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.

Earl Grey Latte (London Fog)

A couple weeks ago, I visited Seattle on a school trip and fell completely in love. Everything I knew about Seattle came from my 8th grade obsession with Twilight and my current obsession with Grey’s Anatomy, but I was convinced that I would like Seattle. And it was one of those lovely moments in life where I liked the city just as much as I thought I would. My favorite part of the trip was spending an afternoon hanging out in Local Color cafe in Pike Place Market, chatting with friends and enjoying an Earl Grey Latte.

The entire experience was just so cozy- the chilly day, friendly baristas, and a delicious latte, that I can’t help smiling whenever I think about it. So to allow me to relive a portion of that moment, I have created my own Earl Grey Latte (also known as a London Fog if you want to get fancy, which I often do).

Local Color cafe wasn’t the first place I tried an Earl Grey Latte (it’s been one of my go-to Starbucks orders for years), but this one was by far the best I’ve ever had. It was super simple, sweet, and mild. Unlike most coffee shop beverages that get me a little hyped up on caffeine and/or sugar, this Earl Grey Latte made me feel relaxed and even a little sleepy.

I’ve tried to replicate all of these aspects in my own recipe, and I’d say I’ve succeeded. So settle in with a good book, turn on your favorite TV show, or invite a friend over for tea, and make this Earl Grey Latte for all the relaxed and cozy vibes.

London Fog
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bags Earl Grey tea
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Boil water, then pour into 2 mugs and add a tea bag to each.
  2. While tea brews, add almond milk to saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla to saucepan.
  4. Stir milk mixture, then heat until milk is just barely simmering (about 5 minutes).
  5. Whisk milk until frothy, then divide between mugs.

 

Irish Breakfast Banana Bread Oatmeal

First day of spring break!! I got back from Seattle last night and it feels so good to be home. I had a great time on the trip, but there’s really nothing better than sleeping in my own bed. And enjoying Irish Breakfast Banana Bread Oatmeal for breakfast.

Irish Breakfast Banana Bread Oatmeal

This oatmeal was inspired by my spring break last year, when I traveled to New York with my dad for a couple days. He was there on business, and one of my best friends happened to be in NYC at the same time so she and I explored the city together.

We visited the theater where Hamilton was playing (right by my hotel!), walked through Central Park, and stopped for a snack at Bibble and Sip cafe.

The cafe was adorable and the menu was SO creative. I ordered the lavender latte and the Earl Grey banana bread. Both were delicious, and I wish I could go back this year.

But since I can’t get to New York, I’m bringing Bibble and Sip to me (and you) with this Irish Breakfast Banana Bread Oatmeal. I’m sure it would be delicious with Earl Grey too, but I just happened to have Irish Breakfast on hand.

This oatmeal is the perfect way to add tons of flavor and fun to your morning routine in under five minutes and using only four ingredients.

So what are you waiting for? Get to the kitchen! And if you make this oatmeal, be sure to comment and/or share with me on Instagram.

Irish Breakfast Banana Bread Oatmeal
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag Irish Breakfast tea
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ banana
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot
  2. Remove from heat and add teabag
  3. Allow to steep for 5 minutes
  4. Bring water back to boil, add oats, and lower heat to medium.
  5. Mash banana and stir into oatmeal.
  6. Once oatmeal reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and serve.