We live in a very fast paced society that is constantly urging the importance of work and productivity. As an adult (specifically American) productivity is required to make a living wage, so there’s no way of escaping that. The mental health hacks that I will share below have been supportive in regard to balancing out work/school productivity while staying mentally well. I have learned that it is important to develop practices that work for you, so keep this in mind as you continue reading. My hope is that after reading about the practices I have implemented into my life you are able to begin making adjustments within your life as well.
Your mental wellness is important. You are more than the “work” you produce.
The Top 3 Method
Have you ever written down everything you wanted to accomplish for the day and immediately felt tired? Yep, me too. At first glance you would assume that it’s the tasks that are overwhelming, but in reality, it is the LIST itself. With any goal setting is important to be realistic. Not only is it overwhelming to start your day with an extensive list of things to accomplish, but this causes us to end the day feeling like we haven’t accomplished anything at all (not true).
Since starting my day with a list of the top THREE tasks I would like to accomplish, I have actually been able to get more done! Once the tasks on my top 3 are completed, I move along to the others. This has allowed me to better prioritize tasks and check out from the workday feeling accomplished.
Schedule Self Care
In the name of productivity and scheduling tasks, we must also schedule self-care time. This hack truly is simple as many people are already working around due dates throughout the week.
It’s also safe to assume that many of us are always mindful of a date on the calendar for various reasons (appointment, birthday, holiday, etc.).
Put YOURSELF on your schedule! One of the ways that I am able to implement this practice is by scheduling self-care time each morning before starting the day. Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee. The sun. Journal. Listen to a podcast. The goal is to acknowledge and check in with yourself first, before any phone notifications or task lists. Additionally, Wednesday’s get a little more time due to my schedule allowing for it. So, if there is a day or time slot throughout the week where you have “free time”, go ahead and schedule yourself in as you would any other obligation. This also gives you something to look forward to aside from the monotonous tasks of daily life!
No, Thank you.
That is not a good time for me.
I have something else scheduled.
Thank you for thinking of me, but I am unavailable.
Unlearning that you must always be available to others is more than a mental health hack, its truly life changing. Indeed, there are ways to say “no” that are polite and reflect respect, but we must stop using the uncomfortableness of the word as means to neglect our own needs.
Suggest a time when you are available, suggest they contact someone else who would be interested, or start with a compliment.
Below are additional hacks/lessons that have played an important role as I continue learning what mental health practices work for me.
- Social media breaks are essential.
- Social media is indeed home to positive ways of communicating and engaging, but comparison, procrastination, and anxiety live there also. Spend more time connecting with people in real life, enjoying hobbies, and trying new things.
- Choose to start over versus staying still.
- A common obstacle to seeing the results we want is holding on to what makes us feel comfortable despite it no longer serving us. There is no shame in starting over, do it as many times as you need!
- Is a working lunch really productive?
- You deserve a break, so don’t short yourself of that. It is likely that you will produce better results after recharging versus forcing yourself to multitask through the discomfort.
- Compliment yourself!
- Break up with the habit of comparing yourself to others.