How to Combine Work with Self Care

Like many people, I am a master procrastinator. Overtime, I’ve become much better at checking off the little things- answering emails, doing laundry, etc.- but when I’m faced with a big, stressful project, I often put it off because I’m not ready to deal with the anxiety it causes. Unfortunately, I’ve found that this just creates a snowball effect- as time goes by my nervousness only builds, so when it finally comes time to get to work, I have more anxiety to overcome than I did in the first place. Breaking this habit is definitely a work in progress for me, but I have found many valuable tools that help me combine work with self care.

Combining a stressful project with something that makes me happy mitigates my anxiety and gets me excited to start working. In this post, I share the strategies that I’ve find helpful, but I also encourage you to take this idea and make it your own- find what works best for you!

How to Combine Work with Self Care:

  • Put on a face mask
    • I find that taking 5 minutes to put on a face mask before sitting down to do my math homework brings a sense of peace and mindfulness to the experience. Plus, it’s nice to feel like I’m multitasking and clean out my pores while I clear up my to-do list.
    • This is the face mask I’ve been using recently!

  • Take a bath
    • I’ve found that it’s impossible for me to be stressed while taking a bath. So when I have a project that I get stressed even thinking about, I’ll take a bath and plan out how to tackle it. Once I’m in a more relaxed, creative mindset, it’s easier to plan out a big project. And if you have one on hand, adding in a fun bath bomb can also help get the creativity flowing.
  • Work from a coffee shop
    • This might be a little more self-bribery than self care, but it works well for me. In fact, it’s probably my very favorite tip on this list. Taking myself on coffee dates when I need to work on a challenging project helps me look forwards to hard work instead of dreading it. I find that working in coffee shops is especially effective when I need to really focus on a creative project. And the caffeine from my latte doesn’t hurt either.
    • You can find some of my favorite spots in SF on this list.

  • Brew some tea
    • I love having a variety of teas on hand so I can have one to match every mood. Right now I’m really enjoying lemon ginger tea, but I’d love to hear your recommendations too! Taking a moment to close my eyes and slowly sip my tea in the middle of a work session is so cozy and revitalizing.

  • Light a candle
    • For me, the main benefit of lighting a candle is the intention behind it. While the candle itself certainly makes my workspace cozier, just taking a moment to light a candle puts me in a more positive mindset.
  • Incorporate creativity
    • Often this is as simple as writing with colorful pens or organizing my notes in an artistic way.
    • I’m also a big fan of drawing my ideas instead of writing them when I’m feeling stuck. Putting pen to paper and creating concept maps or illustrations helps process my ideas without worrying about making anything perfect.
  • Listen to a podcast
    • When I’m doing any sort of boring, automatic work (such as organizing a spreadsheet), I make the task much more enjoyable by listening to my favorite podcasts. Sometimes I even look forwards to tedious work because I know I’ll get to listen to a fun podcast episode.
    • If you’re looking for new podcasts, here is a list of my favorites!

This is how I combine work with self care, and I hope you find these strategies as helpful as I do! And if you have your own tips for incorporating self care into your school/work life, I would love to hear them either in the comments or on Instagram.

Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

When I was 12, I went to sleep-away camp for a week. I was there with one of my best friends and my little sister, but I was still incredibly homesick. One night, we had tater-tots with dinner and I started crying at the table because my dad loves tater-tots and eating them reminded me of him. Looking back, I find that pretty funny, but at the time it definitely wasn’t. And now I am able to find the humor in the situation because I’ve developed strategies for overcoming loneliness and homesickness that I didn’t have back then.

Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

I still struggle with homesickness, but these strategies have been incredibly helpful to me, and I hope you find them useful too.

  • Strategies for overcoming loneliness:
    • Find “portable homes”
      • In my life, portable homes are resources that I can take out into the world and turn to when I need to feel comforted and understood. These are some of my favorite portable homes:
        • Books. These are mine, but any of your childhood favorites will probably work.
          • Harry Potter
          • Betsy-Tacy Series
          • Little Women
        • Podcasts. I love finding podcasters that are really caring and nurturing people because I can listen to them whenever I’m out in the world and feeling alone.
        • Blogs. In times of stress, it can be hard for me to connect with my body and know what I need. These blogs provide gentle reminders on living intuitively and taking good care of your body and mind. Plus, all three women’s lovely, hilarious personalities come through in their writing.

    • Take time for yourself
      • This seems a little counterintuitive, but I find that being by myself when I’m feeling homesick or lonely is really helpful. For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling lonely even when I’m with a big group of people, so taking a little time for myself can be so important. Being alone allows me to reconnect with myself, fully experience my emotions, and cry it out if I need to. Then, when I do rejoin the group I feel much more present and connected.

  • Figure out the root cause
    • Growing up, I was ashamed that I cried at summer camps and sometimes got homesick on sleepovers. For a long time, I thought that I wasn’t as brave as my friends or that I was just being a “crybaby.” But in recent years, as I’ve learned more about the way my brain works and the ways my anxiety manifests, I’ve found that these feelings were actually the result of separation anxiety.
    • Knowing this has been so helpful in enabling me to respect my feelings and respond with self care instead of judgement. Obviously, everyone is coming from different places, and my reasons are likely different than yours, but having more knowledge about the origins of our feelings can be really helpful.

I hope you’ll find my strategies for overcoming loneliness useful, and if you have strategies of your own, I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment here or connect with me on Instagram, and we can keep the conversation going.

Where are the Body-Positive Workout Videos?

I’m calling for some body-positive workout videos. If I google “body-positive workout videos” the third result is a “fat blasting” workout. And that’s just not cool.

After long days at school or work, when I don’t get home until its already getting dark, I rarely want to go on a run or head to the gym. I’m craving movement, but I want it on my own terms, in the comfort of my own room. So when I discovered the wealth of workout-class style videos available online, I was thrilled.

But I’ve been noticing a big problem with many of the workout videos I come across: the emphasis on weight loss. I don’t want a workout that “torches calories” or “sizzles fat.” I am so appreciative of the fat that graces my body. It helps keep me warm, produces estrogen, and serves countless other necessary functions. I am in no way a nutrition/exercise expert, but even I know that no part of my body needs to be torched or sizzled. In fact, that sounds downright painful.

I think workout videos are a great way to make boutique-style workout classes accessible to a broader audience, but I’m calling for a change in the language used to promote these videos. Anyone who creates or publishes material that teaches anyone how to do anything- whether its knitting, cooking, or pilates- takes a role as an authority figure. And as such, these fitness instructors have the responsibility to present movement and fitness in a positive, healthy, nurturing manner.

body-positive workout videos

Instead of promoting workouts by talking about how many calories they burn (which is ridiculous because it varies so much by person) I want these instructors/bloggers/businesses to tell me how their workout will make me FEEL. Is it an energizing pilates class? A relaxing yoga flow? A powerful cross-fit routine? Because that’s whats really important.

I see the wellness world moving towards emphasizing true health- mental health, feeling good, etc.- over how our bodies look, and that makes me incredibly happy. But workout videos are one area that I see room for improvement. So I’m asking everyone who creates and shares this type of content to re-evaluate the language you use.

Playing into a person’s fears and ingrained beliefs about weight-loss, tummy-flattening, or blasting their “problem areas” isn’t good marketing. It’s lazy and cowardly. We, the consumers, as people trying to take care of our bodies and minds, deserve better than that. We deserve to be reminded how beautiful we are, how worthy we are whether we exercise or not, and what a blessing it is to be in the unique, wonderful bodies that we have.

Right now, my go-to body-positive workout videos are those by Yoga with Adriene. Her entire approach to yoga and movement is just so gentle and positive, my body and soul feel amazing every time I use one of her videos to guide my practice.

Do you ever struggle with the lack of body- positivity in some parts of the fitness world? Do you have a favorite body-positive workout video or class? I’d love to get the conversation going, so let me know what you think in the comments here or on Instagram.