Last week, a Facebook post from business friend of mine reminded me of the importance of looking after yourself. She posted a great link to an online freebie self-care guide from The Blurt Foundation. The timing could not have been more apt, as I’d just returned from holiday, refreshed and revitalised, after a pretty exhausting summer. As always, it had taken me a week to wind down and relax, and I returned full of plans to manage my time better and look after myself in the future. I make these promises to myself every time I take a break, but within a few days I’m back to my old habits. Perhaps the suggestions in this free eBook will help keep me on track this time.
Self-care. Everyone’s talking about it. Whoever we are and whatever we do, we all need to take the time to look after ourselves. This summer I noticed an increasing number of my student clients telling me that they were suffering from stress whilst writing up their dissertations and theses – there is such great pressure on people to succeed these days. A couple of my students had even fallen ill.
So, when we are studying or working hard in front of the computer what self-care steps can we take? First, take a look at your time management. I’ve posted about this in the past. Remember planning out an essay, dissertation or longer piece of work is time well spent. Knowing when you need to finish the research, start writing up each chapter, allowing for days off and sending your work for proofreading well before the deadline will give you peace of mind, and also warn you when you are getting behind. Of course, it’s not possible to foresee the unforeseeable, but having an extra few days will act as a ‘cushion’ to absorb any short delays.
Working alone as a digital freelancer can be a lonely road to travel. It’s easy to get caught up in a virtual world based around your computer, so try to get outside into the fresh air every day. I’m lucky (well, I don’t always say that when it’s raining) but my two dogs make sure I go for two good walks every day. I also find that a daily session of YogaWithAdriene gives those muscles that have been hunched up in front of the screen a good stretch, and a weekly yoga class in the village gets me out of the house once more. Ten minutes daily meditation using one of the popular apps like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer also keeps the monkey mind thoughts in check.
There are lots of self-care ideas online. From getting out into nature to eating good whole food meals to making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. Don’t spend all your time working ~ do other ‘stuff’ that you like and enjoy doing as well. Sometimes, when you really enjoy your job, research or business, it’s difficult to let go and step away. But, don’t forget to treat yourself, too. A warm bath, a good read, a square of your favourite chocolate, it doesn’t have to be expensive – my current treat is a rice cake with a thick layer of Bionella, vegan ‘Nutella’-type spread. Hmm … that’s whetted my appetite, maybe it’s time for a treat for writing this blog post?