Self care is a trend that has swept social media and society overall by storm. It is something that, rightfully so, has become a popular and prevalent part of life, slowly being taken more seriously by those within the workforce. However, just because it is prevalent does not mean it is easier than before. Oftentimes, these tips and tricks across the internet do not take into account the people that need them most, namely the small business owners and working class individuals that have very little time to care for themselves and their families. It is incredibly important to seek out self help advice that applies to your needs specifically instead of trying to force yourself into a self care method that doesn’t work for you. In fact, sometimes trying to practice self care that doesn’t have your busy schedule in mind can cause even more stress. At the end of the day, you are the expert in what your body needs to keep going. However, a few universal tips meant for people with busy schedules never hurt anyone!
- Checking in on yourself
Author and business expert Brene Brown gives us an interesting insight while describing her time as a waitress in a busy restaurant. In the restaurant business, if a waiter came into the kitchen and proclaimed that they were “in the weeds”, it meant that they were stressed and needed the help of another waiter to deal with the customers they had. If a waiter came into the kitchen and stated that they were “blown”, it meant that they were completely overwhelmed, in which case they were allowed ten minutes of complete calm to get themselves back into a healthy mindset. One of the best ways to understand what your body and mind need is to understand the difference between being “in the weeds” and being “blown”. “In the weeds” is stress, the feeling that you have your hands in too many jars and need some help juggling these things. In this case, it is time to ask for help. Asking for help is one of the most underrated and under-practiced forms of self care. It may seem like an inconvenience to those around you, but truthfully you are helping others as well as yourself by preserving your peace of mind. “Blown” is being completely overwhelmed. It means that you have taken all that your body and mind can take and the only thing that will revitalize you at this point is removing yourself from the craziness. This is when your active self care techniques come into play. Learn to understand your stress levels and know when you can continue going with the help of others and when you need to take yourself away from whatever you are dealing with to recharge.
- Making time
Okay, so you have become completely “blown” or overwhelmed by your busy schedule and it is time to give yourself some space to step back. But how do you create the time to do that? Doing scheduling gymnastics just to give yourself an extra few hours each day to relax does not sound like a prime way to practice self care. This is when it becomes vital to ask for time off. While it is historically not a popular idea to ask for time off for mental health reasons, more and more business owners are learning the benefits of mental health breaks in the office space. If your boss/co-worker/scheduling person does not understand the benefits yet, now is a good time to educate them. Be honest and direct. Let your boss know that you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount you have on your plate and that you feel the only way for you to complete your job the best way you know how is to take a moment to recoup and recollect yourself. Your boss should be understanding of this, as you have made it clear that your ability to do your job effectively will enhance once you have taken time to yourself. Again, you are the best judge of how much time is necessary to feel less overwhelmed. If you need just a few hours of total relaxation to get yourself back on track, then that’s what you should ask for. However, if a day of rest is necessary, then don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Rest cannot happen during a storm. You need to teach yourself and your peers that self care is what makes people better at their job, and what better way to teach them that than by example?
- Training your brain to relax
You have carved out some time for yourself to relax and recharge. But you’ve realized an issue: you don’t know how to relax. It is very common for people on very busy sides of the workforce to get stuck in the mindset that if they are relaxing, they are being unproductive. This is not true in the slightest. Relaxing is how you refuel your productivity. You cannot expect to be going at full steam 100% of the time. Relaxation is, in fact, one of the most productive things you can do. Knowing that from a logical standpoint is one thing, but teaching your mind and body to understand that is another thing entirely. While taking your relaxation time, you might find yourself feeling an intense sense of guilt for taking time for yourself instead of getting things done. Tell the voice in your head nagging you to get stuff done that you are building up energy to be the best version of yourself and that this is a form of productivity. It will take time for sure, but it is imperative that you train your brain to let you rest without the constant guilt that you are not getting things done. This is the key to self care on a busy schedule. Let your free time be free time. Let yourself live outside of your to-do list.
Self care is not near as simple as it is painted to be on social media. It takes genuine practice to get to a point where self care becomes natural. However you choose to practice self care, give yourself the proper amount of time and space to do so. Do not be afraid to take time off to recharge and recoup. Recognize whether you are “in the weeds” or “blown” and give your body what it needs to feel afloat again. And above all else, you are the ultimate expert on what you need. Listen to your body.