Rachel Letham is a success coach who works primarily with business owners who want to ‘level up’ their business while maintaining a work/life balance. She also focusses on self-care and positive mindset activation.
She writes regularly on the role of self-care in supporting day-to-day life and has launched the Self Care Survival Kit Deck of Cards to help bring self-care to the masses.
I’m often asked how I find time to look after myself and what practices are most effective. For me, it’s all about bringing more self-care into your life – putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others and topping up your own energy reserves. I’m sure you know exactly how much battery your phone has left but how many of us take the time to think about our own battery packs?
In a world where we are so ‘connected’, we often need to have a reminder to disconnect our minds so we can reboot our body and soul.
With that in mind, here are four ways to help find the magical balance between working life and keeping a healthy body, mind and soul:
Dedicate time to you
Make an appointment with yourself.
That sounds easy but it’s actually one of the hardest habits to maintain. Dedicating some time to YOU at some point in the week is key. Book in a day or a set time each week for self-care – even if it’s just half an hour. Put the appointment in your diary like any other meeting. If it’s in the diary, you’re more likely to commit to it.
Make sure you tell other people that this is your time and explain what you intend to do with it – whether that’s heading out for a walk, doing an online yoga class or simply watching Netflix…solo!
Find a balance buddy
Accountability goes a long way; by telling someone else how you intend to give yourself more balance, time or self-care, you’re more likely to stick to it. But you could go a step further and find yourself a ‘balance buddy’. That could be someone who lives nearby and who’d be up for a lunchtime walk or it might be a mate you can call on.
Having someone who you know has a similar mindset to you, who has similar interests (they might want to join you in training for a 10K, for example) will help you stick to building healthier habits. Choose someone you know will support you on those days when you’re finding it hard to stick to a healthier routine.
You don’t have to see them physically for this to work, either. Chat on the phone, on Zoom, on social media and hold each other accountable. Meet up from a safe distance but if the best person is someone from work who you can’t see for the time being, you can still remain in contact.
Work out your non-negotiables
You’re probably already doing some acts of self-care in your day-to-day life. Now it’s time to really respect those habits.
Try to be more mindful when you’re performing your acts of self-care, whether it’s having a bath, taking a shower, making your favourite hot drink or simply having some time to look out of the window to enjoy the view. These small acts aren’t simply habits or luxuries – they are essential to building a path towards increased happiness.
To be more mindful of these activities, take some deep breaths and focus on what thoughts come up. Notice what you notice. Give yourself some time to reflect on what’s happening and how that makes you feel.
What elements of self-care can you bring into your working week to give yourself some balance and some focus? Spend some time thinking about what’s important to you. What are the ‘non-negotiables’, the things that you need to make sure happen to make life work?
I recommend drawing up a checklist and then each day making sure you are ticking these things off. This can help you see if you are in a good state of balance or not.
Are you getting good nutrition, drinking enough water and enough sleep? Do you need to have a green smoothie every day to feel good, or do you need one once a week? Is it about making sure that you do stretching or a yoga class? Find out what makes you feel great and make those things a solid feature of your life.
End the day strong
A good way to find more balance is to have a way to switch off from the day. One way is by writing out what went well and what didn’t go so well that day. This is a great way to clear it out of your mind.
Write it down on a piece of paper, then you can either keep that piece of paper for the next day or screw it up and chuck it in the bin. By doing this, you can go to sleep without having the day running through your mind.
Ending the day strong means you can also start the next day afresh. Before you log off at the end of your shift, write your to-do list for the next day so that you know where you’re starting and so you can be clear on what you’re doing. Understand what you want to achieve the next day. Set yourself some goals and targets. Then at the end of each day, you can see how did you do on your goals and targets.
Once your working day has finished, allow yourself some time to unwind. If you have a job that involves using technology a lot at work, try and have at least two hours of technology-free relaxation time.
Build your own good nighttime routine. Again, what are your non-negotiables? What do you need? Is it having a bath before bed with some lavender and relaxing music? Is it doing some meditation? It could just be watching TV.