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Occasionally, your work life starts to absorb the rest of your life.  At first, you hardly notice the change. An extended day at the office forces to you to cancel your dinner plans.  The stress of finishing all of your projects starts to keep you up at night. When you finally get home from work, you shake your head at your canine pal and skip your daily walk around the park.  If you don’t take a moment to press pause and notice the increasing regularity of these changes to your daily life, you might not even recognize the negative impacts these changes are provoking in your social, physical, and mental sides of your life.  Self care is important. Here are a few ways to help you get back on the track to living a full life.

Start with your social life.  Have you been brushing off friends or missing calls?  Set up a date, whether that date involves a loved one, a family member, or a good friend.  Pick out something fun and nearby. For example, your friend has mentioned wanting to check out the new breakfast cafe on Main Street for weeks now.  Call and make reservations for the two of you for one Saturday morning. Making the reservation will help keep you accountable. When that Saturday arrives, do not bail.  I repeat: do not bail. Regardless of how imposing your to-do list may appear, taking the short time out of your day to visit with a friend will help you feel rejuvenated and in touch with the very important world outside your office.  That to-do list will still be waiting for you, but keep brushing off those important relationships and they might just begin to fade away.

Put on the workout clothes and spend some time working out.  Designate an activity every week to get your muscles moving and those happy endorphins pumping.  A personal favourite, running is a great way to destress from a long day of work.  Any physical activity, however, will ultimately lead to the same benefits.  Pick something you will look forward to and again, set up appointments to keep you accountable.  That might look like signing up for a yoga class or taking the dog for a walk or meeting a friend at the pool to swim some laps.  Make the time to work out each week and every aspect of your life will benefit.

This last point is very important.  Set aside time each day strictly for “you time”.  This will obviously look different from person to person.  You may find writing in a journal helpful to collect your thoughts from the day.  Perhaps, you spend some time before bed reading a good book. Maybe this time is used to tend to a garden or baking or some other hobby.  The key point to making this time truly beneficial, however, is to make sure that all distractions are gone. Turn off the phone. Leave social media alone.  Use this “you time” to process your state of being.

If somewhere along the way, you ended up in survival mode due to pressures at work, take a step back.  You will eventually burn out from this lifestyle. No matter how crazy your schedule might be, force yourself to indulge in a bit of self care.  Every sphere of your life will thank you for it.