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Having a robust self-care routine at work is crucial to managing stress at work. And as we know, self-care routines aren’t one-size-fits-all. Just like different people need different things from their self-care routines, individuals need their self-care routines to look different at different stages of their career.
If you’re in STEM, here’s how to adapt your self-care rituals to your different stages of life so you can stay engaged and enthusiastic about your work, whether you’re just starting out or are in the middle of your career.
Master your environment.
Every new professional joining the workforce experiences culture shock. The shift from going to school to working a full-time job day in and day out is quite a change. But that’s not the only time you’ll have to take stock of your surroundings and learn how to respond to your work environment. This will happen over and over again – as you change jobs, move to new organizations, or shift to new fields.
Part of this is investing in your relationships at work. Remember, your coworkers and colleagues are part of your environment. As your relationships with your supervisors and colleagues shift, so will your relationship with yourself and your needs. When you notice this happening, let your self-care shift to meet your needs.
Find purpose and meaning.
Most people go into STEM because they want to change the world and pursue their passion. While everyone goes through phases where they feel varying levels of engagement with their work, finding ways to keep that fire burning is crucial for taking care of your mental health. No one wants to feel like their work doesn’t matter!
Cultivate hope and gratitude.
Have you ever noticed that after you achieve your dreams, they can start to feel like drudgery? Maybe you dreamed of working at a high-profile laboratory someday. Or you finally landed a plush job at a shiny new tech startup – the stuff of dreams. Once these become a reality, it’s easy to forget how badly you once wanted it. Practicing gratitude for the present and hope to achieve your future dreams will keep you in a growth mindset. It will also guide your self-care decisions.
Stay connected to your practice and core values.
Ask yourself, “what self-care practices align with my values and my interests?” The answer will change throughout your life. Everyone’s needs, priorities, and passions change throughout their life. Don’t be afraid to learn new skills and pursue new dreams as they arise.
From time to time, you might realize your career isn’t the main priority in your life. No matter how passionate we are about our work, sometimes our personal lives have to take priority. Accepting this as part of the tides of life will help you find work-life balance as you learn and grow in all aspects of life.
Change is a part of life, which means it should also be a part of our self-care routines!