In this article I write about self-care – inspired by Anna Koschinski’s Blog Carnival. I share how I take care of myself and how it improves my productivity along with my greatest learnings.
My basic requirements
I have the following four basic requirements, which need to be fulfilled, that I feel well and which make me more efficient and effective:
- Enough time for myself for contemplation and reflection
- Enough sleep
- Balanced diet
- Working out
Enough time for myself for contemplation and reflection
I need time for myself to think over things as what happened, what I want to do next, what worked well and what did not work well, what I want to do better, what I want to change, what I want to leave as it is…. This does not mean that I sit for hours alone brooding over something. This means that for example when I cook, go for a run or drive somewhere, I do not absorb any additional external input as listen to music or to an audio book. I leave it quiet and use the time to contemplate and to reflect. Or at work I schedule my meetings if possible not one after one. I leave time between my meetings. This gives me time to make notes of the information I received during the meeting, of my thoughts, and what are the next steps. This also helps me to attend the next meeting fully focused and not being with half of my thoughts still at the former meeting.
If I do not get enough sleep over a certain period of time my experience is that sooner or later I get sick. During the week I sleep usually about 8 hours per night and on the weekend even around 9 to 11 hours. For years I tried to cope with 7 hours per night and less as I perceived too many hours of sleep as wasted time. I learned that if I sleep more, I get sick very rarely and I am far more productive as I am well rested. Therefore, I do not consider too much sleep as wasted time anymore. It is a good investment in my health and my efficiency.
If my diet is balanced, I feel overall better. I feel fitter. This makes me also more productive. To me good nutrition means whole foods and plant based. In addition, no or at least only a little bit of sugar. Also, it is important, that I get enough food frequently that my body and my brain have a steady supply of energy and nutrients. I achieve this by having 3 meals evenly distributed over the day. This avoids overeating and instead of falling into a coma after a meal, I am vitalized.
During my day I sit a lot in front of my laptop. I like to compensate this by working out. I cover the different areas as cardio, strength and stretching with Yoga, HIIT and running. In addition, during my day I include small pieces as doing some stretching during a virtual meeting, when I only have to listen, or sitting on a gym ball. This helps me to free my mind and to reenergize. Thus, the outcome of my work is more fruitful. And in the evening, it is also great to go for a walk with my husband. This gives me a light exercise and the opportunity to spend time with my husband.
My greatest learnings
Yes – self-care takes time. But the great thing is that I do not only feel better, it also enables me to achieve more in less time with greater results. And no – self-care is not selfish. I can only take care of others without running out of energy, if I feel well and have enough power.
What are you doing for your self-care? And does it also improve your productivity?
Photo by Kevin Malik