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APRIL 9, 2018 //
By: Erin Cornell
One of my new favorite quotes is “Your worth is not measured by your productivity.”
As busy professionals in the client-service industry, we are often pulled in a hundred different directions, constantly multi-tasking as we strive to get as much done in one day as we possibly can. The idea that we are not defined by how much we accomplish may seem farfetched to the hardest-working overachievers, but this mindset can eventually take its toll. If your mental health is suffering under the weight of your workload, now is the perfect time to transform your perspective in celebration of National Stress Awareness Month.
With the wellness trend picking up speed in every industry from health to finance to travel, self-care is a concept that is likely already practiced or at least familiar to many in our personal lives, but have you ever considered how it can also have lasting benefits when it comes to your career?
Here are a few tips to help implement more self-care into your routine, to ultimately fuel a healthier outlook of your self-worth as a working professional:
- Take back your commute. Whether you’re sitting in traffic or scrolling through social media (or worse, email) while riding on public transportation, you are probably not enjoying your commute the way you could be. Instead, start your day with inspiration by listening to a podcast or an audio book on a topic of interest to you. You’d be surprised by the difference it can make to fill these windows of time with something more meaningful that can have you feeling energized before you sit down at your desk.
- Stand once every hour. A recent study found that professionals who remain sedentary for hours on end are cutting years off their life. More specifically, sitting without movement for periods of more than 30 minutes at a time puts you at risk for an early death. How’s that for an excuse to take a break from your computer? Standing desks are becoming more popular for this very reason, but if you don’t have one, just get up and move around.
- Know your limits. Most of us have heard the saying, “It’s PR, not the ER.” But with all the demands of our jobs, sometimes it can be easy to get swept up into believing that everything is urgent and needed to get done yesterday. Remember to keep it in perspective. Tackle your priorities first and recognize when you need to give yourself a break or push something off.
- Get out of the office. While a traditional lunch break may be more of a luxury during busier periods, take the time to step away from your desk each day for a mental break, even if it’s only for 20 minutes or so. Clearing your head will allow you to tackle your afternoon to-do’s with a fresh mind, and staying connected to the world outside will help you feel less trapped by your workplace responsibilities.
- Meditate. To better manage stress, set aside a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness, in which you learn to hold your attention and awareness on the present moment to achieve an emotionally calm state. Like anything else, our minds need to be exercised in order to perform their best. Headspace and Calm are two popular apps to consider for guided meditation. The great news is you can do it any time – in the morning when you wake up, before bed, or even at work when you’re feeling frazzled.
- Power off. Arianna Huffington learned the hard way that working 24/7 to chase success at the expense of your health can have real consequences. After fainting from exhaustion in 2007 she made a few lifestyle changes, one of which includes leaving all her devices outside her bedroom. Don’t fall into the trap of checking email late at night when you should be preparing your brain to shut down for sleep, for a well-rested day ahead.
Ambition and a hard work ethic are admirable qualities, though pursued without restraint they can quickly lead to burnout. Consider jumping on the wellness bandwagon to strike a healthy work-life balance and find fulfillment in areas beyond productivity.
Erin Cornell is a senior account executive in Allison+Partners’ Boston office.