In a two-story cottage secretly set in the Pacific Northwest sits a man, quietly pondering over the future of technology. Only Diet Orange Crush accompanies him in his solitary place, with a caretaker quietly slipping him two simple meals daily.
That’s Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft who became the world’s richest man with a net worth of $12.9 billion in 1995. And this solitary retreat is his way of self-care. Bill Gates calls these retreats his “think weeks” where he reads and cooks up new strategies for Microsoft.
The takeaway? Self-care is important irrespective of how busy you are. It’s about time you stop tearing yourself up, and dedicate some time to daily or weekly self-care rituals. A stressful week calls almost always calls for a recharge. While everyone has their own definition of self-care, I talked to five wonderful women who have brilliant self-care routines that help them unwind from work. Here’s what each one of them shared:
A bubble bath with candles, soft music, and a good book doesn’t have to be just an image from a movie. You can take a calming bath every weekend just as MeetEdgar’s Digital Content Manager, Maura Hughes, does. Hughes shared that bubble baths are her number one weekly self-care habit.
She said, “No phone, a good book, some relaxing music and that's all I need!" Science applauds this self-care habit too. A 2002 study points out that horizontally positioning your body when bathing can help lift your mood. If your week’s stress added some muscle pain to your plate, a bath can help relieve that too.
Undeniably, self-care is paying attention to not just your physical health but also mental well-being. The Founder and Editor of Creative Boom, Katy Cowan, therefore, focuses on boosting both.
She pointed out, “Weekends are about getting outside into the countryside and breathing in some fresh air. They're also about spending time with family and friends – the very people who energize me and remind me that life isn't all about work. I find it important to step away from work and take my mind off things, so I'm able to feel refreshed and ready for another week."
Exercise is the best form of self-care. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that a healthy adult should allot 150 minutes to moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes to strenuous exercise every week. Physical activity delivers numerous health benefits including better brain and cardiovascular health.
That’s probably why the Founder and CEO of Career Contessa, Lauren Mcgoodwin, sets time apart for daily activity even if it is from her office. She shared a 30-minute Barre 3 online class that she streams from her office with her barre ball and yoga mat. Lauren explained, “It's fast, easy, and since I've been able to quickly fit it in anytime I want or when I'm traveling since you just need Internet. Highly recommend!”
Yoga has a scientifically proven reputation for boosting your energy levels and busting stress. Besides, it yields several other benefits like improving your posture, assisting in weight loss, and upping the levels of your happiness hormone, serotonin.
You can try it as a weekly or daily self-care ritual as Taughnee Stone, a brand strategist and designer, does. She told me that yoga is essential for keeping her back problems at bay. Stone said, "Around mid-morning, I take an exercise break which includes taking my dog for a hike in nature and then following that up with a bit of yoga. This ritual restores my energy and I'm mentally ready to finish my work day."
Self-care is all about what makes you feel better. Hence, any creative practice, planning, or any hobby that makes you feel better can become part of self-care regime. For instance, Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, begins her day by “writing for 10 or 15 minutes longhand, in a blank notebook” instead of scrolling through social media as 46% of Americans do.
She further explained that this newly-adopted self-care ritual, “makes me more mindful and aware of my days as they are happening. And overall, it makes me less vulnerable to others. It makes me feel like I own the day... even before my feet hit the floor!”
You don’t have to follow self-care practices to a tee. Practice whatever relaxes you, and feeds your mind happy thoughts. If you feel stress-busted, don’t wait for the weekend; take out time for daily relaxation.
Let’s sum this up with a brilliant nugget of daily self-care practices that Cowan practices everyday: “Don't drink alcohol, eat healthy food and do regular exercise.”