The end of the year is fast approaching. The holiday season can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed as you struggle to also manage year-end work deadlines. It is during this time that it is most important to make self-care your priority.
Think about what not taking care of yourself is costing you. What does the quality of your work look like when you are overly stressed? What do the relationships at work and home look like? Likely all of these areas and more suffer, all because we try to do too much without focusing on self-care. As the flight attendants say, “in case of an emergency, be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” It’s time to make your self-care a priority. Here are some tips to improve self-care.
- Practice gratitude. Focusing on the positive generates a positive attitude. When you have a positive attitude you are able to look at situations and tasks more clearly. If a gratitude practice is new for you, start small. Start each day writing down one thing that you are grateful for. Gratitude improves mental strength, sleep, and increases empathy, which will improve communication and relationships which are essential during these busy times.
- Set positive intentions. Whether daily, weekly, or monthly, intentions matter. Setting an intention is similar to setting a goal. We are communicating to our mind the direct thought we want to have. During times of stress, it is easy to think “I cannot get everything done,” or “I will fail.” However, when you are guided by these thought patterns it will only leave you feeling more stressed. When you set intentions you are creating an opportunity for your mind to look at the situation in a new way. Try an intention like “I will get everything done.” It will shift your mindset to one of responding versus reacting, which allows you to have more control during these periods where you may feel you have none.
- Visualize success. Envision what you will feel like when you have completed everything you were tasked with. Describe what success looks like. Are you calm and controlled? Are you happy to be at work? Visualization can reduce stress, improve creativity, and boost confidence. Practice visualization mentally or through journaling. Take time each day to visualize, it will help you to stay focused and productive when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice deep breathing. Inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of four. Repeat this breathing three times. Do this when you are in situations that you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Deep breathing gives your mind an opportunity to reset which allows you to respond in a more calm and focused way. Without the mental and physical reset that breathing provides, overwhelm and stress will continue to grow.
- Meditate. Meditation is a great way to increase stress resilience and see things from a new perspective. Meditation helps to improve memory, attention, and emotional intelligence. Take five minutes twice a week and turn off your thoughts. It may be difficult at first, but the benefits will outweigh the short-term discomfort.