A Year Later, It's Time to Take a Deep Breath | Social Joey

It’s pretty crazy when you think about it. It’s been just over one year since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared—and chaos began.

Since then, we’ve weathered personal and business-related storms and all kinds of challenges. Most of us stayed “safer at home” for at least a month last year… and many of us still spend more time at home than before.

But there’s hope on the horizon! There are multiple COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA and being distributed to people across the country. In early March, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law, bringing with it financial assistance for individuals, families, and many businesses, including those in the restaurant industry, hit hard by the pandemic.

Let’s be real: It’s been a lot.

That’s why we’re doing something a little different in this blog. Instead of providing you with insights about the latest in marketing and social media, we’d like to take a few minutes to encourage you to hit the “pause” button and take good care of yourself.

The Value of Self-Care

You’ve likely heard the phrase self-care previously. But you may not fully understand what it is.

Self-care isn’t being selfish, and it isn’t all about manicures or spa days.

It’s about the simple act of devoting time to yourself—and ensuring that you’re functioning at your absolute best.

You might think of that as purely something that impacts you as a person, but it’s also very important for you professionally. When you’re at your best, with optimal health and well-being, you’re more productive in your work. You’re able to better focus, and your cognitive abilities even improve.

In short, taking time for yourself can ultimately benefit your business.

What Self-Care for a Professional Looks Like

OK, so you now know the value of self-care, but what does it actually look like in practice? That’s a bit of a tricky question.

Because self-care encompasses any actions you’re taking to care for yourself, it can look different for every person. Wondering where to begin? Here are some suggestions:

Make Time for Movement

Exercise might be the last thing on your mind at the end of a busy workday. That’s totally understandable. But the reality is: You’ll feel better when you move your body more.

Experts recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. That’s not that hard! It doesn’t require super intense movement, and it doesn’t require that much time.

The odds are, you can find 22 minutes each day to move your body. Put your workouts on your calendar like an appointment—and don’t cancel on yourself!

Fuel Your Body With Healthy Foods

When you’re “go…go…going” all the time, fast food can be convenient. But if you’re like us, you probably don’t feel all that good after you eat it.

Fill your plate at meals primarily with fruits and vegetables, supplemented by lean proteins like chicken or fish. If you love bread and pasta, choose whole-grain varieties when you can—they’ll keep you full for longer and contain more nutrients.

Snack well to keep yourself full and give your body energy. Pair together a carb (like an apple) with lean protein and a small amount of healthy fat (peanut butter for the win in both categories) for a snack that’ll keep you going.

Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep

Do you get enough quality sleep? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is no.

One in three American adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, and up to 70% of us get insufficient sleep at least one night a month.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re not regularly hitting that number, adjust your habits to prioritize sleep.

Keeping the bedroom cool and dark, limiting the use of electronics at night, and setting a consistent bedtime and wake-time are all ways to get more sleep.

Create Healthy Boundaries

Work/life balance is a bit of a misnomer. You’ll probably never have true balance—but you can strive to keep all the balls in the air!

With many of us still working at least part of the time from home, work habits have suffered. Not in a way that lowers productivity for employers; rather, our work habits are negatively impacting us personally.

That’s because when your workspace is your living room or even office space in your home, it’s hard to set boundaries.

To keep yourself going, it’s important to stick with a consistent cut-off time, where you walk away from your work for the day. Building in this boundary can help you stay mentally and professionally healthy.

Make Time to Breathe

Returning back to our big theme for this blog, it’s time to literally take a breath!

Did you know that stress can be both a good thing and a bad thing? It’s weird to think about, but it’s true.

A small amount of stress can serve as a motivator, helping us get things done. But when we’re overly stressed or stressed for too long, it can wreak havoc on our lives and our health.

Since you can’t totally eliminate stress from your life, it’s important to find ways to manage it. Enter deep breathing.

Calming activities such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or prayer can all help you recenter and relieve stress. Feeling stressed to the max? Pause to breathe!

Give Thanks

It might seem odd to include gratitude in a self-care guide, but when you take time to thank someone, you benefit as much as the recipient.

In the everyday chaos of life, especially pandemic life, it can be hard to think about what we’re thankful for. But if you pause for a few minutes, you can probably think up a list!

While the pandemic year was crazy, hard, and just plain insane, there were also many blessings hidden inside. Taking some time to think about the good can help you reframe your life (and your work) in more positive terms.

Let’s all give thanks. After all, hope is here!

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