Becky Amon is the Senior Digital Media Manager at digital marketing agency Paper + Spark and the 2022 AMI Emerging Marketer of the Year.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self care for me means balancing the difficult/stressful parts of work and life with the things that bring me joy and recharge my physical and mental batteries. Self care doesn’t mean being perfect, it just means trying my best. Approaching self care in this way helps me to not be too hard on myself when things don’t go to plan, and gives me more freedom to be flexible (and therefore resilient!).
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
There’s a gradient of signals that my body gives me – from the very subtle, to the more obvious. I’m trying to get better at noticing the subtle signs so I can take action before I start to feel too overwhelmed!
Subtle signs include being a bit more irritable, being tired or finding It a little more difficult to focus on tasks. As stress builds up, I might experience more obvious physical symptoms like uneasy feelings in my stomach, tapping my legs subconsciously, or being extra sensitive to loud or sudden sounds.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
I do, but it’s not super rigid. I see a lot of people’s self care routines looking like a very strict ‘timetable’ and that just makes me even more anxious! Instead, my approach to a self care plan is more general, and applies more to a week as a whole than a daily routine. This gives me flexibility to choose what I feel I need on any given day, and better sets me up to be resilient when plans change.
I try to get to the gym 3-4 times a week, get 8 hours of sleep every night, clock off work at reasonable hours when I can and create a ‘third space’ between work and home. Since I work from home 3 days a week, this third space sometimes looks like going to the gym straight after I finish work as a signal to myself that the work day is done, or taking a walk outside with my dog.
My weekly routine also involves ensuring I make time for my friends and family, as well as time to be alone and recharge.
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
Committing to too much, which I think stems from my tendency to people-please. While I do think this is a good trait of mine, it’s both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I commit to too much and this can mean I don’t have time for the gym, seeing friends, down time, or getting enough sleep.
To get back on track, I try to break bigger or difficult tasks into smaller chunks and tackle them a piece at a time, rewarding myself after finishing each section (even if it’s just with a 5 min walk and stretch). I also try to set strong boundaries around things I commit to, like not working too far out of hours (where possible) and being transparent about realistic and fair deliverables.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas, or tools for self-care?
I’m big on podcasts for self care! I listen to podcasts while I’m driving, on the train, at the gym, cooking or doing something crafty at home. Some of the podcasts I listen to are focussed on self care (e.g. Nothing Much Happens – this is a good one before bed) but others are the background to my self care practices, and help take my mind off anything that’s causing me stress. Some favourites are You’re Wrong About, Ologies with Alie Ward, and Shameless.
What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?
I do think I need to work on noticing the early, subtle signs of stress/burn out more quickly, so that I can take action before things get too overwhelming or start to manifest in more uncomfortable physical symptoms. Therapy is helping me with this greatly – destigmatize seeing a therapist!
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