Three-Steps to Better Self-Care During Covid-19

I’m a big believer in the power of self-care.  I think it’s one of the most important tools that we have in our toolbox to be our best version of ourselves at work and at home.  In a time where we feel rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic on so many levels, we need self-care more than ever to stay resilient and power through.

The challenge to figure out how to manage work, family life, online learning, finances and keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy is not an easy one.  It’s stressful and worrisome.  It’s complicated. It requires a plan to navigate and adjust constantly in this changing environment.  As an HR consultant, I’ve talked to company after company about how they are responding to keep their employees safe with Covid and they have shared their step-by-step plans, all backed by actions and well thought out processes to respond to every situation.  As a work life balance blogger for years, I have written articles and coached women on steps they can take with self-care to thrive.  The combination of self-care with a structured plan is powerful, especially in a time where we feel overwhelmed without a playbook to follow.

The truth of it is, we have it in us to figure this out.  We are smart, we are resourceful and we are problem solvers.  However, we can’t tap into our true capabilities if we are overwhelmed and stressed out.  That’s where self-care comes in.  Just like we are pivoting to quickly develop a plan to adjust at work, we need to adjust our self-care plan at home to help us get through this time in a healthy way. 

Committing to a self-care plan that addresses your current needs will help you to be your best for yourself and others. Putting your plan in writing helps to ensure that you think through and commit to the actions that will make a difference.  The added step of acknowledging your worries and recognizing what you actually have control over can help to focus on what you can do something about, not what you can’t.  Here are three simple and quick tools to rock your self-care plan and get through this challenging time:

1. Develop a Self-Care Plan. Use the below chart to define your needs and actions you will take to care for yourself physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and professionally.  Each of these 5 areas are important to consider to develop a well- rounded plan to care for you.  Keep it simple with no more than 3 actions you can take in each area. Print it out and put it in a noticeable place like your bathroom mirror so you can keep it top of mind.

2. Do a Pandemic Brain Dump – A brain dump is a tool that psychologists have used for years to help people get worries out of your head and in writing so that they can be acknowledged and addressed.  Check out the blog https://www.morningcoffeewithdee.com/brain-dump-exercise/ for a great overview of brain dumps and how they can plan an important part of self-care.   Attached is a pandemic brain dump that I created to define and address your worries that you actually have control over.

3. Check in on your progress and adjust your plan. Check in on yourself every week, like you would with a best friend or family member.  Ask “How’s it going? How are you feeling? How can I reset the plan and get back on track?”  Update your Pandemic Brain Dump to get it cleared out of your head so you can focus.  Publish your revised self-care plan and give yourself a positive affirmation that you are doing the best you can and are committed to managing through this.

Someday, we will look back on this time and see how much stronger we became in 2020.  Until then, stay healthy and reach out to me at amy@shesoneofus.com  if you have any questions that I can help with in using these tools!

The Power of Sleep

sleep

I am a huge believer in the power of sleep. As an advocate for work life balance, I talk and write about the importance of getting good sleep as part of my self-care model. In fact, I believe that getting good sleep goes beyond self-care, and is a key part of our success formula in our careers and our businesses.

The facts back this assertion. Study after study shows that good sleep leads to higher productivity, better decision-making and enables us to keep our emotions in control in the workplace. Arianna Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution” puts the sleep crisis on the front burner of businesses today, citing that worker productivity costs us an average of $2,280 annually per employee due to lost productivity from sleep deprivation. Companies are now taking sleep more seriously, educating employees on the importance of sleep and creating more flexible work hours for employees to manage their schedules in a healthier way.

As fate would have it, in 2016, I brought my commitment to sleep to a whole new level. I had the opportunity to take on the role of SVP of Human Resources at Elite Comfort Solutions, an innovative sleep products company that is changing the way we sleep, literally. Our company develops new technology in the design and comfort of mattresses and sleep products. We are growing wildly as a result of our innovative ideas to help make our customers’ beds and pillows feel comfortable and cool.

My role as a leader in our business is to create a culture where both our employees and our business thrive. Success is built on having productive employees who contribute every day and are engaged in growth. To be engaged, they must be well rested. I now create my messaging about sleep as a reminder to them of the importance of sleep, both to be more productive and to support their work life balance.

Here are three things that we can do as leaders to share the message of the power of sleep:

 

  1. Change the conversation about sleep in the work place. Stop talking about fewer hours of sleep as a badge of productivity and dedication to your job. Start bragging about getting a full 7 to 8 hours and how much better you feel as a result. Encourage your traveling coworkers to not take the earliest flight of the day at the expense of less sleep. We need strategic thinking and balanced emotions in every meeting. Getting good sleep helps to achieve this.
  2. Manage your technology to enable good rest. Technology and smart phones allow us to work 24-7 without barriers or work rules to enforce good practices. The blue light emitted from these devices can affect our melatonin levels that enable us to get good rest. Buy yourself an alarm clock to replace your phone on your nightstand. If that’s too radical, at least change your settings on your phone to avoid the phone from emitting blue light. Set technology limits to avoid checking email late at night when you should be focused on unwinding. Encourage coworkers to do the same.
  3. Learn to do a reset on sleep. We’re all human and changing habits is hard. I am challenged as well to practice the work life balance and sleep advice that I preach. Learn to reset when your sleep habits slip. Give yourself permission to take a 30 minute nap to recharge on the weekend. Track your sleep to monitor when you are getting a full night and when you are not. Make it a priority to get back on track when you miss multiple days of a full night sleep.

Join me to help lead the way to make a difference and support good sleep habits in the workplace.  We can make a difference.