Self-Care Tips for Long Hours

In the post I wrote last week on self-care tips, I said that I do believe that there is a place for themed self-care tips. One such themed self-care tip that I have experience in is with working long hours, hence my post for today.

Whether it be for a project in high school or college, or ending up working long evenings because of a job I have, I have some experience in trying to take care of myself through working really long hours in order to get work done.

Note that all of these tips are ones that are not time-consuming by design, not by any stretch.

So, without further adieu, here are my self-care tips for working long hours:

  1. Make sure you take breaks to stretch and stand up. I don’t know about others, but if I spend way too long at a computer, my productivity ends up tanking. However, by standing up and stretching, you give yourself a mini-break to recharge and refuel.
  2. When/if you have a longer break during your workday, try to do something relaxing that is not work related. It might be reading a book, taking a walk, praying (if you’re the religious type), or working on a crossword puzzle, but do something to take a break. Otherwise, you may run the risk of getting burnt out.
  3. Feed yourself. I’m going to put my foot down here—it doesn’t matter how busy you are or how much you “don’t have time” to eat. It’s difficult to work productively on an empty stomach, so eat! And ideally, eat a nutritionally balanced meal, not just a bunch of potato chips and a chocolate bar.
  4. Once you’re done with work for the night, take at least 10-15 minutes before you go to bed to do something relaxing. Speaking from my own experiences, if I don’t do that, I have a hard time sleeping and/or I have nightmares related to the work that I do. There was one time I worked three long days in a row, and by the end of it all I was having work-related nightmares—no fun!
  5. If you anticipate working long hours, do try and make sure you get adequate sleep both before and after your day of working long hours. I understand that this can sometimes be difficult depending on life circumstances, but try to get 7-8 hours of sleep before and after the long day of work you’re anticipating so that you’re well rested for the work you have to do.
  6. If you anticipate working several long days in short succession, and you accumulate time off with your job, consider taking a day off (or even a morning or afternoon off from work) after those long days are over so that you can get some rest. Some jobs result in your accumulating compensatory time off instead of overtime. If that is the case, then consider using some of it in order to get rest after working several long days in short succession.

These are a few of the tips I have for working long hours. If others have additional tips beyond what I have here, please let me know in the comments section below!

A Brief Update From New York City…

I know that on my blog, I am very open about the fact that I am a New Yorker. As such, some readers may be concerned about me, given the act of massive violence that happened today.

I am okay, as I live in a different part of New York City from where this happened. And thankfully, all the friends who I know live in Brooklyn are okay.

Nevertheless, please keep us here in New York in your thoughts, and if you are the praying type, in your prayers. Hopefully the suspect can be found so that we don’t have to worry about further violence from the person who caused it.

On Self-Care Tips

Some time ago, I wrote a post on how self-care is not selfish. I still believe that to be the case.

However, one major thing I’ve noticed is that some of the commonly offered tips are ones that some people cannot follow/carry out because of life circumstances. In other words, some (Many?) of the tips I see are not accessible to many, if not most, of us.

For example, here are a few common self-care tips and how they may not be practical for certain groups of people:

  1. Mental health days. Some self-care calls for mental health days, or days that people take off from certain things in order to care for themselves. A “mental health day” is something that many aren’t able to do because work schedules don’t allow for that.
  2. Bubble baths. Some self-care tips call for bubble baths in order to help relax oneself. However, some people don’t have time to make a quality bubble bath after a long day. And even for those who have the time, not every home or apartment has the tub that allows one to take a bubble bath.
  3. Walks. Taking a walk (a part of my self-care routine) is not possible in many parts of the United States and world because of a lack of sidewalks and places to walk.
  4. Massages. Much like with bubble baths, the idea of getting a massage is as a means of relaxing oneself. However, getting a massage costs money that many people do not have.
  5. Unplugging from technology. This is a really well-intended self-care tip, as for some of us technology of certain kinds (especially social media, I am finding) can have a toll on some of our mental health. That being said, I know people who work in jobs where unplugging from technology, which is what some self-care lists call for, is not possible.
  6. Therapy. A lot of people cannot afford therapy, even if a therapist might be helpful for certain people in certain circumstances.

Note that I am not saying that these tips are bad per se; for some people, these tips may be quite good. However, advocates of self-care need to recognize that certain tips may not work for everyone, and that circumstances in one’s life may keep one from implementing certain self-care tips.

What should one do with self-care tips when reading them, then? And what should one do when suggesting self-care tips to individual people?

If you’re reading self-care tips, my answer is that no matter what the author says, don’t feel badly if there are some elements of self-care that are absolutely impossible to work into your life right now. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to follow certain self-care tips.

As for those who suggest self-care tips to individual people, I recommend just being sensitive to the fact that life circumstances may keep people from following certain tips you recommend. That doesn’t make either you or the person you’re suggesting the tips to bad people—it is just a fact of life that not everything works for everyone.

One final, but relevant, note I’ll make is that there is a place for themed self-care tips. I think there need to be posts on self-care for new dads, self-care for those with long hours, self-care for essential medical workers during COVID, and more. Sometimes, the best self-care tips are from those experiencing circumstances in life similar to yours. I will hold up to my end of the bargain by writing a self-care post next week on self-care tips for working long hours, because I’ve been there before.

I am not critical of the idea of self-care recommendations; to the contrary, they are needed and great. However, it is important to remember that not everything works for everyone.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 7, 2022

I hope that all of my readers are safe, regardless of where you are.

I had a close brush with COVID-19 last week when I learned that I came into contact with someone who tested positive. Things were therefore a bit nervy for a few days because of worries that I would test positive, and in the process inconvenience both my own life and that of my immediate family. Thankfully, my tests have come back negative, so somehow, some way, I remain COVID-free. While I know I have taken a more cautious approach to the pandemic than many, it still remains somewhat of a mystery to me how I have been able to remain COVID-free to this point. Regardless, I am grateful that at least for now, I have dodged this virus.

Where I live, which is New York City, is seeing the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant spreading. This is happening after we experienced some rapid declines in case counts between mid-January and mid-February, as the Omicron surge was subsiding. I don’t know if it’s time to panic quite yet, especially as it seems like there is a lot yet to learn about this subvariant. However, with medical experts continuing to urge vaccinations as the best way to protect yourself against BA.2,[1] it is rather unfortunate that my city exempted certain groups of people (local performers and athletes) from workplace vaccine requirements. After all, all this policy seems to have done as far as I can tell is muddle messaging around how important vaccinations are and empower the anti-vaccine crowd–the last things we need at a time when we need more people getting vaccine shots and boosters.

Speaking of certain requirements being loosened, a part of me wonders how much this increase is due to how transmissible BA.2 is and how much the increase has been due to the loosening of certain restrictions in recent weeks. As I reported in my COVID update post at the beginning of last month, some pandemic restrictions were being loosened here in New York City, so I can’t help but wonder if we’re now seeing the results of letting go of the pandemic before the pandemic is letting go of us.[2]

Those are the updates from my little corner of the world. As always, I welcome updates from others!


[1] https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-omicron

[2] Here’s my COVID update post from last month: https://blindinjusticeblog.com/2022/03/03/coronavirus-update-from-new-york-city-march-3-2022/

Dear Congress, You Needed to Pass Funding for Pandemic Relief…Last Week

Note to readers: This post is going to be unlike any other blog post I’ve ever done, in that this is going to be written like a letter, namely, an open letter to Congress. I hope this open letter will inspire others who care about the issue I am writing about to think about this further, and perhaps write letters to their own congressional representatives about the issue I write on here.

Additionally, I will add that there are reports that Congress has agreed to a deal on this. To my knowledge, the deal hasn’t passed yet so I decided to still publish tonight’s post.

Dear Congress,

Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be tempting to throw in the towel and say that the pandemic is over, endemic, or not a big deal. But not one of those three things is a reality yet. As of the time I’m writing this, the pandemic is still taking the lives of over 600 Americans a day, meaning that we are losing thousands a week to this virus. I remember when America grieved over 1,000 troops and then 2,000 troops lost in the Iraq War. We are losing that number of Americans to the pandemic every 2-3 days.

Worse yet, there are parts of the United States, including where I live in New York City, where the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant is spreading.

During a time like this, a time when we may need to prepare for another wave of this pandemic (regrettably, as I’m tired of the pandemic too), we should be doubling down on three basic public health measures we’ve been pushing for many months: testing, tracing, and vaccinating.

And yet, because of your inability to do your jobs as public servants—serving the public, first and foremost—you have put this into doubt for uninsured Americans.

Also, just on a semi-random tangent: the fact that the phrase “uninsured Americans” exists is an indictment on Congress’s ability to give even the most basic of safety nets to people who might not otherwise have a safety net. That’s before we even start talking about all the Americans who are underinsured, as well as Americans with insurance companies that lack any sort of generosity or compassion with the benefits they give out.

Because you failed to do your jobs, COVID tests for uninsured patients are no longer free, even if they have COVID symptoms. How can people test or trace when they struggle to pay out of pocket for health care? Millions of Americans don’t have the money to make such a choice, and as a result have to resort to rapid tests that aren’t quite as accurate but still require a certain amount of money to buy them. Because of your inability to do your jobs, the public health strategy of testing and tracing has been put in danger in at least some parts of the United States.

Then there is the free funding for vaccines for those who are uninsured. Funding is supposed to run out for that this week. By not ensuring funding for this, especially at a time when we are urging people to get boosted and others fifty and older to get their second boosters, Congress is essentially taking an anti-vaxxer posture, or at least an anti-vaxxer posture for the uninsured. Let us be clear—not ensuring funding for COVID vaccines for the uninsured is an anti-vax policy, period.

And then there are all the other things in danger as a result of your irresponsibility: the curtailing of a relief fund that has allowed hospitals to treat uninsured COVID patients,[1] the potential running out of monoclonal antibodies by June,[2] and more.

I read that Republicans in Congress want “a more detailed accounting of where previous COVID-19 funding has gone.”[3] One can debate over whether there is a need for this detailed accounting, but regardless, said accounting should not keep those who are uninsured from access to things like vaccines and tests. However, one detailed accounting we really need is how we are going to prevent people from dying when we are pursuing a strategy of cutting off funding for things that help people live.

We need funding for COVID treatment, and we needed it last week. Congress needs to act.

Sincerely,

Grumpy from New York City


[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/03/29/1089355997/free-covid-tests-and-treatments-no-longer-free-for-uninsured-as-funding-runs-out

[2] https://www.newsweek.com/monoclonal-antibodies-could-run-out-june-without-more-funds-psaki-warns-1688318

[3] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/03/29/1089355997/free-covid-tests-and-treatments-no-longer-free-for-uninsured-as-funding-runs-out