In a time when technology has changed the way we work forever, with new efficiencies and ways to collaborate with our team and clients, it has also increased the risk of burnout. This has been the year for self-care. WHO defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
If you are like me and running in a million different directions, you may not have time for a 1 hour yoga session every day or even every week! There are techniques you can use to incorporate breaks into your day-to-day routine that don’t require much effort but can positively impact your mental health and help productivity. These are called ‘micro self-care’ solutions.
What is micro self-care?
Micro self-care involves small activities you can weave into your daily routine that help to break up the day.
These might include:
- A walk around the block
- Listening to 10 minutes of your favorite podcast between tasks
- Practicing gratitude
- Changing your scenery by moving to another space to work for the next hour or two
- Read 5 pages of a book you have been wanting to read
Engaging in these micro breaks can boost your engagement and productivity, resulting in increased output.
Do you have virtual fatigue?
In particular, micro self-care breaks can help combat virtual fatigue. In a study by Stanford University to understand the full extent of Zoom fatigue, around 20% of respondents reported feeling ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ fatigued after Zoom calls.
Symptoms of virtual fatigue are physical (blurred vision, headaches, overall exhaustion, etc.) and mental (lack of focus, no motivation, etc.). And ultimately, these affect your accounting firm’s internal culture and your team’s ability to perform.
How can micro self-care help?
Short breaks stop the cumulative effects from building up, giving people a chance to reset between meetings. Not only do breaks ease stress, but they increase people’s ability to meaningfully contribute to their work. By shifting your scheduling habits you can reframe how you schedule your time. One example is by shortening hour-long meetings to 45 minutes, you’re building-in your short break without adding more time to your day. Another example is changing things up. During your micro breaks, make the effort to do different activities. It might be as simple as 10 minutes of stretching after your first meeting, followed by watering your indoor plants after your next meeting.
It’s important to do the things you enjoy during these breaks. It can be anything that takes your mind away from work-related things and focuses it on something that you feel is relaxing. Think of these micro self-care activities as recharging your batteries.