An athlete ends a workout with a cool-down stretch. A CEO takes time to read a fiction book. A busy working mom spends a few minutes in the morning writing down what she’s grateful for.
Self-care is vital, no matter the context.
Staying healthy in both mind and body is a foundational principle that you may have heard before. Your physical well-being has a direct relationship with your mental health. When both are in sync and on track, there’s no stopping what you can accomplish.
Especially in a season of transitions, uncertainty and living one day at a time, engaging in self-care is essential in staying on track to fulfilling your goals. Here, we share the importance of self-care and the ways you can practice it today.
What comes to mind when you think of “self-care”? The practice looks different for everyone. Some may brainstorm ways to relax like taking a bubble bath or taking a Sunday afternoon nap. For others, it means doing something active like hiking or enjoying an outdoor sport.
Unfortunately, self-care has sometimes been seen as only for those who have the time to focus on themselves. Some may even see it as selfish when they’re responsible for caring for others much of the time.
But practicing self-care can help you become a better parent, student, employee and influencer in your community. Investing in yourself reaps rewards for those around you. Taking care of yourself helps to take care of others.
Successful leaders and entrepreneurs often incorporate self-care into their routines. Mark Cuban exercises daily. Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer bakes cupcakes. Warren Buffet plays the ukelele. Taking time for themselves has helped them work harder and better to accomplish what they set out to do.
When advancing your goals through an online classroom or through virtual meetings as you work from home, self-care remains essential. You may be balancing answering work emails with teaching your elementary student the next row in a multiplication table. You may be stressed about maintaining social distance at work. You may be on the lookout for a new position to keep your income flowing. In whatever space you’re in, practicing self-care can help you be at your best.
How to Practice Self-Care While Working Online
Whether a new hire or CEO, a first-week associate student or a graduating doctoral student, self-care is vital to living your best life in whatever circumstances you may be facing.
As you chart your own approach to self-care, here we share eight key ways to help you stay well and balanced as you care for others by caring for yourself.
One of the easiest and most effective practices of self-care is to sleep. While this may sound too simple to be effective, sleep has a profound influence on how well we study and work. A lack of sleep is not a badge of honor.
Research has shown that sleep is essential for memory and retaining what you’ve learned. It’s helpful as you both enter your work or online classroom and retain the information and experiences you’ve encountered afterward. Sleep can also dramatically influence your mood and motivation for wanting to get up and go to work, read your textbook or write that paper. Without adequate sleep, watching a movie on the couch sounds even more desirable than getting to work on that group project.
Even in the busyness and stress of life, being intentional about setting your sleep schedule can bring transformative rewards not only in your schoolwork but also how you perform at work and how you interact with others.
2. Eat Well
There’s a reason your parent or teacher told you to eat your vegetables. Eating well can fuel your brain for success.
When learning online, it can be tempting to power through your next assignment with the help of an energy drink or a bag of potato chips.
But remember to take a break.
Ensuring you get the essential vitamins and nutrients from the food you eat can help you feel and stay well. Stay focused and energized by reaching for those snacks that fill you up and limit the ones that slow you down.
3. Make a Physical To-Do List and Cross Things Off
With so many things out of normal routines, it can be easy to feel out of your element. Stay on track of what you need to accomplish by when with a to-do list or task planner. While there are numerous resources for tracking task lists online, sometimes a notepad and a colorful pen can bring even more satisfaction as you physically cross off your accomplishments and move on to the next.
Write out tasks you know you’ll forget and big projects you’re working toward. Being reminded of what you have going on can help you stay on track and turn your assignments in online, on time.
4. Set a Schedule
When spending so much time at home, it can be easy to blur the lines between home, school and work. The need to multitask seems to be amplified. With various areas of our lives overlapping, it’s a great time to set and stick to a schedule.
Whether through an online tool like Google Calendar or a trusty paper-and-pen desk calendar, block off sections of your day that you’ll dedicate to your various responsibilities. Mark the hours you’ll be “at work.” Set aside a few hours for finishing up your week’s assignment and catching up on textbook reading. If it helps, you can also ensure you put in the time to reconnect with friends over a video call or helping your child with his homework.
Also, be sure to schedule in breaks as you plow through work for your job or program and set a specific end time you can work toward. Remembering your boundaries can help you keep moving forward with energy and wisdom.
No matter how detailed you make your schedule, mapping out your game plan for tackling your tasks can help you stay on track as you learn online.
5. Take Your Eyes Off the Screen
Limiting screen time is no longer just for the kids. With increased use of laptops and mobile devices, practicing self-care may involve taking a break from your screens of various sizes.
Get outside. Read a book. Play a game with your kids. Pet your cat. Get a change of scenery. Move around.
Taking a break from your work allows you to reset your mind and body so you’re ready to get back to your tasks with fresh eyes or a renewed perspective.
6. Ask for Help
For many students, of all ages, engaging in an online learning environment has been a transition. But as you navigate your next steps, know that you’re not alone.
There’s support available while you’re learning online.
At PGS, students have a team of peers, faculty and staff to help encourage you in your educational journey. If you’re stuck on a direction for an assignment, reach out to your instructor for clarification and assistance. Move forward with confidence in receiving feedback and opportunities to grow in learning. Connect with helpful staff through appointments or one-on-one meetings through the Center for Student Success as you get your questions answered and find success as an online student.
Having a learning attitude and being willing to ask for help is a vital practice in self-care. Through such vulnerability, you’ll become more equipped to achieve what you’ve set out to do.
7. Write Out What You’re Thankful For
When there’s a lot going on and daily disappointments, it can be easy to focus on the negative.
Yet another transformative practice in self-care while learning online is the habit of writing out things you’re thankful for. Scribbling down your ideas daily or summarizing your blessings over the course of a week can turn your attention away from what’s going wrong to all the things going right.
Recording gratitude may just transform your attitude during difficult seasons. With this shift, you can use seasons of uncertainty to refocus your mind on what matters. But writing down what you’re grateful can be beneficial in any season. Whether navigating your work/life/school balance comes easily or takes a little more intentionality, reading through all the blessings you’ve seen in your life can help you stay focused on your goals and recommit to achieving what God has called you to accomplish.
8. Stay Connected
Online learning isn’t meant to be experienced alone. While you log into discussion posts and assignments individually, you’re part of an intentional learning community that invites you to share your insight and grow together toward your shared goals.
Stay engaged in online discussion posts, asking meaningful questions and putting in the effort to extend your learning. Text a classmate who might be having a difficult time. Respond to your instructor’s offer for a quick check-in conversation.
Beyond your online classroom, your community needs you to stay connected. Whether that’s calling up a friend living alone, posting an encouraging photo on social media or supporting local restaurants, you can stay connected to relationships that matter as you learn and work online.
Thrive in Online Learning With Self-Care
In the midst of a crazy season, self-care often doesn’t just happen. It’s something to be intentionally incorporated into our daily routines. Focusing on yourself through self-care can help you to be at your best as you care and support those around you.
With these helpful and practical ways to engage in self-care, you can get on your way to accomplishing what you’ve set out to do.
At PGS, you can engage in a flexible format 100% online that meets your learning needs and schedule. Learn more about how PGS can empower you to move forward while remote by requesting information below.