Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 28, 2020

Career Corner: Make taking care of yourself a pandemic priority

There are many days when 2020 feels like the year that will never end. If someone had been taking bets in 2019 about how this year would play out, we all would have lost.

One of the most challenging things about this year has been self-care, which allows our best selves to show up for friends, family and co-workers.

It is so easy to let work overwhelm us. Working from home can intensify the day and can extend our hours. No longer are we taking the same coffee breaks to chat with colleagues about the weekend. And, we don’t have somewhere to be right after work.

The endless video calls can also be draining. Many people are sitting, staring into a tiny computer camera all day.

Gyms are closed in many places, further throwing off our routines. Somehow, even though we’re eating at home more, it’s become harder to eat healthy. It’s easier to find yourself eating more chips and pizza than ever.

All of this working, lack of exercise and poor diet will eventually catch up to us. And, I’m not talking about in terms of our waistlines. I’m talking about how we feel day to day.

Working long hours is only helpful if you’re feeling like yourself. If you’re dragging through the day, it’s just one long, unproductive day bleeding into the next one. If you’re feeling bad, it’s time to pull yourself out of it, one bit at a time.

The first step is sleep. Getting good rest is so important. Then, it’s about trying to eat a little healthier each day. And, don’t forget about drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

It’s also important to keep up your social connections. This is harder to do right now in many ways. But the good news is that more and more people are using the phone and video chats to stay in touch.

Last, work to create boundaries between work and home. Create a daily schedule and stick to it. When you’re working, focus on work. When work is over each day – at a predetermined time – stop working. Don’t go back to it unless there is a truly exceptional reason (such as an emergency).

All of these things seem basic on some level, until they aren’t.

We are all struggling so hard to create a new normal that works for us. Some days will be better than others.

Give yourself the space for bad days. Be kind to yourself even when you’re struggling.

And work to improve your self-care routines, so that each day may be a little better than the one before.

Unfortunately, we may be in this challenging situation for a while. It’s important to take care of ourselves along the way.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.