There’s no better time than the holidays for you as a professional communicator to pause, reflect on the year about to end and give yourself one of the following presents of self-care. The elves of SKAR assembled them from tips in business publications. We think you’ll not only enjoy them, you’ll find they help you achieve more in 2018.

Declutter Your Desk and Your Life

You already knew a messy desk scatters your attention. But it gets worse. According to a study from Princeton University, physical clutter wears down your mental resources and limits how well your brain processes information. Each piece of paper symbolizes a task, so just looking over a big pile of paper erodes your mind’s ability to focus on your most important projects.

Simplify by thinning out your paperwork. Organize projects, notes and self-reminders in computer files where you can find them but don’t have to see them constantly. Multitasking is a productivity killer – focus on one thing at a time and either see it through to its finish or file it and designate a time to complete it.

Get a Head Start Every Day

Change your schedule to awaken earlier every day. This will allow you time to exercise and eat a good breakfast, both of which have well-known health benefits. In addition, it will give you time to wake up thoroughly and prepare yourself mentally for your day ahead, rather than just rushing headlong from one appointment or activity to another. You’ll appreciate the chance to collect your thoughts.

Try Meditation

Never mind the hard-to-define spiritual or emotional benefits of meditation. Look at these physiological effects as documented in studies:

  • A Yale study found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the so-called “monkey mind” network, which is responsible for mind-wandering and worrying about the past and future.
  • A Johns Hopkins study found that mindfulness meditation could reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain just as well as antidepressants.
  • A UCLA study found that as long-term meditators aged, their brains were better preserved, with less loss of volume, than the brains of participants who didn’t meditate. The better-preserved regions were located throughout the brain.
  • Another study showed that a couple of weeks of meditation training improved students’ focus and memory on Graduate Record Examinations.

You can learn how to meditate online or in a class, then try it in the morning, evening or both. Research says even short sessions can pay off.

Set Healthy Boundaries

If you’re bugged by toxic co-workers – complainers, gossips, other negative types – you have the right to maintain a space between them and yourself. If they approach you, tell them you’re busy and turn back to your computer. Decline invitations to go out for lunch or for a drink after hours.

Boundaries matter, according to a therapist who focuses on workplace mental health: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Give yourself the space you need.

Do Something You Thought You Couldn’t

Nothing’s as exhilarating as an achievement outside your comfort zone. Way outside. It could be climbing a mountain, giving a keynote speech at a convention or visiting Easter Island. The key is, you have to decide what it is.

Your accomplishment will be worth every ounce of sacrifice and effort. You will have more confidence and will carry that triumph with you forever.


At SKAR we wish our clients, colleagues and friends a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2018.

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