As a new professional, I am learning more things every day. What I need, areas I need to grow in, and overall how I am developing my transition as a student to a staff member on a college campus. It has been the most rewarding experience in my journey in student affairs and I am learning more about myself throughout this process as well. Now that all of us are starting a new year and working on our 2017 goals, I wanted to share some tips that I utilize in my life to help me live my best life outside of work and help me find the balance with my self-care.
Detach your work email off of your cellular device
For me, this was the first thing I did to find balance in my life. Having an email notification constantly come to your phone throughout the day and evening can cause the pressure of responding or getting to the email as soon as possible. Many may not be able to do this, but if you can, I encourage you to do so. If I’m out of the office at 5 p.m., I tend to set that boundary unless it is urgent. I will check my email in the evening once to make sure nothing pressing needs to be responded to, but if it doesn’t need to be right away, I detach. That way I can focus on my evening tasks. I tend to want to use that time to recharge, workout, or get ready for the next day.
Schedule time with family and friends ahead of time
We schedule a meeting, conference call, and everything else on our Outlook and Google Calendars, so why not this? For me, I have learned if I tell my family and friends ahead of time what I am thinking of doing this year for vacations, upcoming events, and hangout time, it usually turns out better. Also, I can focus my full attention on them during this time and I feel like from both sides, we have an understanding of what to expect when we are together. I also like to plan my check in time with friends, as well. Most of us are so busy that I usually say, “Hey let’s Face time or Google Hangout this weekend. What works best for you?” This is mindful of their time and mine, as well.
Find hobbies that help you elevate your health/lifestyle
I turn 25 this month (January) and I have started to work on my sleeping and eating habits a lot more. In December, I started to reduce my bad habits (fast-food, pop, and my process of changing my diet). I eventually would like to have more of a vegetarian lifestyle, which takes time, but I am working on it in small steps. I also have been looking at different options for my workout routine. Yoga classes have been such an amazing way for me to reduce my anxiety and stress after work.
In order for me to live my best life, my finances have to be in order. For me that means sticking to a budget and making sure everything is taken care of in a timely manner. I like to travel, save money, and build. So having a side hustle has been a great way for me to do these things.
Budgeting using applications like Mint on my iPhone to check my spending habits helps me stay accountable. It lets me know if I can treat myself or need to lay low until that next pay check comes. It also helps me to be aware of what I need to start thinking about saving for. I know for me, March is conference season. I try to make sure I set a date to start saving for those bigger events such as NASPA or ACPA. Also, what’s been a huge help for me is to stop spending money on fast food. Meal prep is your best friend and it saves a lot of money.
Keep a journal or have something where you can write things down and process
I always have to process and get things out in a form where it’s not always close circles. Journaling helps me stay focused on tasks I need to get done throughout the year. I am the type of person that if I write something down and visually see it, I remember it. It also just feels good to have an outlet and space where you can generally just put your thoughts into one place.
These are some of the tips I have used to help me focus on balance. I hope this may help anyone wanting to find more balance in 2017.