Thursday, June 23, 2011

Self Care at Work

Well here we are, two (part-time) weeks back at work and I am feeling fine. Better than fine, at moments. I've done a lot of work to get to where I am, and I'm pretty proud of myself. My goal is work/life balance, with an emphasis on the life balance part.

Remembering to stop working and come home is important, but so too is taking care of myself - while I am work.

I have to thank renowned "self-care" guru Cheryl Richardson, whose ten rules for self-care at work got me thinking about what I need to do at work to help ease me back into the work scene. Here is what Cheryl has to say, provided verbatim from her website (black text), with my own ideas presented (in red text):

"It is a myth to believe that working long hours at a frantic pace makes you productive. By now most of us recognize that overwork and stress cause everything from a lack of creativity to stress-related illnesses. Taking better care of ourselves makes good business sense. If you don’t believe me, try an experiment. Incorporate some of the new rules below for the next 30 days and see what happens. If you adopt some of these rules and put them into practice you’ll find that you not only get more done at work, you create more time for your life.

I take lunch everyday and do something unrelated to work. For example, I get out of the office and take a walk, listen to a relaxation tape, or visit with a friend.
  1. I take lunch everyday and do something unrelated to work. For example, I get out of the office and take a walk, listen to a relaxation tape, or visit with a friend. (I have been sticking to this one, and getting out of the office each day to do something "nice" for myself. For example, on Tuesday I went and checked out a yarn shop that I have been wanting to visit )
  2. I work reasonable hours. On most days, I arrive at 8:30 and leave by 4:30.
  3. I schedule “breathing room” every day so I can step back, re-evaluate my priorities and be sure that I am working on what really matters. (I am easing gently into work, just one or two priorities a day)
  4. I do whatever it takes to create a healthy work environment. I keep my office free of clutter and if necessary, I use a clean air filter, full spectrum lighting, and I always keep a reserve of water nearby. (I have a small bottle of peppermint oil on my desk, I snort it if I feel anxious and it calms me)
  5. I have an “Absolute Yes” list for work (a 3″ x 5″ index card with my top five priorities listed in order of importance) and I refer to it often. (I use Windows digital "sticky notes" right on my computer)
  6. I train myself to consistently look for ways to delegate work in order to empower others while I honor my Absolute Yes list. (I will need to vigilant about delegating)
  7. I hire only highly competent, talented people to support my efforts. (yup)
  8. I ask family and friends to honor my work time by eliminating non-essential personal calls and interruptions. (I am bad, I actually just won't answer the phone if I don't feel like chatting)
  9. I coordinate my work schedule to remove distractions and interruptions. For example, I design blocks of uninterrupted, focused time and I only check voicemail and e-mail twice a day (keep breathing on this one). (I haven't tried this yet)
  10. I stop taking on more than I can handle. When asked to take on a project, I check to be sure that I can complete the assignment without suffering or sacrificing my self-care." (I can do this. Haven't had to yet.)
 ***Thanks, Cheryl!***


  1. I'm learning , I'm learning!!! Taking notes!
    Thank you! Such an honor to be a part of your growth! ENJOY the weekend my friend

  2. You are doing extremely well Dawn and I am proud of you! Great post.

  3. Thank you Dawn and Elizabeth. I really am feeling confident that the work I have done, and the time I have taken to figure out what really matters, has made and will continue to make a huge difference in my life.

  4. Dawn - I love-love-love this! I'm printing the list and putting it up to remind myself. I recently started doing numbers 1, 2 and 3. Number 9 - hmmm I'll have to give that a try.