Increase Productivity with Self-Care
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
We are already into the second month of the New Year, and hopefully your commitment to self-care is still a priority on your long list of to-dos. Self-care is not a luxury, but is essential if you want to be more productive. What does self-care mean for you? Instead of trying to add things to your already full schedule, re-evaluate what you are currently doing and decide what supports your well-being. Start by reframing the idea of self-care. Look at it as restorative and energy giving vs. being selfish. Self-care does not have to be one more thing to do, rather it might mean taking something off your list. Start by asking yourself what priorities you want in your life? Are you in a pattern of habits that are not supporting these priorities? Here are a few tips to ensure you give self-care the time it deserves:
- Track how you spend your time. Write down the activities and tasks you do each day and the time you spend on each thing. Identify the top five things you spend the most time on and evaluate if they are reflective of your priorities. By decreasing time on something you do not truly value you can make space for something more purposeful.
- Check in on your screen time. While screens are an essential part of our work and personal life, take a hard look at how much time you invest in watching a screen. If you want to cut back, remove any apps from your phone that are time-wasters. Silence alerts and turn off the constant news reports. Designate certain times of the day for checking into social media.
- Choose restorative ways to reduce stress. Consider the things that bring you peace of mind and happiness. Taking a walk in nature, reading a book with a cup of herbal tea, a monthly spa treatment, or perhaps a yoga class. Identify what brings you joy and calms your mind and make sure to schedule time for these activities on your calendar.
- Set relationship boundaries. Whether it’s a coworker, sibling, parent, or neighbor, we all have people in our lives that make us feel drained or more anxious after interacting with them. Having boundaries in these relationships create emotional health, and they are created by people with emotional health. Be aware of people who try to take advantage of you or who are constantly asking you to fix their problems. Try to define what your personal boundaries are, what the consequences are if someone breaks them, and make sure to communicate this information to those people who need to know.
These small steps add nothing to your to-do list. They will however, create space in your life to do the things that support positive self-care and overall mental health and well-being.