How to keep your sanity

We do this thing where we share tips within our team and I was “nominated” to share some for our team. I didn’t volunteer for it, was definitely volun-told. But after reading it, I’m glad I wrote it and thought that I would share it here:

Warning: A decent amount may feel like a cliché, but it works.

1) Take time to yourself every single day. I know it can be hard, but finding 5 minutes where you can stop thinking and zone out is enough to rejuvenate and ground you again. This can be your commute, stepping outside for a few minutes, or finding a conference room to just sit and exist. Don’t look at your phone, don’t pay attention to emails or social media. Just. Exist.

2) Be present. When you’re sitting at a table with one person, two people, 10 people, be present. Don’t look at your phone, don’t think about other things. If you can, keep your phone out of sight but if you absolutely need it, put it face down on the table to avoid distractions. We’re so consumed by social media, emails, easy access to everyone and tethered to our phones (mine’s literally face up staring at me right now) that it’s easy to not focus on the people in front of you.

3) Take time to do something you love. Even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day. Doing something you love forces you to break away from work and to just do something that makes you happy. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself making more and more time for it that it becomes a habit.

4) Exercise. For those that know me well, I complain a lot about exercising. I exercise but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. But it makes all the difference. Fun fact, we’re not made to sit on our butts all day long. So stop! Try to take a small walk every hour just to get up and move, or take your meetings standing up. Or drink a lot of water which then results in multiple trips to the restroom.

5) Drink water. My tip is to get a cup with a straw and lid so that you can rest your head on the lip of your cup, drink water, while simultaneously typing and reading emails. Efficiency at its finest.

6) Write things down that motivate you, that make you think, that remind you of something good in your day. I recommend taking a minimum of 5 minutes a day to write down one accomplishment and one positive thing from the day. This practice will force you to focus on the positive aspects rather than the negative ones. You can always find at least one thing that made you smile.

7) Set boundaries. There should be chunks of time within your day in which you unplug from your email and your phone. Whether it’s 30 minutes before bed or during a meal. But make sure that you have time set aside to think about something other than work.

8) Create a routine. When I get the most stressed it is because I feel out of control, in the sense that I have no say in what is happening around me. Creating a routine, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, will help. It can be meditating, making breakfast, reading, etc but create some level of consistency. And it brings back a level of control, a level of focus that helps put everything else back in perspective.

9) Watch people. Yes, this sounds absurdly creepy. But sometimes the best way to learn is through other people. Find people who you think have everything together and understand what they do. Everyone’s got their own tips and tricks and you can learn from them. Then modify their solutions so that it fits you and your lifestyle. Sometimes seeing someone do one thing can give you an idea on what you want to do or better yet, what to avoid doing.

10) Travel. Work travel doesn’t count. Travel somewhere that’s not your home for fun. See something that’s an hour away or 15 hours away. Make sure you get a change of scenery and those experiences will help put things in perspective. There’s nothing like standing on top of a mountain and remembering that there is just so much more out there to be discovered and experienced.

11) Do something every day that challenges you. This can be at work or in your personal life. But if you aren’t challenged every day, then you’re not growing. When you are able to accomplish that one thing that you’ve been working so hard for, there’s no feeling like it. Like the moment you set foot in a country on your first solo trip, or you run that extra mile you never thought you could. Or you eat that giant bowl of pho that has bested you multiple times. We, as humans, are impressive and it’s nice to get a reminder of just how awesome you are.

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