Self-care. You’ve probably heard of it, but are you actually practicing it?
If you’re skeptical, I get it. In a world of non-stop emails, endless opportunity, and other people’s “hustle” all over the internet, it’s easier said than done.
And let’s face it: Many of the people who preach about self-care seem to be yoga bunnies without bills to pay.
But self-care isn’t just another social media trend—it’s a mindset. And trust me when I say it’s key to building a successful career you love, no matter your situation.
And, you don’t have to quit your job or completely shift your routine to get started today.
1. Set an Email Curfew (and Stick to It)
My boyfriend and I recently instated a rule that I love: From 8 PM onwards, we don’t check or reply to any work emails. No excuses. No exceptions.
Instead, we talk to each other (crazy, I know). At first, it wasn’t easy, and the struggle to not get back to people right away and be productive at all hours is real. But, having this curfew has helped me sleep better and given me a point of distinction between my working day, my commute, and my personal time. At 8 PM, my working life ends, and my personal time commences.
Try it. And if you want to take it to a whole new level? Try a nightly technology curfew, too.
2. Limit Work Talk to Weekdays
How much unpaid overtime are you doing? And I don’t just mean getting to work early and leaving late, but mental overtime?
How much time do you spend thinking and talking and worrying about your day job? Because—real talk—you’re not being paid a cent for that time. Not a single cent.
My rule is simple: I don’t talk about my day job on the weekends. If my mind goes there, fine, but I don’t bring it up in conversations. Instead, I talk about ideas, articles I’ve read, things that’re inspiring me, things I’m excited about.
Not only does banning work talk allow you to take back some control from your work life, but it leaves you motivated and refreshed come Monday morning.
3. Work on Your Identity Outside of Work
This is a lesson I recently learned and can’t preach enough: To have a healthy approach to your work, you need to work on your identity outside of work. (FYI, the same rules apply to romantic relationships, and your career is no different.)
But how, I hear you ask?
Start by paying attention to what you pay attention to—you know, outside of work. Think about what you loved doing when you were a kid, and work back from there.
For example, being Brazilian, I’m a huge samba lover—and I love singing and dancing (badly) to it. It may sound simple, but my time spent enjoying samba is mine and mine alone. It’s so far removed from my work, and it reminds me that there’s a whole world out there—a world away from the constraints of my desk.
4. Be Less Harsh on Yourself
I know you’re probably freaking out about that comment you said to your co-worker, or that slipup you made in your presentation at the last company meeting, or that deadline you missed.
But if you want to make it in your career (without burning out), you need to let it go.
Why? Because nobody (and I mean nobody) is watching anywhere near as closely as you think. They’re just not. They’re way too busy worrying about themselves.
Here’s a pep talk: Be less harsh on yourself. Start talking to yourself as a coach, not a commentator. Replace thoughts like, “Wait, is that comment I just made really stupid?” with confidence-boosting thoughts like, “Great job speaking up in that meeting!”
A healthy career requires self-kindness—lots of it. And if you want to reach success in the future, these habits will get you there the right way.