How often do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of a sprint, project or even the end of the year?
As UX professionals we’re often busy taking care of our stakeholders’ problems, considering our collaborators and teammates, and fostering empathy for the people using our products and services. The emphasis is so external that sometimes we forget to take a moment to practice a bit of self-care. Looking after our physical and mental health is essential for keeping us on top of our game and for avoiding burnout during overly stressful and busy periods.
Here are five self-care tips that I’ve been trying hard to practice over the past year (complete with cat gifs).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We can’t do everything. Ask for help when you need it and accept help when it is offered.
Get the sleep you need
Being a mum to a toddler in addition to working part time, this has been a challenge for me over the past year but I’ve learned that it’s okay to skip the emails and occasionally go to bed straight after dinner.
Keep up the step count and make sure you’re well fed
I’m that person in the meeting that gets hangry. I’ve learned to plan ahead and pack a range of healthy (and occasionally naughty) snacks, and to make time for lunch. I’ve also been trialing walking meetings, and have started riding to and from work to get active and to give myself time to decompress.
Book in ‘breathing’ time
My work day is usually filled with back-to-back meetings from 9am to 5pm. A friend shared this tip with me: book in a daily 15 minute appointment with yourself to just stop and breathe. Or spend that time making a cup of tea!
Connect and nurture relationships
It’s really important to keep strong by connecting with others. This isn’t just workmates, stakeholders and clients, but also family and friends. When I get busy, I’m notoriously bad at nurturing my friendships. I’ve been working hard on this, but thankfully I have very kind, thoughtful and forgiving friends!
Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves. It’s okay to take a moment (or several!) to re-evaluate and do those things that sustain and rejuvenate us.