When you’re burning the candle at both ends, the idea of self-care seems laughable. Here’s why caring for yourself as a busy professional is what you need in your life.
In our world of go-go-go, stopping for a moment to care for your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs feels next to impossible. It feels hard enough to get everything crossed off of your to-do list, let alone schedule in time for yourself.
I get it.
Here’s the thing: I’m going to challenge this belief and tell you that self-care holds the secrets to becoming more impactful and productive, and ultimately, happier.
You’re not too busy for self-care
Sounds a bit harsh, I know. Chances are you’re even shaking your head and silently cursing my name, but I’m okay with that.
Here’s the thing, telling others or believing that I’m too busy for XYZ translates to XYZ is not a priority to me right now.
We live in a society that’s plagued by the busy-bug, and we feel like to be “successful” or have an “accomplished day” we have to collapse on our couch at the end of the day, unable to think or form thoughts.
When you shift your thinking from not caring for yourself because you believe you’re too busy to a mindset of reassessing your priorities, it’s incredible what can positively change in your life.
Here’s the honest truth: when you don’t have an active self-care practice, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
A lack of self-care can lead to burnout and mental exhaustion which can lead to a host of physical and mental issues. Additionally, when we are not caring for ourselves properly, we are more prone to make mistakes.
Read next: The Signs of Burnout and Mental Exhaustion
The discrete challenges of self-care as a busy professional
Caring for your needs as a busy professional can feel daunting and next to impossible. Aside from the major challenges of feeling like you don’t have enough time or believing that self-care is too indulgent, there are some not-so-obvious challenges as well.
1. You’re not sure where to begin
Starting on a self-care journey can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Learning to set boundaries within your professional life is an essential first step in figuring out where to begin when it comes to self-care.
Additionally, creating boundaries in your professional life will allow you to create the space and time needed to care for yourself. Your boss will know not to expect you to respond after-hours (for non-emergencies) and your co-workers will know what work is clearly defined as your responsibility.
2. You’re worried about what others might think
Does the thought of working from home or taking lunch away from your desk make your skin crawl? Or what about disconnecting from your email while on vacation?
Being worried about what others might think about your newfound self-care habits (and boundaries) is usually a big enough block to not begin caring for yourself in the first place.
Here’s the thing: you have a chance to step into a leadership role and inspire others to change the way they care for themselves.
3. Work feels too intertwined with who you are
In our over-connected world, it’s so hard to put down the phone and separate work from life.
Not to mention, all too often our self-worth is tightly wrapped up with our professional success. Learning to separate our professional lives from our personal lives (hello, boundaries) is a crucial step in learning to create self-care and realize that we are worthy of caring for ourselves, no matter how counterintuitive it feels.
To help you with this process, I invite you to examine other areas of your life that bring you a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it’s completing a workout or cooking a meal from scratch? Deriving joy from other sources other than work can help to shift your priorities into focus.
Self-care ideas when you feel overwhelmed
Below is a list of simple self-care ideas that you can implement when you feel like there’s too much on your plate.
- Take a few deep breaths. I always joke, even if the only moment you have to breathe deeply is while sitting on the toilet, do it.
- Put your phone down for ten minutes. It will feel difficult at first, but that’s normal.
- Read a book instead of scrolling through social media. Give your brain a break from the digital world!
- Do some simple stretches while at your desk. Even the smallest movements can make a significant impact on your day.
Othe self-care strategies for working professionals
In addition to the concerns and suggestions I listed above, there are some helpful support tools that I highly recommend checking out.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai
The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai
Recognizing and Releasing Fear on You Time™
An Honest Look at Burnout and Mental Health on You Time™
Need some custom support ?
I get it. Starting on a new self-care routine as a busy professional can feel next to impossible. For this reason, I offer a variety of coaching packages and programs to fit your unique needs.