Tara Jackson, ex-PA and holistic self-care and wellbeing coach, gives us her top tips for taking care of yourself despite a busy schedule.
Being a PA can be quite stressful. There are consistent demands on you and your time, you’re often juggling numerous tasks, to-do lists and diaries and you are also often trapped in a building with minimal natural light or fresh air.
Caring for your body and mind is so important, so that you don’t end up feeling frazzled and eventually burnt out. Even just a few small actions can help to make a difference to how you feel overall, especially if done consistently over time.
Here are a few self-care tips you can start to include in your day-to-day to help you feel more on top of your to-do list.
1. Meditate on your way into work
This is a great way to start your day feeling centred and calm before you are hit by the many demands on your time. You may find that you get less irritated by certain people when you do this and are able to deal with multiple demands more calmly as an added benefit. Even a five-minute guided meditation with your headphones can work wonders.
2. Make your working space somewhere you love
PAs spend a lot of time at their desks, so making your workspace somewhere that you love to be will help to keep you feeling happy. A few suggestions are having a houseplant or two to help with keeping the air fresher, or having photos and other items up that bring you joy. Or perhaps using some nice stationery that brings colour to your day.
3. Take regular breaks
This can be a hard one, especially when you’re busy (and let’s face it, most of the time this is the case, as your time is very dependent upon someone else’s). But getting away from your desk (and in particular your screen) at least once every hour can be really beneficial. Try and take advantage of the opportunities when your boss isn’t around to stretch your legs and pop outside for even a couple of minutes to get some fresh air.
4. Drink more water
We all know this one, but did you know how dehydrating computers can be, especially when you are staring at the screen for many hours a day? Drinking enough water will help to keep you feeling alert, and as a bonus less likely to fall prey to the sweet and salty office snacks that seem to live in so many workplaces.
5. Eat your lunch away from your computer
Again, this can be hard, as there’s often pressure (perceived or not) to be working while you are eating. Hell, if you can multitask, why not? Also sometimes it’s just not possible when you have to be there in case your boss needs something. However, it’s much better for your digestion if you can just focus on eating, making sure to chew your food properly. Try taking some time to go out and eat when you can, so that you have some time for you during the day.
6. Leave work on time
Try to leave on time at least once a week, if not more, so that you have time to meet friends, see a movie or do something for you. Setting this in stone will help create a boundary and you’ll be more fulfilled in the long run, as well as more productive at work, knowing that you have some time for yourself during the week. After all we weren’t born to just work, sleep and pay bills.
7. Have your own healthy snacks to eat regularly
Offices tend to have a lot of salty and sweet snacks floating about that are simply irresistible to the stressed-out or busy PA. The allure of a quick fix or something to swiftly fill a hole when you haven’t had time to eat properly can be appealing. But having your own healthier options such as nuts, fresh fruit, raw veggies and hummus in your desk drawer or the office fridge can help to keep hunger pangs at bay and your energy levels consistent for dealing with all that you have going on.
Do you need some more self-care in your life? Tara Jackson, an ex-PA (for more than 10 years), and now a holistic self-care and wellbeing coach is running a free 30-day self-care challenge, which starts on the 1 April 2017. You can sign up at tarajackson.co.uk/work-with-me/30-days-self-care/. It includes a daily self-care tip, inspiration, or action straight to your inbox throughout the month of April so you can find out which ones work for you and which ones don’t so you can include more in your life.
Tara is also offering PA Life readers 25% off all of her coaching programmes for tailored one-to-one support and accountability, booked before the end of April 2017 using the code PALIFE. You can find out more about her services at tarajackson.co.uk/work-with-me/.