Yuyan Wang’s Self-Care Routine: “Pushing too much is actually counterproductive.”

Yuyan Wang is the co-founder at, which provides high order decision-making support tools for executives in charge of complex portfolios.

Learn about the daily routines of some of the most successful people in the world. Sign up to our newsletter today & receive a free gift that will help you achieve your goals!

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care is about trusting my gut on when to stop pushing. Being previously a management consultant and now a founder, working long hours is my ‘normal’. I’m definitely running on adrenaline a lot, particularly around milestones, which is needed. But normal doesn’t mean it’s right all the time.

For me, self-care is about having the courage to call it a day, removing myself from ‘what must be done’ and distracting myself with something else. Pushing too much is actually counterproductive and you end up burning yourself out.

It’s also good to recognise that when it feels ‘too hard’, having a change of scenery can help to avoid rabbit holes and to think outside the box. It doesn’t count though if you stop the doing but not the thinking or worrying – that will only make things worse.

How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?

It’s when I don’t have a clear view of what’s important and start going around in circles instead. To me, stress and burnout don’t mean being tired. I can work a lot and feel physically exhausted but mentally stimulated in a good way (still not recommended).

Stress is usually caused by a lack of direction – not knowing how to get to the results I want. Recognising that stress is a feeling that I have some control over, taking action can help reduce stress, e.g. get into a calmer mind, take a stocktake on the potential options, get others to help, test things out, etc.

Burnout is when you’re forced to get to an answer even when there may not be one, and you end up hitting brick wall after brick wall. It causes mental trauma that could be irreversible and is much harder to recognise as it may seem to be outside your control. Depending on where the ‘force’ comes from (yourself, your boss, unrealistic expectations), confronting it is important to regain control and break the downward spiral.

Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like

To me, self-care is achieved through taking control over what I do and how I feel, so flexibility is important. For example, I may exercise 4 hours a week, but this doesn’t mean I have to go for 30 mins everyday at a set time; this doesn’t always work with my schedule and may make me either rush through things or feel bad for not doing it.

Instead, as long as I exercise more than 4 hours a week, it doesn’t actually matter when I do it. Some may argue this is not optimal and would take more discipline, but balancing everything else, this puts me at ease because I have more control and flexibility to move things around and make it work for me.

For others, what may work better is routine, e.g. I know people who send themselves a calendar invite to have a power nap.

What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?

Working in a toxic environment is a killer to self-care because it’s hard to distinguish between pushing for excellence versus pushing for the sake of pushing. Pushing for excellence helps build resilience and grid – it’s for a clear outcome and you’re not in it alone or feeling hopeless.

Pushing for the sake of it is more for ego building and abusing people’s insecurity – this is when you need to get out of it because there isn’t a longer term game. It will take some time to recover from the lack of self-care – for me, it’s about building confidence in my own ability to control the situation and call things out, as well as surrounding myself with people who care.

What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?

Inviting others to my self-care practice and creating positive reinforcement – which could be as simple as going for a walk together.

Building up and relying on my own mental strength is good but the positive energy can also be amplified with others. It’s also good to create a circle of influence that helps others build awareness and have access to a support network.

Before you go…

Self-Care is a content series exploring the different self-care routines and habits of people from all walks of life. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to talk about your self-care routine.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.