Self-Care Tips for Motivation
I’ve been going through a rough transition this past month. Working on a busy hospital service with so many sick kids can really drain you, and having the feeling of little to no support from ancillary staff can be even more draining. My mornings have been starting at 4:30 to sometimes 6:00pm or later. It’s during these times where self care is of the utmost importance. I’m definitely not perfect - take my diet and exercise routine for example (i.e.: non-existent since starting this new type of work). I’ve seriously stopped working out and getting that cardiovascular fitness is SO important.
Here are some self care tips that I’ve tried to incorporate in my 60 hour+ work week:
- Schedule a massage. It’s easy to feel overworked and stressed when you’re working so much and SO easy to focus on the negative (for example, working SO many hours and still feeling like there’s more work to do). To keep those feelings of stress at bay, scheduling a massage can be a real treat and let your mind quiet down for a bit, even if it’s only for an hour.
- Get that mani and pedi you’ve always wanted! Nothing makes me feel prettier and at least somewhat groomed than having a nice pedicure and feeling pampered. Even better, try scheduling this with #1 and you can have a great “Me” day.
- Writing down your goals for the following day the night before. What has really helped keep my stress at bay is starting to write down my goals for the next day before I head to bed. It empties my mind and re-focuses me on the goals that I have for the following day, clearing my head so I can have a good night’s rest before tackling the day’s work.
- Eating well. I admit, I’ve definitely fallen off the wagon when it comes to healthy eating. From juggling long hours at work to coming home with no groceries, most dinners have been spent eating a bowl of cereal for dinner (Cheerios, anyone?). But I also try and keep in mind healthy eating choices for breakfast - at least one healthy meal a day makes me feel less guilty for not eating a great dinner.
- Journaling. I’ve recently started this in the beginning of the month and I’ve found that it really helps clear my head and helps me vent about the days work. Sometimes I know my husband doesn’t want to hear all the details of my work every time I come home from work, so it’s nice to have something to vent into at night. It might sound boring or cliche, but try it out for a week or two and see how your body’s stress response decreases!
- Meditating. I’ve started doing this as well for 5 minutes in the morning before I drink my morning cup of coffee. It provides a sense of clarity and I’ve noticed it calms me down for not just those 5 minutes but also for the rest of the day and I can make decisions easier. If you’re new to meditation, like I was, try Headspace - it’s a free app with guided meditations to help newbies (such as myself!) with meditating.
- Write a thank you note. Studies have shown that showing gratitude is correlated with overall happiness. Break out the fun stationary and get your gratitude on!
- Take the evening off to be simply present. When life gets your down, or just gets plain busy with deadlines and meetings, it can be easy to think about the next day or even week and get consumed in future deadlines. Taking an evening off and just being present in the moment can help de-stress your racing thoughts. Go out for a nice dinner with your partner, or have a meal among friends - you’d be surprised at how even just an hour or two of being in the moment can make you feel 100x better.
- Phone a friend. I admit, I am the worst at keeping in touch with distant friends. In the world of Facebook and other social media avenues, it’s easy to superficially catch up with how your friend from college several thousand miles away is doing, or to congratulate a friend on a new baby. But there’s something different about the shared experience of a meaningful conversation with a friend just to say hi. Pick up the phone and call anyone you’d like to have a conversation with - I’m sure the other party would feel gratitude for you taking the time to say hello.
- Walk outside. Now, I’m not talking about a full on cardio sweat workout for hours on end (if you have the time for even an hour, great! do it! Exercise is really important!). Taking even a 10-15 minute walk outside can really help you get a change of pace and environment especially after sitting around all day at work. I call it a gratitude walk, but you can call it whatever you like - it s a nice break outside the regular work rut and you get some Vitamin D too!