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Every year, I tell myself that I’m going to continue to blog in May (aka the month of the Bee, which always flies by because I get very little time to spend outside of the “How many wired connections do we need at the social media tables? Has that logo been updated in the app yet? And also, how many spellers are we bringing to D.C. this year?” frame of mind.) It’s a crazy, exhausting, wonderful week, and this year I managed to log over 100 hours of work in 7 days, according to my trusty life tracker app.
Now that I’m home, I have a list full of things to do, from the mundane (wash everything in my suitcase) to the exciting (dive back into my latest WIP). But one thing I’m putting at the top of my post-Bee list is self care.
I feel like self care for young professionals isn’t something we see all that often, and because of that, we aren’t the best at it. We think it’s not a priority or doesn’t fit into our budgets. We put it off as something we can do later once we accomplish X, Y, and Z. And then we work ourselves into the ground and wonder why it’s taking such a toll on our mental states.
Working for the Bee means my year tends to follow the school calendar, so it’s basically January for me, and my main resolution for this year is not letting myself be too busy, too broke, too anything to keep myself from focusing on self care and my mental health.
I’ve put together my own little list of ways to beat the 9-5 blues, and I thought I would share them with anyone looking to start their own self care regimen:
Simple Self Care for Young Professionals Who Don’t Have Time or Money to Waste
Give your mind a break
Our brains are always taking in and processing information, even when we aren’t consciously scrolling through social media or focusing on our computer screens. And I’d say that’s why priority number one for self care for young professionals is taking frequent mental breaks. Sometimes even a few minutes of closed eyes, deep breathing, letting the thoughts roll away time is enough to completely turn your day around.
It’s why I love the Headspace app, my first foray into meditation and the one I’m still obsessing over even though I’ve already told you about using it for writing and in your everyday routine. I meditate in the mornings, before I begin a writing session, and whenever my emotions are feeling a little frazzled.
I’m also diving back into daily yoga this month by following along on Yoga with Adriene‘s journey! If you’ve never done yoga before and want to ease into it with a supportive, fun, accessible instrutor, Adriene is your girl.
Sweat it out
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is carve out 30 minutes in your day for a little physical activity. As Elle Woods taught us, exercise releases endorphins and happy people don’t just kill their husbands! So go get your endorphin rush on, be happy, and don’t kill your coworkers.
Spencer and I have renewed our subscriptions to Planet Fitness, and that monthly fee (plus the cruise we’re taking in July) is going to keep me motivated to get some me time in the gym on a regular basis.
TREAT YO SELF. Sorry, I just hopped on the Parks & Rec bandwagon, and I couldn’t help myself.
Perhaps my favorite in the list of self care for young professionals is doing nice things for yourself. Maybe this means saving up for a massage or spa treatment, but it could also be as simple as a biweekly mask and bubble bath. (I’m currently obsessing over this [amazon_textlink asin=’B079H467X5′ text=’Yes to Carrots & Kale mud mask’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’aspiringheroi-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’00fddf7c-6cb8-11e8-8953-5131c45d1b44′].) Whatever your preferred method of pampering, make time for it regularly. 21 days makes a habit, after all!
Eat good food that’s good for you
That’s right, self care isn’t just about what goes on around us. What you choose to nourish your body also makes a big difference. Our biology is an incredible thing, and diet can affect your digestive health, sleep quality, and even your mood. And this fact makes what you decide to put into your body a major self care decision.
Whatever it means to you—removing added sugar completely, skipping sodas or alcoholic drinks except during weekends, or simply getting an extra serving of greens each day—make a concerted effort, and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. Oh, and drink more water! Dehydration is such a serious thing and can cause so many of those little pains we deal with regularly.
Unplug on a regular basis
Technology is a beautiful thing. It brings us closer to cultures worlds away and enables us to be more informed and efficient in our everyday lives. However, it also means that you likely walk around with your work inbox in your pocket not to mention a hoard of social networks that demand regular checking and updating.
I didn’t truly realize how much time I spent subconsciously scrolling until I made an effort to recognize when I did it. And it was horrifying to see that 1. it had become an instinctive reaction to having more than 3 seconds of downtime, and 2. I wasn’t even taking in anything that I scrolled past! From now on, I’m setting strict “no phone” times in the mornings and evenings. I’m starting with 2 hours each day, and I’ll see how it goes. You can start by leaving your phone across the room during mealtimes, family activities, or sitting down to read a good book.
Set aside time for “your thing”
I don’t know what this is for you. You might not know yet either. But you need to find it, and you need to make time for it. Maybe that means blocking off an hour of writing time on your calendar every day. Perhaps it’s joining a dance group or choir in your local area. It might be as simple as taking a painting class every other week or getting out in nature more often. Think back to the things you loved as a teenager or college student. You might just discover how much you miss being involved in something that you once saw as “your thing.”
Self care for young professionals doesn’t end with getting a facial and setting no scroll time; it’s about recognizing you deserve your best life and working toward reaching it mentally, physically, and emotionally.
What are your favorite ways to fit a little self care into your busy schedule? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Have a big trip coming up? I’ve also put together a young professional’s guide to business travel.