish it and find joy in your career again. What’s the easiest way to keep your soul alive at work? It's very simple: you have to keep your job exciting, keep it fun. One thing you could do is to get competitive. Competition is a great motivator. Give yourself and others a challenge without feeling pressured. It will not only bring a sense of fun but will also act as great team bonding.
Make connections with coworkers and think about the other person as an individual rather than just a member of a team. By engaging in friendly conversation and asking for help, you will be able to get along with your coworkers and be more capable of getting others to join a discussion or offer their expertise.
Learning from others' experiences is a great way to help develop your career without partaking in the work experience yourself. By valuing others' skills and learning from them, you will have a more enjoyable working environment.
Let your co-workers know you appreciate them by showing gratitude. Talk to people on your break, tell them something about yourself, find out something about them. Helping a team member, even if it means you'll have to do something else, is a great way to replenish your soul and make better relationships at work.
Tip 5 - Asking for help
Most careers have ups and downs, and there will be times when you will need support. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed working on a project or dealing with change within the workplace culture. Being in a stressful environment can make it easy to fall into a negative spiral where you start thinking the worst. But remember, you are not alone in this situation.
When you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, the best thing to do is talk to someone you trust. A line manager is an excellent person to talk to — maybe one of your team members. Alternatively, you could find out if there is any counselling support in your organization. It may be necessary to scale back on your work responsibilities or even scale back to part-time or full-time status if this seems appropriate.
If you are overwhelmed with a project, then why not try to focus on one part of the project and delegate the rest to someone willing to take on more work. When you're focusing on one task or responsibility, it will be much easier for you to stay on track and avoid distractions or temptations that come from working on many projects at the same time.
Asking for help is not easy; often, our pride can get in the way. We can be embarrassed, feel ashamed, and guilty about not being able to do this ourselves. It's hard to admit our true needs and vulnerabilities when we don't want to seem needy or that we aren’t able to cope. But it’s really important that you do reach out, otherwise, you can start making rash decisions or avoid the problem altogether, bringing no results.
If you worry about reaching out or are unsure about the next step, then why not try using these statements:
"I feel like I am trying to pass off work on other people, but I am completely deluged. If you have more time, would you be willing to help with the budgeting part of the project? I know that you have expertise in that area, so I would really appreciate your help."
"I am confused about the details of the project. Can we set a time to sit down, talk about it to make sure we are on the same page?"
"I've been dealing with some changes in my family life, and it's caused me a lot of anxiety. It's taking a toll on my ability to do what I need to do. I don't know how to solve this at the moment. I think it could be helpful for both of us if we spent more time in our check-ins setting goals and priorities so I can know when I'm on track."
Tip 6 - Learning a new skill to enhance your career
To keep your career moving forward, it is crucial to continue to learn new skills and work on your personal development. Learning is an excellent way to expand your knowledge base, keep your brain engaged and keep your skills fresh to stay on top of your industry and know what's new. Read industry publications, understand what people are talking about, and go to conferences. Professional organizations hold seminars and webinars all the time, and they're a great way to learn about what's going on in your industry. It is also a great way to connect and meet new people that work in your sector.
Learning a new skill is often an enriching experience. If it's something you like and enjoy, you'll quickly notice yourself improving, which can give you a great confidence boost. You should never stop learning, although this doesn't mean that you have to go back to college and get another degree. You should always be reading books and blogs to expand your knowledge on a particular topic. The more you know about your industry or business, the more valuable you become in the eyes of your boss.
Think about the reasons you want or need to learn.
• Do you want to work with like-minded people who have similar passions?
• Do you want to improve your knowledge in a specific area?
• Do you want to build up your knowledge so you can mentor or teach members of your team?
There's something incredibly satisfying about learning a new skill or developing new talent. You'll feel a sense of pride in yourself and a sense of accomplishment when you learn something new. Learning something new is a great way to boost your self-confidence and feel less intimidated by new things. If you take steps to learn something new, you'll feel more competent and capable of handling new skills in the future, thus adding to the self-care of your career.
Learning something new is also a great way to boost your self-confidence as well as becoming more competent and mastering new skills.
The six tips to self-care in your career that we have discussed will help you keep your career in check for a healthy lifestyle. It is important to have a balance between work and personal time as this is often overlooked and can lead to stress. One way to relieve stress is to find time for leisure and relaxation. Routine physical activity is essential for human health and can play a vital role in brain functioning, the circulatory system, and the immune system. Regular exercise promotes positive moods and reduces stress levels. Replenish and refocus on yourself with some yoga or meditation every day and get the blood flowing with movement.
Refocus on yourself too. Find time to connect with others through friendly chit chat or by scheduling a meeting or appointment. Give yourself grace and patience, learn how to ask for help where needed and make an effort to learn new skills that interest you, like basic computer usage or getting to grips with social media. You may have to start small to build new habits, but it is your life and your career in the long run.
"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." – Anthony J. D'Angelo
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