Self-care is frequently discussed, but too often overlooked, especially when it comes to marketing professionals. To start off a new year, let’s examine why self-care is as important as ever and why it’s needed for every marketer. Do yourself a favor and read this blog post.
3 reasons why self-care is important for marketers
“If you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” —Dalai Lama
1. You do better work when you’re your best self
You’re more productive when you’re healthy and happy. You’re better giving yourself a break to avoid breaking yourself. Taking care of yourself is a win-win for everyone at your business.
2. Reduce stress and anxiety
All work is stressful if you let it be. Living during a pandemic is also stressful. Those two worlds have collided, and it’s hard to keep them both functioning. You don’t have to be constantly busy.
3. Avoid burning out
Studies show that 52% of workers feel burned out in 2021. It can happen to anyone but doesn’t have to. Pausing and caring for your personal life can preserve your professional life, too.
Why self-care is difficult
“The challenge is not to be perfect—it is to be whole.” —Jane Fonda
COVID: The elephant in the room
Isolation, depression, and burnout were already issues. Our global pandemic has only made them worse. We feel more isolated and more anxious.
COVID has made self-care more important, but it’s also more difficult to implement because we’re not sure where to begin. Our burdens are so heavy, we’re afraid to put them down.
We often set unreasonable expectations
Sometimes, your boss expects too much of you. They ask to work long hours, take on too many projects, and aren’t appreciative or encouraging. Sometimes, that crappy boss is you.
We need to set healthy boundaries and expectations for both ourselves and our businesses. Treat yourself the way that you wish your boss and coworkers would treat you.
Remote work removes the buffer
Many of us used to have commutes. Driving through traffic may have been annoying, but it also offered you a barrier to disconnect from work. It was a chance to unwind before reaching home.
Now, most of us both live and work at home. This makes it harder to distinguish the two. We must intentionally set boundaries between our personal and professional lives.
The never-ending content cycle
Unique to digital marketers is the constant need for online content. Update the website. Write a blog post. Record a podcast episode. Post to social media. The content beast is always hungry.
Unless you plan your content, you’ll be constantly fighting to keep up with production. Step off of the content hampster wheel occasionally or you’ll always be exhausted. The internet never sleeps, but you definitely should.
10 tips for better self-care
“Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
1. Take breaks during the day
Download an app like WorkRave or Timeout. Take a one-minute break every hour. Stop to look away from your computer every 20 minutes. Otherwise, you’ll never find the time for yourself.
2. Set clear working hours
Consistently start and stop your workday at a specific time. Let your boss know when these are. You might not always have this autonomy, but work towards it.
When you’re done working, create a shut-down routine to tell your brain that work time is over. Turn off notifications. Shut the computer. Unplug the wifi, if that’s what it takes.
3. Get sleep
It sounds basic because it is—sleep is one of the most important things your body needs. But working or living on little sleep isn’t sustainable in the long run. Snooze for at least eight hours.
Depriving yourself of restorative rest will sap your productivity and make you more vulnerable to getting sick or injured (when you’ll have no chance but to stop working).
4. Don’t eat at your desk.
Eating is another obvious tip. Take this to the next level by using lunch as an excuse to take a break. Don’t eat while hunched over your keyboard. Your productivity naturally wanes during the course of the day. But stopping for half an hour to eat gives you a natural boost.
Don’t use this time to watch a video or catch up on emails. If you must be productive, eat with another person. Talk about something other than work. Use lunch to deepen a relationship.
5. Take a walk
Walking is one of the most basic, but structural practices for better physical fitness. As a bonus, it’s also great for your mental well-being. Walking allows your mind to wander and process.
Stroll, don’t scroll. Walking outside is even better because you get sunlight and fresh air. Walking with another person is best of all because of the added social benefits.
6. Find ways to refuel
Motivation naturally flags over time. We all go through dips in our work. So it helps to have sources of inspiration and energy when we’re stuck in a rut.
You know what works for you. Go to a conference. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Watch a TED Talk. Read a blog post. Meet with a mentor. Pick one a do it regularly.
7. Take a vacation
Most businesses offer paid time off as a benefit to their employees. But the majority of Americans don’t use all of their PTO. Even when they do, they often work on vacation.
Plan a trip every year. Even if it’s just a staycation to visit your own town. Disconnect for work for an extended period of time. Send work a postcard if you need to.
8. Don’t multitask
It’s tempting to try and tackle four or five or a dozen tasks simultaneously. That seems like a productive use of time. But it’s actually the opposite because you do none of them well.
Constantly switching focus makes you less productive and strains your brain. Work toward focusing on one thing at a time. Figure out what’s important and dive in deep.
9. Look at your work environment
Are you at your workspace right now? Look around. What do you see? Do you like how your desk looks? Does it seem like a good place to foster creativity and productive work?
If not, then spend some time working on your workspace. Dim the lighting. Declutter your desk. Store some snacks and water nearby. Hang some artwork. Maybe even invest in a standing desk (if you’re into that sort of thing like me).
10. Connect with people
A theme that’s emerged in a few other tips thus far has been engaging with other people—whether that’s family, coworkers, friends, or even strangers. Work can be isolating. Engaging regularly with others keeps you connected and helps fight off depression.
Occasional texts or messages are OK. Longer video calls or face-to-face conversations are even better. Find people who will pour into you like a professional mentor, or even a therapist. Figure out what relationships you need and find people to fill those roles.
Resources for marketers and self-care
- Digital Minimalism and Deep Work both by Cal Newport
- Finish and Soundtracks both by Jon Acuff
- 8 Self-Care Tips for Content Marketers
- 16 Employee Burnout Statistics You Can’t Ignore
- The Importance of Implementing Self-Care Into the Workplace
This blog post is based on content from one of our monthly meetups. Join us for a future gathering or download the slide deck from that presentation. If you’re looking for a community of marketers like you, join our Facebook group!