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.