This Is How Harvard Researchers Weave Self-Care Into Every Single Day

Updated 08/17/17

It's no secret that our country's current political climate has more than a few people feeling stressed. Fortunately, we can look to Harvard University researchers for some valuable insight as to how, exactly, we can seamlessly weave bits of self-care into each and every day. "At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self," writes Harvard Business Review's Amy Jen Su, who is also the co-founder of a coaching and leadership development firm. "Rather than narrowly defining self-care as just physical health, we need to pay attention to a wider set of criteria, including care of the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources."

Below, read up on how Su recommends weaving self-care into your day, whether you're at the office or unwinding at home.

Surround Yourself With Good People

"Healthy and supportive relationships are a critical part of self-care," writes Su. Whether you're around your colleagues or your friends, "take notice of who feeds your energy and who drains it." She suggests setting boundaries with the drainers and investing in those who inspire you. Most importantly, "don't let work cause you to neglect the most important people in your life," she adds. Spend your commute calling your loved ones, or take breaks throughout the day to nurture your relationships.

Cut Yourself a Break

We are our own harshest critic; chances are we'd never treat our loved ones the way we treat ourselves. "By keeping your internal critic at bay, you can create the right psychological conditions to accelerate through periods of rumination or self-doubt more quickly," she writes, referencing Harvard Business School research from professor Amy Edmondson. "When the weight of … perfectionism kicks in, ask yourself, What would I say to a colleague or friend in the same situation?"

Recharge and Reboot

This one is arguably the most important, especially in our "always on" work culture. "For most busy professionals, getting eight hours of sleep every night is (sadly) not realistic," she admits. "But it's important to at least try to refill your gas tank during the week, so designate a Wednesday or Thursday night to get in some extra sleep." She also recommends building restoration breaks right into your work day; this can take the form of a walking meeting, an out-of-office lunch, or an afternoon massage.

Head over to Harvard Business Review for more self-care tips, and add your own two cents in the comments below.

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