5 Rituals of Self-Care for Productivity


It is another dreadful Monday morning for some, but not for me. I am involved in several projects career-wise and to stay alive, I have come to the realization that staying awake until the wee hours in the morning to review a report due for submission, then slamming a shot of Nespresso to counter-attack my lack of sleep, and finally heading in to work hungry and drained were all going to annihilate me.


For the past three weeks, I have been going to bed right around midnight, enjoying my healthy breakfast of goat cheese, fig, and prosciutto omelette and my Green Smoothie quietly while practicing Italian, and diving into my tasks for the day with composure. There is nothing quite like a graceful morning to propel me to eagerly apply my vision into my work.

It is so easy to get sucked in the dangerous trend of overworking, and then wondering why we are not getting the results we are looking for. The truth is, results don’t come through hours spent. Great results often arrive by doing less and working smarter.

Mike Del Ponte, founder and Chief Hydration Officer for Soma, which aims to revolutionize the water industry using sustainable design revealed his secret in his Kickstarter campaign interview, “every day I need physical energy, mental clarity, and emotional balance to tackle everything that comes my way. Self-care is the secret to performing at the highest level.”

Here are my personal five rituals for self-care:


1)    I drink a glass or two of lukewarm water with lemon slices, cucumber, and mint when I wake up. Our bodies lose water while we sleep and become naturally dehydrated in the morning. Although citrus fruits are naturally acidic, citric acid metabolized by our bodies actually help alkalize our system; cucumbers are simply refreshing; and although I loathe mint with anything dairy, I love the flavor it gives my water. 


2)    I define my top three most important tasks to accomplish for the day. They can be professional, personal, or a combination of both, but I prioritize my day according to these tasks, and I do not sleep until they are completed.  

Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D. | "50 Ways to Take a Break, and the Essential First Step of Remembering"

Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D. | "50 Ways to Take a Break, and the Essential First Step of Remembering"

3)    I take mini-breaks during the day. I try to spend several minutes every hour catching up on WhatsApp group conversations with my family, Snapchatting with my best friend, or updating my Pinterest boards. These little pauses spark my creativity and productivity like no other. Especially when I am going through a tedious task, I am able to step away from the dilemma and then go back to it with a new perspective.

Alesja Popova | "Wings" 

Alesja Popova | "Wings" 

4)    I move daily. I am firm believer that regular movement keeps us healthy and alert, plus it boosts energy and mood, and relieves stress. My exercises of choice include cycle classes, high intensity interval training, and weight lifting.


5)    I put my mobile on good night mode, unplug, and bring closure to my day by reflecting. For the longest time, I have been reading Buzzfeed articles on my iPhone to fall asleep. To my dismay, I ended up sleeping later and later because I am naturally a curious person and so I end up amassing more information and brain power than I intend to. I have actively chosen to power down, meditate on what was great and what I can improve, what I can do away with and what I am blessed to have. 

What about you? What are your top 5 rituals of self-care?