To say 2020 has been a stressful year for business owners would be an understatement, which is why finding little moments to practice self care is so important right now. Whether you are working from home, transitioning back to the office, or have been working on the frontline since March, we could all use a reminder to schedule some dedicated time to focus on our mental health.
Unfortunately, so many leaders are falling into the trap of grinding as hard as they can during business hours and reserving personal time for any self-care practices (that is, if personal time still exists in their universe). While I am certainly guilty of this myself, the truth is we should all be doing more to check in on our mental health during the stresses of our 9-to-5 gig -- especially in the throws of a recovering economy and mass business uncertainty.
Of course, this doesn't mean you have to carve out 30 minutes every day to do livestream yoga in the middle of your workday. In fact, you don't even have to get up from your desk. Here are four short self-care practices you can do right from your workstation starting today.
1. Wind down with a five-minute meditation.
I probably don't have to remind you of all the studies that have been done that link daily meditation to improved mental and physical health. We all know meditation is good for us. However, finding the ability to pull away from your pressing tasks and give into a quick mindfulness session can seem downright selfish when dealing with all the urgent matters stacking up on your plate.
It's imperative to remember that as a business leader or owner, having a good mindset during the workday will cause a positive ripple effect through your team. If you are finding yourself stuck in a funk, even a quick five-minute meditation with apps like Calm or Simple Habit is a great way to shake up any negative thoughts you may be wrestling with, and may be even unconsciously transferring onto your employees.
2. Turn off your digital devices and focus on the tangible.
Screen fatigue is a huge problem and can become a very real hindrance on your mental health. As many of us transition to working from home, the problem is only becoming amplified. I know, personally, I cringe a little every time I hear the ping of my weekly screen report.
To combat this, I suggest setting up a recurring reminder to turn off your digital devices for 15 minutes at the same time every day. Use this time to focus on analog tasks -- writing out to-dos, brainstorming on a new project -- while making a conscious effort to relax the tension in your temples and shoulders.
3. Practice workplace gratitude and celebrate your accomplishments.
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you. You're working away on a big project, caught up in the day-to-day hustle, when a colleague congratulates you on a recent achievement that you almost entirely forgot about.
As leaders, it is important to continue barreling ahead for our businesses, but it is also important to give ourselves the time to celebrate our accomplishments and milestones. Even if you don't keep a dedicated wellness journal, take a second to look up from your laptop and think about your recent accomplishments at the end of every week. Make it a priority to practice daily gratitude for the people, systems, and circumstances that make your business run.
4. Throw out the rules and text your family and friends.
Our family and friends are our greatest support systems, so it can be hard keeping them at arm's length throughout the day when you are going through a particularly difficult time.
That's why it's time to throw away the rule made up in the boardrooms of yesteryear that you shouldn't be on your personal phone during work hours. Speaking from firsthand experience, it can be so rejuvenating to take a moment and check in with your loved ones once or twice a day. It lifts your spirits, satisfies your need for socialization, and can even make you more productive.