How to Work Self-Care into Your Startup Lifestyle

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As of the first of this month, we're officially a quarter of the way through 2018. How's that New Year's resolution of yours going? If you've made one for your health and see it slipping a little - or if you're looking around for a few quick healthy changes you can make to your life without organizing a yoga event for your office, look no further than these tips, because we're going to be focusing on wellness for the whole month of April.


I'll let you in on a secret - there's a reason I'm a writer and not an artist. I've always been horrible at art. When I was in kindergarten, we had one of those simple assignments given to see if we could recognize numbers, patterns, and things like that. I was supposed to draw a telephone - any telephone.

What happened next was a mental struggle so intense that I remember it to this day. I had no idea how to draw something that seemed so complex.

Anyway, I ended up failing the assignment, and when I brought the picture home to my mother, she tried her best to see it as a phone, but she had to admit as well that I just couldn't draw. (Granted, back then, phones looked a little more complicated than the rectangles-covered-in-app-squares that they are today, but I still managed to fail the assignment that everyone else in my class passed.)

Still, when I really need to disengage, I make visual art.

I take out my paints, my crayons, and whatever other art supplies I've collected over the years, and I...make stuff. The finished product ends up looking something like a journal spill or a Wreck This Journal kind of thing, but it helps me to calm down. I have things to do with my hands. I'm not going to show my work to anyone, and I know I'm doing something that I'm already bad at, so the stakes are so low that I have the freedom to do what I want. Every once in a while, I look at what I've made and see that it's not really all that bad at all, and that's nice but not the point. I didn't set out to make something beautiful, I just set out to make something.

That's how I practice self-care.

Self-care is an internet buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, and it has a lot of applications because it means different things to different people. That can also make the term a little confusing. What does self-care mean anyway?

Hopefully, in a few minutes, you can break down what self-care is for you, what it does, and how you can practice self-care in your everyday life.

What's the point of self-care?

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There are two parts to self-care - taking care of a need you have and giving some control back over to yourself. For inspiration, you can look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The bottom level consists of things you need to survive, like nutrition, security, and health; and it slowly builds up to less tangible, more emotional needs, like self esteem.

Part of the hierarchy's theory is that you can't truly pursue higher levels of the hierarchy until you've filled all of the needs of the row below it, so analyze yourself. Go up the pyramid and figure out where your life is lacking. Maybe you're getting a lot of headaches because you're not drinking enough water, or you're generally just feeling blah about your life.

So, drink some water, and figure out how you best - within your means - can stop feeling blah. Figure out how to fill those holes in your needs, and you're part of the way to self-care.

Be mindful of your self-care

Going back to the hierarchy, you probably have to eat every day to keep happy, fulfilled, and at the top of your game. But if you're not putting thought into eating - when, where, and what - it's easy for it to fall into the routine of your day. That satisfies a need, but it doesn't feel very fulfilling.

If eating is going to be your self-care activity, label it as such in your head, and make your choices accordingly. That might mean having dessert and coffee in a cafe with a nice view. It could mean eating your favorite local food or speaking to a friend . Personalize your activity, and make it special to you.

That way, even if you only have 10 minutes to grab to yourself, make the 10 minutes count. Focus on your activity, and try not to get too distracted (if your self-care activity is talking to a friend, that's fine, but leave your phone in your pocket on silent). See how you feel after.

Self-care works best when it's a way of life

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Work your self-care activities into your routine at a rate that works for you, and feel free to implement more than one. Does five minutes of deep breathing daily help? What about doing some art or going for a walk weekly? Can you disengage by getting a massage or pedicure once a month?

There are no limits to how big or how small the gesture can be, but just make sure it's something that forces you to be mindful - even if it's for a few minutes - and doesn't stress you out too much (so don't strain your wallet with your activity).

Work it into a routine at a regular pace. Add your self-care activities slowly, and don't get frustrated if you have trouble sticking to the schedule you've made for yourself. Find something that fits your lifestyle.

So how do startup employees practice self-care?

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Here at 100offer, we're startup employees too. We took an office poll, and here's a list of our favorite self-care activities:

  • Playing foosball
  • Playing pool
  • Taking a walk
  • Playing office pranks
  • Reading funny news
  • Playing with my dog
  • Having a small sweet
  • Drinking coffee or milk tea

Have you been feeling like looking for a new job might be in your best interest? 100offer's online platform lets employers from top tech companies in Singapore apply to you for interviews. If something's lacking from your life, we can help you out.

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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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