Why do we do it? Why do we treat our devices better than our own body and mind? What is this ritual that has become prevalent in today’s society where we flog ourselves to the point of exhaustion before realising that ‘something has to be done’?
When our phones are nearly out of battery or running slow, we smother the thing in care and affection. Recharging it to boost its energy levels and doing a quick health check to see which apps are draining it, and if we find some that aren’t essential, we kindly remove them to reduce its workload.
We know deep down that to be in tip top health we have to look after ourselves too. So, what is stopping us?
An unshakeable affliction from yesterday’s culture?
I once worked in an environment where it was frowned upon to leave on time. It was a brave person who stood up from their desk at 5pm to head towards the door. Bang goes their chance of promotion! Having employees with a life outside of the workplace was, to be honest, a bit of an inconvenience to the leadership team. It was also commonplace to hear the phrase, ‘lunches are for losers’.
Thankfully, there are now experts telling us that if you want to be an employer of choice, one that empowers every individual to fulfil their potential, you have to create and maintain a healthy workplace culture. But I guess this is yet to filter down to every business in every sector.
How close is too close in our forever connected world?
As cultures shift and agile working continues to increase in popularity, we face another challenge. Just how do we ‘leave the office’ when the equipment we use to keep us connected is usually either on our person or close by?
Build boundaries and stay strong
It starts with setting your own boundaries and saying ‘no’ to the things that ultimately don’t serve us well. It’s about being clear on our goals and protecting them at all costs.
When you’re running on vapours it shows. Not only in your work, but cracks can appear in your physical, mental, and emotional health too.
Fuel your creative side
You don’t have to go very far to read about the benefits of taking regular breaks and booking time away from your work. And how burning the candle at both ends will only ever result badly. But from a creative point of view, there’s so much more to it.
I’ve been asking the Good Comms team for their top tips for self-care, and how the associated intangible benefits actually give our clients a better service.
1. Unplug to wire your brain differently
Take this tip literally. Switch off and step away from all electrical devices and immerse yourself in the present. Even short breaks away from technology empowers us to hold more meaningful conversations, interact with others on a higher level, and allows us to truly focus.
Devoting your time and energy on just one thing activates your prefrontal cortex. Unplugging switches on your brain’s positive default setting enabling you to process information more efficiently, problem solve to the max, and see things from a more rational, logical, and balanced viewpoint.
2. Change your scenery to encourage divergent thinking
Staying in the same routine stifles imagination, never a good thing for a creative professional. The good news is that you don’t have to travel far to give your artistic and creative power a boost. Simply going for a walk and imagining what’s behind a curious looking door fuels inspiration. Looking at objects and thinking, ‘what else could I use this for?’ is another way – scarves and forks are great examples where you can let your imagination run wild.
Book time in your diary to head outdoors regularly and make a point of seeing everyday objects in a different light. When we train our brains to do this instinctively, we are practicing how to form multiple, unique ideas and solutions.
At the end of the day, there’s no denying that to be at the top of your creative game you need to find new and exciting ways to solve problems and approach projects.
3. Acknowledge your own battery levels
You know your mind and body better than anyone else. You’ll know when you develop your best ideas.
Work this to your advantage. Here at Good Comms, we practice this to great effect. Some of us have our eureka moments first thing, others late in the evening. Leaning into our productivity levels like this prevent feelings of burnout too.
4. Pause, reflect, review and recharge. But don’t declutter your mind completely.
Stopping feels wonderful. To completely relax is essential for recharging our energy levels. And it’s in this space that we naturally move away from our screens. These breaks from the daily grind gift us with the time to redefine what is important to us and what is harming us.
But to switch off completely isn’t as good as you may have been led to believe. Filling your mind with personal thoughts, opinions, experiences, and perceptions encourages it to reflect and explore with complete openness. This allows the brain to connect the dots and to invite in complete clarity of thought with supreme creativity.
When the mind is relaxed with little distractions it really does come into its own! Let it run wild and listen to what it says
5. Do something just for fun.
Forget about ‘why’ for a moment and just go and do something that you fancy doing. Doing something for yourself is the only reason you need to step away from the usual humdrum of life.
Things that make you happy, activate your happy hormones: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. You deserve these rewards! They will boost your learning and memory, and just make you a much nicer person to be around.
6. Find the right balance for you and block time out.
The final, and the most important point. Treat you the same way that you treat your clients.
Block out your diary for you. You’d never cancel an appointment with a client, would you? So don’t cancel on yourself.
Sharing is caring right?
What techniques do you and your team embrace to make sure that you are rested, recharged and ready for the day ahead?