Usually when we introduce ourselves in casual settings, we’re answering the question “What do you do?” Parties, showers, BBQs… you name it, it’s the go-to conversation starter. Starting a chat with this topic is helpful as it can be a good icebreaker. On the other hand, it can feed into the stress that occurs when you’re in a career transition. It is often a reminder of how much our career choices are tied to who we are, something very common in U.S. culture.

We identify a lot with our jobs. We spend significant time at them, so it’s no wonder that when in between gigs, job searching, or when starting to network, uncertainty and then anxiety can set in. Whether you’ve left your job by choice or not, if you’re under employed or unhappily employed, all of the above require stress management. In light of this, the word “mindfulness” sneaks up more often in advice pieces as reminders about slowing down and taking better care of ourselves. The other word: “self-care.”

So where do we go with these buzzwords floating around in a hyper-connected world, where we seek out meaning and want productive lives? Below are some suggestions from professionals in and outside the Emerson community with advice on how to integrate self-care into our lives and make it a habit!

Colleen Bradley-MacArthur, Alumna and member of Boston Alumni Network:

  1. Scheduling time for yourself. If I know the week is going to be busy with events, etc. I will block off Saturday night (after my son goes to bed) as reading night or take a bath.
  2. Go to events like Mass Innovation Nights, Boston Content, Creative Mornings or Daybreakr (Daybreakr and Creative Mornings have meetings nationally & internationally) to get inspired. As creatives we’re always looking to our surroundings to be inspired and if we’re always in the office that can get stale. I recommend going to an event and talking to people in all industries. It’s a great way to spot trends in your industry and others.

Elise Harrison, Direct of Emerson College Counseling and Psychological Services

“Take time for yourself, get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, make time for solitude and friends. These are the practices that give you the energy to be creative and effective in your work life.”

“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” -Unknown

It’s important, especially for careers in the arts, entertainment and communication, to know when you need alone time to replenish, but also not alienate yourself from people that want to see you succeed. Surround yourself with positive people, and don’t forget the small things. The simple act of self-care could involve finishing a project at home, or making that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off. It’s not always a trip to the spa!

Some final quotes to leave you with….

“There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That’s what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.”–Garson Kanin

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”–Lily Tomlin

Here’s to slowing down this summer for self care and career success.