By Amari D. Pollard
When you’re constantly focused on crushing it at work, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. But think of it like this: You can’t truly be at your best unless you take care of yourself, and that includes slowing down to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve already completed. No matter your budget, Ed’s got some ideas to help you get started.
Go full on J.D. Salinger.
Maybe finding a remote cabin in the woods with no cell service is a little extreme, but sometimes, cutting yourself off from the outside world can be exactly what you need. Give it a try for a weekend by unplugging from everything, including social media, email, texts, news feeds, and TV. Spend your moments of solitude delving into a new book or catching up on your beauty sleep. (Trust us, your mind and body will both appreciate the break from staring at a screen.)
Take a class.
This could be anything from learning a new language to taking up yoga—whatever hobby or activity you’ve been meaning to try. It’ll give you something to look forward to after work and can help you decompress after a long day. If you have a bucket list, start looking for class ideas there (and if you don’t, this is a great time to start one!).
In college, I used to volunteer by walking dogs at Helping Hounds for an hour twice a week. I relished that time—it was my own pet therapy. There is no joy quite like giving back to the community. So instead of focusing your energy on yourself, focus it on a worthy cause by volunteering at a nursing home, Salvation Army, or animal shelter.
Buy yourself flowers.
Who says you need a romantic partner to get flowers? Head over to a local market to pick up a beautiful bouquet for your nightstand or table—it’s amazing how they can instantly brighten a room. Desk plants have also been proven to improve one’s attention to tasks at hand, so don’t forget to share the love with your office desk as well.
Splurge on a nice meal.
Enough of the sad salads! Make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, get a little dressed up, and give yourself the time to indulge. Go for that fancy cocktail or those three courses—you deserve to wine and dine yourself sometimes.
Organize your space.
When your personal spaces are cluttered, your life will likely feel cluttered as well. Clean out all your important spots, including your room, closet, desk, car, and office. Not only will this make it easier to find things, but the openness will allow you to think clearly when you enter those areas.
Bust a move.
Never underestimate the power of dance. It has the ability to lift your spirits, free you of your frustrations, and help you get in a good workout. Create a “Get Happy” playlist that you can turn on and dance to anytime you’re feeling out of sorts.
Go to the movies solo.
Watching a film in a quiet movie theater during the middle of the day is a surprisingly relaxing activity. Take a random day off, spend it catching a matinee you’ve been dying to see, and enjoy not having to think for a few hours.
Get out of town.
Weekend getaways are both a nice reward for working so hard and a chance for you to quietly prepare for another busy week ahead. Feeling spontaneous? Jump in your car or on a train with no particular destination in mind, stopping when you find a place of interest. Or if you’re more of a planner, pick a destination that you can dream about during the week for extra motivation.
Have a therapy session.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be heard and have someone listen to us seriously. You may already have friends and family you can turn to, but sometimes their lives are so hectic that you don’t want to bother them with your issues. (We’ve all been there.) That’s why it’s often beneficial to chat with a therapist or someone else outside of your circle who can bring a fresh perspective to your life. So don’t be afraid to open up—that’s how you’ll get the most benefit. You got this!
Amari D. Pollard is the Social Media Editor for The Week. She has written pieces for Parents, Popsugar, Elite Daily and Inside Lacrosse. She’s a news junkie obsessed with her collection of glasses, vintage shopping, and brunching. Check out her work at amaridawn.com and follow her slightly above average life on Instagram and Twitter.