How to Maintain Sanity: 5 Tips for Self Care

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If you haven’t caught on yet from my previous posts, I am a bit of an advocate for work-life balance and self-care. I think that anyone, regardless of how healthy they are stands to benefit from having a healthy work life balance. Below are some things that I try to implement in my own life. Some days I am better about these than others, but I find when I can do even one or two of these items every day, I wind up being a much more contented person.

Have lunch out every day. 

And by lunch out, I mean to get up from your desk and go somewhere different to have lunch away from the day-to-day bustle of your job. As an example, I had a co-worker, who every day would sit in our little cafe and read the paper. It didn’t matter how crazy things were, he would be there for a half hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) enjoying his day. I also had another co-worker who never ate lunch alone. He told us that you should aim to go to lunch every day (even if you just brought it) and meet with other people: coworkers, bosses, friends. You never know how much you can learn from lunch meetings. Also note to self: this guy became partner in his firm really fast… coincidence? I think not – so eat your lunch OUT.

Have no-phone zones and times during your day. 

Whether it is during dinner, or right when you get home, or an hour before bedtime, have some periods in your life where there is a phone -free zone. During these times, use your phone only for calls and don’t check email, social media, etc. Its especially helpful to do this before bedtime, as limiting your exposure to blue light will help you rest. Having phone-free zones also helps you to focus on those people and situations right in front of you. I’ve tried this a few times while commuting on the metro, and it is wonderful the things you notice when you aren’t plugged into anything electric!

Do something you enjoy every day.

Some people run, others knit, while still others read, sing, play a sport, or putz around in a garden. But whatever it is, make time for something that you truly enjoy every day. 15 minutes is all it takes!

Take time for complete silence.

Lets face it: our world is hyper and crazy. It is no wonder that emotions are running incredibly high. A number of people are now starting to realize the room for silence. Whether you practice mindfulness, you meditate, chant a mantra, pray, or just think, take time for silence. Turn your phone off, go in a quiet office (if you have one), and sit alone with your own self for a good 20 minutes. Even 10 minutes is a great way to start if the thought of silence scares you.

Bring back the constitutional!! 

Ever wonder how our forefathers and mothers got so much done? Well reading any memoirs show us that they did a lot of things that are just plain good for you, including taking long walks. These constitutionals, as they were called, often had no point or end, just involved walking. Sometimes done in groups, or alone – it was a way for people to relax. The key point is to do this without an end: as in walking to/from work, or for an errand doesn’t count. Think of it more as a meandering stroll that you can do during the day, or even after you get home at night.

This list is by no means exhaustive! There is also a lot to be said for drinking a lot of water (especially right when you get up – try drinking 8 oz first thing out of bed and see how you feel), limiting alcohol and caffeine, and eating healthy. But these are just a start. What about you? What are some things you do for self-care?

Beth Schill is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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11 Comments

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Cliff

Whether by practice or coincidence, I do most of these things during every workday. I was surprised to see the tip about drinking water first thing out of bed, because I’ve been doing that for a couple of years! It’s even better if you use one of those cups that keeps things cold for hours (you know, the large, hairy creature who lives in the high Himalayas or one of its many cousins that seem to be everywhere now).

Gloria

Great Idea! I will add these to my bucket list of daily routine after saying my morning prayer of thanks for a good night sleep.

Nancy

I love the simplicity of “back to basics”. It seems so logical and yet I had to read this article to remember how much I used to enjoy several of these suggestions. Thanks for the reminder.

Beth Schill

I, too, in writing the article had a few moments where I thought, “This is so simple! I really need to do this more!” That is, in part, why I wrote it. Like I said, I don’t always do all of the above, but if I can, I am a better, happier and healthier person.

Lacey

Great tips! Love it – especially the constitutional and eating lunch out. Great ideas that I will try out for myself… starting TODAY.

Beth Schill

Great! Let me know how it is going. Like any good habit – it takes a good month to set new behaviors in place.

Profile Photo Aaron

Taking walks are very helpful. I often times walk around downtown Salem, Oregon during one of my 15 minute breaks because I enjoy the fresh air. I also enjoy watching people drive by in cars. It helps remind me that there is no need to panic, rush, or stress. The sun will rise and it will set. As long as I manage my time well and plan ahead, I can accomplish everything on my to-do list.

By the way, taking those 15 minute breaks is much easier said than done.as a supervisor. Sometimes I get so excited about my work that I keep going for a few hours straight and then realize it’s lunch time. I am working on breaking that bad habit.

Beth Schill

I think this is so honest and true for supervisors. I had a few bosses who would put times on their calendar that say “Do not schedule” and they would use this to eat lunch, get a coffee, etc. It is important to set healthy limits so that you are ok. I’ve found in my own life that if I was not taking care of myself, it was incredibly difficult to be there for my direct reports.

And yes the sun will rise and set every day – and constitutionals are so undervalued! There is a reason there is an idiom about taking time to smell the flowers. It is good for our mental health!