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Episode 131: Self-Care Tips For Busy Lawyers
Join me for my top 5 self-care tips for taking impeccable care of yourself at all times. Because I know how hard it is it fit self-care into your busy schedule (it’s one of the biggest complaints I hear from all lawyers of all ages).
And don’t worry because these self-care tips won’t include needing to exercise more, get up earlier or even to meditate (although that last one IS a good way to practice self-care). Instead, we’ll be covering 5 self-care tips that aren’t often discussed yet should be (and you know I don’t use that word lightly).
This episode is designed to give you self-care tips for doing more for yourself than you ever imagined possible.
Links Mentioned In Today’s Episode
Recommended Complementary Episodes
Join The Get Reenergized Self-Care Challenge
Get immediate access to this 7 day (just 15-minute per day) self-care challenge to reframe your approach to self-care and prioritize it, guilt-free. Join here to:
- Get practical tips for how to effortlessly fit self-care into ordinary activities (you’re already doing).
- Discover how to carve out guilt-free bites of time that renew and reenergize you.
- Start a habit of simple self-care (that works) without filling your calendar with yet another thing.
[00:00:48] Well, hello there, everybody. Welcome to the Life & Law podcast. This is your host, Heather Moulder, and as always, I’m really excited that you’re here with me today.
Today we are going to get into my top self-care tips for when you’re busy.
[00:01:05] And it’s coming in here at kind of the holiday time. We’re about to head into the holiday season. I know that the holidays can be extra busy. Year end can be extra busy for us lawyers, really, regardless of where you work. It just seems like things tend to speed up at the end of the year.
And also, for those of you who are in private practice, especially for those of you who are partners and have your own clients, it’s that time of year where collections are supreme, right? Which adds a new groove to the mix.
And I know there’s also a lot going on, not just at work, but at home. For those of you with kids, there’s a lot more holiday parties, there’s gifts, there’s all these things you have to think about, right? And then also family and friends and holiday parties and everything that we think about for the holidays.
I don’t know if you were like me, but growing up, I loved this time from about October 31 to January 2. I thought it was the most magical, best time of the year. Not just because of Christmas. Yes, that was a big part of it. But I loved the change of seasons, I loved the parties, I loved the decorations everywhere, and it seemed kind of magical.
Then you become an adult and you realize how hard your parents and other adults work at that time of year to make everything so magical. This is why we are coming in today around self care during busy times, because it is extra busy.
When To Use These Self-Care Tips
Now, let me be clear. Today’s lessons or tips or whatever you want to call them are not just about during the holidays, right? They are for when you are busy. And you’re probably busy all kinds of times during the year.
In fact, you might feel like you’re busy all of the time. So let me just give you a quick note…
If you’re always busy, there’s something going on that you probably need to deal with. So I want you to kind of step back as you listen to this and think through some of the tips that I’m giving you.
Because some of these self care tips might be a little different.
What Self-Care Tips Are Most Important For Busy Lawyers?
So when preparing for today’s episode, I first asked myself, what are some of my best self-care tips that I can give you today?
[00:03:31] And my mind went where most people’s minds go:
- Go to bed earlier.
- Get up earlier.
- Fit in your workouts at different times.
- And I also started thinking about things that I know work really well, like practicing gratitude, meditation, that kind of thing.
[00:03:49] But as I started listing some of those things, I realized that’s not enough. We need to go deeper. And my best tips really aren’t that type of thing.
Rethinking What Self-Care Is
Now, we will get into some practical things today, but I wanted to go into more foundational things like:
- How to rethink and redefine self-care.
- How to reapproach it in a different way.
And so today’s episode is really about that. Yes, these are self-care tips, but they’re not going to be the standard self-care tips that you typically find if you Google “self care-tips for when busy” or “self care-tips during the holidays”. Okay?
I want you to utilize this to really change your thinking around what self-care is and how you even approach it. Because that is how you’re going to get the biggest wins out of today’s episode. Not just for the rest of the year, but forever.
And something to note that I just want to acknowledge…
Self-care is hard.
[00:04:58] It shouldn’t be, but it is.
Self-care feels hard. It feels almost impossible to put in because you have so many obligations at work, because you have so many personal obligations, and then you add all the end of year stuff to the mix and it gets so crazy.
The first thing to go is always… YOU. Right?
[00:05:21] And so what I’ve learned is that you need to address the foundational things around what self care is. Because it’s already hard to do in regular times. If you don’t do it regularly for yourself, you’re not going to do it for yourself when you’re actually busy.
Why Creating Self-Care Habits Isn’t Enough
And the key there isn’t just to create some habit. Okay?
We often talk about self care habits and getting into routines. And I’m not knocking those things because they are helpful and they can be very valuable. But again, it goes into the foundational issues of what is self care and how do you even think about it and what is your approach to it, because that is what gets you to prioritize it, whether you’re busy or not.
[00:06:21] Now, yes, we’ll get into some practical things, but we’re not going to get into a lot. Because we’re getting into the foundational things.
I have a note down for an episode about specific self care activities that I actually recommend for anyone in the new year. Okay? So just be on the lookout. I will be doing something before this season is over.
[00:06:48] Let’s get into my best self care tips that I think are available to you that hardly anybody ever talks about in the way that I absolutely love to talk, which is not going to surprise you.
We’re getting into:
Mindset, perception, approach and prioritization of self-care.
Self-Care Tip 1: Start with your mind.
[00:07:12] Your mindset matters.
When I say mindset, here is what I’m talking about.
- Do you have a checklist of things that you have to check off as part of your self care?
- Or do you think of self care as the things you have to do to be physically healthy, like exercise, eating healthy meals, and getting a certain amount of sleep?
- [00:07:37] Or do you think of self care as whatever you need in the moment to BE well.
[00:07:45] And when I say well, I mean physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s not going to surprise you that it’s the third option.
Whatever you need in the moment to be physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually well is where I’m leading you because this is about your entire being – your whole wellness. And it’s a self improvement issue, which means it’s never static.
We tend to approach self-care as things we need to do.
And we have a checklist or specific routines of items in that routine (kind of like a checklist, again) that you have to do in order to take care of yourself.
[00:08:32] And yes, those things can be important and helpful. But when we think of it that way, we don’t always think of it as… “Hey, I get to do this. This is awesome for me.” Right? That’s a positive way to think about it.
But how often do you actually think that?
Or do you look at your self care routine that you do every morning – let’s assume you have one – and say “I’ve got to do that”? Do you look at it with dread?
[00:09:05] Do you see self-care as an obligation? Something you just have to push through?
Your approach to self care matters.
Because if you dread these things or you feel like you’re obligated to do them – they’re must-do’s, they’re should’s instead of “I get to do this!” – it’s going to take away from the actual self care aspect.
[00:09:29] Having a negative perception is what often leads to:
- Believing you can’t do anything for yourself, or
- Convincing yourself you aren’t doing anything for yourself, even when you are.
Just because you can’t get in your regular workout, or because you didn’t do your 20 minutes of meditation (because you have so little time), or because you ate a meal you consider “bad”, or you didn’t get good sleep for a day or two because of a crazy work schedule one week.
That negative perception spins you out of control and makes you think “Oh my God, I did so bad. I’m always bad.”
And when this happens, you’re much more likely to go into a negative mind spiral and continue it. It will derail you completely.
[00:10:18] So your mindset is where you want to start… How do you approach self care in the first place?
It’s important to ask yourself some questions.
[00:10:27] It’s important to ask yourself questions to start this shift in changing your mentality around self care. Because what you want is to consider it as “Look, it’s what I need.”
A question to ask yourself in order to help with that shift in approach is: how could I look at this as a privilege? And I mean privilege in the best way. We tend to misuse this word. It’s become very loaded, and it’s used almost as a punishment.
But you GET to do this. You’re giving yourself a gift by doing something for yourself. Look at it in that way and ask yourself: how could I shift my perception in that way? What’s the first step?
I don’t know the exact answer because I’m not there talking to you in this moment. But that’s a question to start answering that will help guide you.
Another thing that I want to offer up to you…I highly recommend that you join my:
Get Reenergized Self Care Challenge.
This is a seven day challenge. You get one email for seven days. Each email takes maybe five to ten minutes tops to read, and then it has an activity that you will do. Some of these activities are a couple of minutes, some might take 10 to 15. But they’re all very, very short. Okay?
[00:12:02] This challenge is actually not just designed to help you find new ways to take care of yourself, but it’s designed to help you develop this mentality I’m talking about so that you can prioritize self care no matter what. No matter what’s going on in your life, no matter what’s going on in the world, no matter how busy you are.
And bonus: it even includes ways to incorporate self care into simple daily activities you’re probably already doing.
[00:12:31] So again, I highly urge you to join this challenge. I will put a link to the Get Reenergized Self Care Challenge into the show notes so that you can go grab it and get started.
I promise it is worth your time.
Self-Care Tip #2 (we’ve started this already but you need to go further): Redefine what self care is.
Now that you’re starting to reapproach it as “I get to do this, this is something that I get to do for myself, and it’s about my own well being,” you want to reconsider what self care is and redefine it for yourself.
[00:13:16] Because self care is not just about doing things or being physically fit. It’s about being your best, showing up as your best, feeling your best in all ways. As I said before, physically, mentally/emotionally and spiritually.
[00:13:31] Which means that self care is really whatever you need. And I said this before, but it bears repeating, whatever you need in the moment to be, feel, and do your best.
And that means it’s about taking care of you at your core.
Again, physically – Yes. also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
And sometimes one of those areas is going to take precedence over others because of where you find yourself because of your current circumstances. Okay?
[00:14:00] So there are going to be times when you feel the need to do more physical activity which will help you to be more mentally and spiritually well. And there will be times when you feel the need to take a break from that because of what’s going on and instead need more spiritual time or more emotional/ mental self care.
[00:14:17] It’s okay, it’s flexible.
Self-Care Isn’t Just About Static Routines
[00:14:21] So again, this is not a static thing.
We tend to think of self care as… “Well, I have this routine for this and a routine for that, and I stick to it. And that’s what it is.”
No! It’s checking in with yourself daily, more than once daily, to ensure that you are as well as you can be and to ensure that you are meeting your needs in that moment.
What Is Spiritual Self-Care?
[00:14:43] And by the way, I’ve mentioned this several times: spiritual self care. You define what that means for you. It’s not going to be the same for everybody.
I’ve mentioned this before: I’m a Christian. My spiritual side includes having a relationship with God, reading scripture, and going to church.
[00:15:02] But what it means to you is going to be different. And you do not have to be a religious person to have a spiritual side.
I personally believe after coaching a lot of different people of different religions and some that don’t have one, and talking to people and really paying attention to this, that we all have a spiritual side. So figure out what that is for you.
What Is Self-Care, Really?
[00:15:24] Okay, so…some things to think about when we’re thinking about what self care is and redefining it. There are a lot of things that constitute and can be self care for you that you may not have thought about.
Hobbies As Self-Care
[00:15:39] Things like hobbies. We all have interests outside of work and the roles that we play in our lives as a spouse, parent, child, whatever, right? And most of those interests lead to hobbies. So time for hobbies is an act of self care.
Connection As Self-Care
[00:15:59] Having deeper relationships with people you care about, connecting within your community, even connecting to others around you – somebody you’re never going to see again. But it’s a moment of connection that is an act of self care.
So when you’re checking out at the grocery store and you spark up a conversation with somebody next to you and it sticks with you, that’s a moment of self care. That’s a connection piece to people outside of your immediate bubble.
Belonging As Self-Care
A feeling of belonging somewhere within your family, within your faith, maybe within your professional world, within an area where you have a hobby. There’s a lot of places to get that. A lot of us tend to get it through church and politics. There’s more to it than that.
[00:16:50] Find more places where you feel like you belong.
Making Daily Activities Self-Care
[00:16:54] A moment to share with your kids about their day, to find out more about their day, to hear about their interests, to tell them about your day as they get older. Kids actually ask about these things, I have learned.
[00:17:06] So one area where a lot of us tend to stress ourselves out – this is for parents out there – we have to drive our kids to and from school. We have to pick up our kids at a certain time. Which breaks up the day, right?
[00:17:19] And then we often have to get them to activities. The older they get, the more activities they’re in. And until they’re driving age, you’ve got to get them there.
But there’s this weird thing that kids do that I’ve noticed – a lot of them talk more freely in the car and if you’re in long enough and you just listen and let them kind of go, you’re going to get a lot of intel and information.
And so as I started to notice that, I realized that this was a moment of self care. This was a moment where I could make a deeper connection with my children and ask them good questions and just listen and let them go on and I would learn more about them. That’s fed me mentally, emotionally, it also fed me spiritually as a parent.
[00:17:56] So there are all kinds of things that are going on in your life that you probably do not think about as self care. I want you to start looking daily – is this actually a self care moment and why could it be?
How Self-Care Tip #2 Helps With Self-Care Tip #1
[00:18:11] This is going to help you redefine self care and it’s also going to help with that first piece, that first tip of changing your entire perception around what self care is.
Because as you start to open up to redefining it a lot more broadly, and you start to open up to seeing all these other little moments that can be self care within your life, it’s going to change your perception. Even about those other things that feel more obligation-oriented, like taking time to make a healthy meal or to go out and buy healthy things or to work out right.
Get Help Through The Self-Care Challenge
[00:18:48] And by the way, this is also something that the self care challenge I mentioned earlier will help you to discover and prioritize.
You are going to learn how to redefine self care and start perceiving it differently. And you’re going to learn ways in which you already are taking care of yourself that you didn’t even know, plus how to do more of that.
Again, I will put a link to the challenge into the show notes. Please join it. It will help.
[00:19:16] All right.
Self-Care Tip #3: Create flexibility into your routines and habits.
We tend to have our own preferred routines that if we can’t do them because we’re too busy, we determine then we can’t do anything. This is not true.
[00:19:33] I want you to consider this. Your needs are going to change based on your circumstances and how you feel and think.
So when you’re shorter on time, I want you to ask yourself “What could I do in the time that I have?” And do not assume you don’t have time, because here’s the deal…
You have time. You can make some time. Even if it’s just 15 or 10 minutes of time.
Something is better than nothing.
[00:20:01] So my recommendation for becoming more flexible is this.
Imagine a good day.
You wake up, you want to do something for yourself. What is your perfect routine to get you going, for feeling energized and ready to go? What would be that perfect routine?
And think about what would you like to do in the morning that gets you physically ready, mentally/emotionally ready, and spiritually ready?
[00:20:29] So, for example, for me, a perfect day where I actually have time would be at least a 30 minute workout that includes some sort of high energy exercise plus weight training.
[00:20:42] It also includes some sort of breath meditation to get me settled afterwards, and at least ten to 15 minutes of scripture reading and prayer. That gets me physically going. It gets me mentally and emotionally prepared and spiritually prepared for the day ahead.
And no, I do not do this daily because I don’t have time for this every day. But that’s my perfect routine that I know, man, if I have the perfect day, this is what I would want to do.
[00:21:16] So figure what that would be. What would get you going physically, what would get you going mentally/emotionally, what would get you going spiritually?
And by the way, they don’t have to be three things.
Sometimes a physical activity can get you going enough mentally/emotionally, right? So you don’t have to have three different things like I do. You could have two things that knock all boxes off. There’s lots of activities out there.
I know somebody who loves to walk every morning, and that:
- Gets them closer to nature, which is a spiritual thing for them, and
- That allows them to breathe through as they’re on their walk and get kind of a meditative effect, and
- they get their movement in.
So that one act is three things in one. So…
Think about what’s YOUR perfect?
[00:22:03] And then ask yourself “What about these activities do I absolutely love and what are they giving me?” What is each one giving you?
[00:22:12] And then figure out, well, what other ways could I meet these needs – to get me the same or at least a similar result? To get me to a similar place that would take up less time?
Now, it might mean doing some of those things, but in less time. It might mean combining them in some way, shape or form. It might mean finding something else that just doesn’t take as much time but that still meets those needs.
Examples of How To Be Flexible With Self-Care Routines
My Personal Example
[00:22:40] So again, for me it’s about my three things that I mentioned earlier is:
- Very physical, that gets me going in the morning energy-wise and also makes me feel good about myself. So it’s partly mental as well.
- [00:22:55] Gets me mentally set for the day through the meditation that I like to do. It’s kind of like clearing the clutter and helping me get off on a good mental note.
- And then third, spiritually, to feel like I’ve related with God and I’m open to him and listening to what I need to hear for that moment and the day ahead.
[00:23:18] So I can do those things in less time, I can even combine things. So I mentioned my client earlier that likes to walk. Well, I love to walk too. And sometimes if I have maybe 20 minutes of time, I’ll go for a 20-minute walk and practice some mindful meditation.
So for me it sometimes is an actual breathing exercise, other times I’m doing more mindful use of the senses where I practice a couple of minutes looking and only noticing what I see, a couple of minutes smelling and only noticing what I smell, a couple of minutes hearing and only noticing what I hear. So that’s a way to do something right for my mind and get me settled again. And then I end the walk the last couple of minutes with some prayer time.
[00:24:04] So that’s if I have maybe 20 minutes, I can do that with 15 minutes, right?
[00:24:09] It’s still getting me what I need, movement through some sort for exercise, a couple of minutes to kind of settle in mentally and that spiritual piece.
A Client Example of Self-Care When Busy
[00:24:21] So another example, this is a client example. One of my clients was going into a big trial and she and her team were going to stay in a hotel across the street from the court for a whole week, like the whole week of trial.
[00:24:33] So her whole system that she would usually do – to get up and go for a big workout – was going to be broken. She was not going to have time for it.
But she realized that she could go for a quick ten to 15 minutes walk every morning before showering and that would be her time to move and get in some mindfulness to start her day off right.
[00:24:51] And then during her lunch break every day, even though she’d be in court, she would have a break for lunch. Instead of just going straight to the room where everybody eating lunch together, she would take her first ten minutes to walk around and kind of check in with herself and take a few moments for herself before going to eat.
[00:25:09] She also came up with a routine for helping her prep at night. I think it involved having a warm bath or shower and listening to her favorite music for at least 15 minutes to stop the spinning mind of thoughts about the day’s stuff and the day ahead.
Think Through Your Perfect Daily Morning & Evening Routines
So I want you to ask yourself, what is the perfect activity or routine for you to get going at the beginning of the day? And then I want you to do it again for what is the perfect routine to wind down and sleep well at the end of the day?
[00:25:39] I gave you my client’s evening routine. For me, it’s usually my routine of taking off makeup and taking care of my skin. That’s part of what calms me. It’s just something that I do that I like to do that makes me feel good physically about what I’m doing for my skin.
[00:26:00] I also make sure I have water, that I drink a lot of water throughout the day, and I have water next to my bed. At night, I take a few minutes for gratitude internally. I do a gratitude practice at night. And then if I am not tired and sleepy and ready to sleep, I will usually read at night.
That’s my wind down routine. Everybody can have a different one, right?
[00:26:23] So what do you need? Not just in the morning, but what do you need in the evening?
[00:26:28] Do it for the evening. Figure out what you need to help you relax and be prepared for optimal sleep. And then ask, well, what does each one of these give me? And how could I pare that down if I don’t have as much time?
[00:26:40] This is your starting point. Okay?
What If You’re Always Busy (How To Do More)?
[00:26:45] Now, you might be thinking, Heather, I’m almost always busy.
[00:26:50] I get that I can shorten things when I’m in trial or I’m closing a deal or it’s during the holidays, but don’t I need to be doing more in general? Don’t I need to have that longer routine, at least sometimes?
[00:27:04] In a word, yes. Hate to say this because you probably don’t want to hear it, but yes. And it’s up to you to ensure you’re doing it. Only you can do that, and that’s where boundaries and standards come into play.
I would say this. I hear this complaint most when it comes to two aspects, sometimes a third.
Things You Think Take A Long Time
Number one, working out.
People feel they need to work out for an inordinate amount of time, like an hour, 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes more, and also eating healthy food.
[00:27:34] So ask, well, what could I do? What could I do to help me out so that it isn’t taking so much time?
[00:27:44] Because let me just tell you, you don’t have to work out for an hour to be healthy. You don’t have to meditate for at least 20 minutes. You could do a ten minute meditation a couple of times a week, and I’m pretty sure you could find ten minutes of time.
[00:27:56] You could cook nightly meals that are really simple, that don’t take long. You could order for the week ahead from, like, a Blue Apron or somewhere else to help you out. You could block off time on Sundays – this is what we do in my household – to cook for the week ahead.
[00:28:15] There are ways to make this easy, simple and quicker.
[00:28:18] Be creative.
And a note about working out. I’m not a workout specialist but I used to think I needed to work out for at least 45 minutes to an hour to really get in a good workout. And after I had kids, I really had trouble doing that.
I finally figured out, you know what, there are workouts out there that can do a lot in a little bit of time. They’re more intense, they’re a lot harder. But that’s what I started doing.
So my standard workout is somewhere between 20 to 35 minutes, five days a week, and the timing varies based on what I’m doing. And I vary it between HIIT workouts, strength training, walking, yoga, core work, Pilates style work, all kinds of stuff to kind of give my body a lot of variation.
So you find something that works for you.
[00:29:08] But again, be flexible and remind yourself when you’re extra busy that, you know what, I can carve out at least 15 or 20 minutes. So what am I going to do in that 15 or 20 minutes? That is better than nothing.
[00:29:23] All right…
Self-Care Tip #4 (and we’ve kind of gotten to this a little bit, but I didn’t specify why): Bookend your day.
So in the morning, you want something to help you get energized and grounded for the day ahead. And in the evening, you want something to help you reset and be ready for optimal sleep.
[00:29:45] So I talked a little bit about my evening routine to help me do that, and I mentioned my client’s. There’s lots of things you can do in the evening.
- Drink a sleep tea, and read.
- Take a warm shower or bath.
- Have a nightly skin routine.
- Start it with how you approach dinner. Dinner with family, time to recount your day, a moment of gratitude.
- Have a rule where you have no electronics at all after a certain time, including television.
[00:30:15] And just a note. It’s really not healthy to fall asleep to TV. This is an area my husband and I do not agree on. He likes to fall asleep sometimes watching documentaries, which I kind of get because the flow of documentaries can help you get to sleep. But it’s really not great to have that on. So try to find another way if you can.
Sleep Meditations For Evening Self-Care
[00:30:35] There are some great sleep meditations out there. That’s the only exception for using the phone- and that alone. And in fact, I have a couple that I can recommend that I absolutely love, some apps that you can go to.
So I will put a link to my favorite sleep related meditation apps and meditations themselves in the show notes. I’ve got two or three for you that you can give a try, but try them out. Okay?
- Insight Timer
- UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center Guided Meditations (Favorite Sleep Meditation, Body Scan For Sleep is here)
I like to book-end the day for this reason, because we’re so busy, right? We’re so busy that it’s really easy once we get going into the day to forget to do the simple things like taking a ten minute break to move around and breathe, like taking five minutes of meditation. All are doable within a busy day for most of us. Probably all of us, in all honesty.
Unless you’re in the middle of a trial, right? You can’t just start meditating in the middle of a trial when you’re in front of judge and jury.
But most of the time you can find a five minute or ten minute break here or there for some self care. Yet it’s hard when we’re in the midst. I acknowledge that. It’s easy to keep just pushing through.
Bookend your day for the morning and evening so that you get something in.
And you can do that because remember: maybe your morning routine is just 15 minutes long when you’re super busy. But you’ve at least done that, which is better than nothing. Something is better than nothing.
Maybe your perfect evening routine would be an hour long to really get you to bed for optimal sleep, but you truncate it down to 20 or 30 minutes when you’re really busy because you know you want to get to sleep (as long as it helps with what you need – getting to sleep).
Now, a note about sleep.
Sleep is always a priority, right? That is a preeminent self care thing. You should be getting seven plus hours of sleep most of the time. Sometimes you won’t, but you want to ensure you’re getting as much sleep as you can.
[00:32:45] However, if you get in bed and you cannot get to sleep, it is better to lengthen that routine to ensure it helps you get to sleep. And then you sleep well. It’s better to do that and get a half hour less of sleep than it is to be like “No, I must get to sleep, and lay in bed for 2 hours trying to fall asleep and it not work.”
Use some common sense here and make sure you’re doing what you need to actually help you at the end of the day to get to sleep.
Bookend your day when you’re really busy. Be flexible and do what you can. It’s not all or nothing. It is all or something.
[00:33:27] All right, final tip…
Self-Care Tip #5: schedule breaks.
And this is going to be the hardest, this is why we bookend our day. But once we start to change our perception, once we start to change our definition, once we get more flexible, once we bookend our day, the next step is to try to schedule breaks into your day.
[00:33:49] Research is clear on this. Y’all, you are more clear headed, less stressed, and think more creatively when you take regular breaks throughout the day.
So no more just pushing through, even when you’re working a tight deadline, even when you’re in the middle of trial, even when you’re closing a deal in a day or two.
[00:34:08] The general rule of thumb that I like to recommend to my clients is to take:
- 10-15 minute breaks every 90 minutes to 2 hours, and
- One longer break around lunchtime, and
- Then, of course, you need a very long break at night to sleep.
Now, I understand that sometimes every 2 hours you can’t fit 15 minutes in, but do what you can.
Why To Schedule Your Breaks
And when I say no more just pushing through, what I mean by that is a lot of times we’re in the middle of something on our own – like writing a brief or revising a draft document or reviewing something that we need to give comments on – [00:34:46] and our 2 hours is up.
We know we need to take a break, but we have ten pages left of this 150 page document. I’m going to push through, I’m just going to finish this. Don’t do it. That’s a big no-no.
What actually benefits us the most is to not push through, to stop.
Now, you do need a stopping point, right? So if you’re in the middle of a thought, finish the thought. But it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes and take a break. Even if it’s just five minutes.
And for that break, what do you do?
Get up, move around, get something to drink, talk to somebody outside of what you’re working on.
Get your mind on something completely unrelated.
Meditate if you have time. A one to three minute meditation is very beneficial. You do not have to take 2010, even five full minutes to meditate. You can take just a couple of minutes.
[00:35:44] The point is to give yourself a physical break.
[00:35:49] It’s a pattern interrupt and a mental break from what you’re doing.
[00:35:54] And I said the research is clear, right? There are so many benefits to this, and I had an entire podcast episode around all of the benefits, what the research says, how to start prioritizing making breaks and all the things you can do. It’s one of my early episodes, actually episode number 22, and I will put a link to that in the show notes as well.
Why Taking Scheduled Breaks Is So Important For Your Self-Care
Taking breaks like this is going to help with improved self awareness. Because when you push through, it’s really hard to see clearly what’s triggering the feelings you’re having around overwhelm, stress, anxiety.
And oftentimes what happens is we assume it’s the event, it’s the circumstance. Yes, that’s part of it, but that’s not what is really triggering you. What’s triggering you is how you feel about that event, that circumstance. And how you feel is based on your actual beliefs, your thinking.
[00:36:56] So by forcing yourself into breaks, you’re going to give your mind some space, which allows it in its subconscious to parse through all of these things and deal with what’s causing your stress, your overwhelm, in a much more appropriate and effective manner. And I say in the subconscious, that’s where it starts, but eventually, it does come to your consciousness.
[00:37:19] Okay, I hope this helped you. That is a wrap for today.
Be sure to sign up for the Get Reenergized Self-Care Challenge.
It truly takes very little time, yet in seven days, you will start to shift your perspective and learn to prioritize self care much more effectively. Which means feeling better starting now. Sign up here.
All right, we’ll see you next week. Bye for now.