Ah, the digital nomad life. Here you are, finally living your dream life as a virtual assistant, helping your clients manage their online businesses while also having the freedom to do the work wherever you are in the world.
Scheduling social media posts while sipping on your oat milk latte at your favorite café… Working on a new blog post while sprawled on a lounge chair on the beach… Answering emails while lying in a hammock at the park… Or even editing your client’s latest podcast episode at home, cozy in your PJs, sitting side by side with your kids who are busy with their homeschooling.
Sounds like a dream, right? These are all possible scenarios in the virtual assistant life.
But hey, let’s be honest, the work from home life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies all the time.
Just like many other jobs out there, being a virtual assistant has its challenges. And it’s crucial for VAs to establish a self-care routine to help themselves overcome these challenges without burning out.
Why Having a Good Self-Care Routine is Essential
The beauty of a virtual assistant job is that your tasks are things that can be done anywhere, anytime.
While most people work their 9-to-5 jobs, one of the many perks of being a virtual assistant is that you have the freedom to create your schedule and work at a time that is best for you.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Sometimes, having all that freedom also means that the line between our work life and personal life can get blurry. We don’t have to clock in and clock out as most people do, so it can be easy to lose ourselves in the grind.
If this sounds familiar, then listen up. Yes, we live in a time of boss babes who know how to hustle like nobody’s business, but here’s a truth bomb for you – hustling nonstop is NOT sustainable.
It is SO important to keep your mental health in check for your well-being and your productivity as a VA. Having a good self-care routine can reduce stress and boost your productivity at work.
Here are my top 10 self-care tips to help you keep rocking your virtual assistant biz without burning yourself out!
1. Set Your Work Hours (and Make Sure You Honor Them!)
Schedule clear work hours when you can be most productive and stick to it. This can either be a few hours in the morning and then later again at night, or early afternoon to late evening. It’s really up to you!
Having the flexibility to set your own hours is one of the best things about being your own boss. This also makes it easier to know when it’s time to “switch off” from work mode.
2. Start Journaling
Take the time to do a brain dump at the beginning or end of the day. Journaling is an incredible way to clear our heads from all of the mental clutter.
You know what it feels like to have all those opened tabs on your computer, right? Think of journaling as a way to exit out of those opened tabs in your brain.
Writing all of your thoughts at the beginning of the day can make it easier for you to reduce stress and prioritize tasks. If you decide to journal at night, this can also help your brain detox the day, quiet down, and allow you to have some solid sleep. You can start the next morning re-energized and ready to tackle that to-do list again!
3. Move Your Body
Find ways to incorporate movement and exercise into your daily routine. Go for a run, have a quick dance party, or squeeze in some yoga in between tasks.
Sitting in front of your laptop all day can wreak all kinds of havoc on your body, so making sure that you get up and stretch every hour or so should be your bare minimum. Moving your body can also help you to refocus on the day ahead. Trust me. Your body will thank you for it.
4. Invest in Your Workspace
Create a workspace that fosters productivity and focus, wherever that might be. For my virtual assistants who work from home, try to carve out some space where you can work distraction-free.
Invest in things that would make your home office a space that you love being in. You can do this by treating yourself to a fancy ergonomic chair or maybe even a standing desk so you can avoid sitting all day long. You could even add something small that will brighten up your space like a houseplant or two. I LOVE me some houseplants!
The bottom line is, you need to love the space you work in. Let your workspace inspire you.
Remember that as virtual assistants, we do most of our work on a computer, so you want to make sure yours is set up in a way that won’t be detrimental to your body in the long run.
5. Change up Your Work Setting Every Once in Awhile
Switching up your workspace location can bring fresh energy to your productivity. The beauty of the laptop life is that you literally can bring your laptop (and your work!) anywhere, so take advantage of that perk.
It may be tricky now with COVID-19, but even changing your workspace at home can be just as effective. Instead of being in your office or bedroom, try to do some work in the backyard, balcony, or maybe in a public park with WiFi.
Studies show that spending time in nature helps ease anxiety. So, get outdoors whenever you can. A little change can go a long way for some new found inspiration!
6. Soak Up Some Sun!
Never underestimate the power of sunshine and Vitamin D. Try to work in a spot where you can soak up some sun!
Working at a café? Park yourself by the sunny window.
Working from home? Maybe schedule in an hour where you can work on your porch when it’s sunny out.
Sunlight can trigger the release of serotonin, our body’s feel-good hormones, which also helps make us feel calmer and more focused. So whenever you can, take advantage of this natural mood enhancer.
7. Find Your Tribe
Work from home life can get lonely sometimes if I’m completely honest. So make sure you build yourself a network of people that you can interact with that are on the same journey as you.
A huge part of 90-Day VA is the AMAZING online community of women (and men!) in this together. It’s a great place for both newer and more experienced virtual assistants to network, ask questions, and give each other feedback on their work. I also have my FREE Facebook Group where you can connect with others looking to live a life on their own terms!
Networking is the best way to find your tribe. You might even be able to connect with other VAs in your area. Who knows? You could also find your new best friend!
The next time you head to a café for the day to do some work, invite your new work bestie and GET SHIZ DONE.
Bonus! Working alongside other boss babes can help motivate you, too!
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
This is another great reason why you need your tribe. You have to recognize when your workload is more than you can handle. There is no shame in acknowledging your limits. You’re a human being, not a robot.
When too much work is feeling like too much trouble, take a second to breathe. Talk it out with your clients and see if you can make some adjustments to lighten the workload.
Another option would be to subcontract some of that work to another VA. All that networking you did will finally pay off! Now, you can hire another virtual assistant to take over a particular task or project for you for a percentage of what you make. This here can even be the beginning of growing your virtual assistant agency, too!
9. Unplug. Switch Off.
Go offline regularly. I get that social media is pretty much our life as a virtual assistant, but you still need to take a break.
As virtual assistants, we spend SO much time online. Remember, the Internet is your workplace, and you do have to “clock out” at the end of the day, too. That means turning off the Internet and signing off social media, and you do need to be very intentional about it.
Try to schedule a screen-free day in your week—a day, when you don’t open any of your social media apps or hop on the computer. Avoid the temptation! Because let’s face it, those things are little rabbit holes that can quickly suck the hours out of our day.
So trust me, having one day to be disconnected entirely is going to do wonders for your mind, body, and soul. Use that day to read a book, work on a puzzle, paint, bake – whatever makes you happy!
10. Take a Break
You’d be surprised at how many people forget to take breaks. And when I say, take a break, I mean, take the quick breaks, and the long breaks.
Take a quick break to drink your coffee. Take a screen break so your eyes can rest. Side note – Did you know that too much blue light from screens can cause a lot of strain? So, you want to make sure you’re doing this regularly.
Don’t forget to take the long breaks, too. Schedule a few days off to travel, rest, relax and recharge.
You put in the hard work and at some point, you need to TREAT YO’ SELF.
Travel life may be on hold for now, but you can still find ways to reward yourself. You work hard my friend, allow yourself to take a break.
Self-care isn’t a luxury… it’s a necessity, especially if you want to keep killing it as a VA. Start implementing these things into your life, and I promise you, you’ll start to see a massive difference in your productivity, but more importantly, in your well-being.
A life with much less anxiety and stress sounds good to all of us, right? Always remember to love yourself and be kind to yourself. Honor your boundaries. Find your balance.
If you want to find your tribe and surround yourself with other AWESOME men and women living the virtual assistant life, consider joining our 90 Day VA community.
You can get started with my FREE class. Open enrollment begins next month! I hope to see you there!
Kristina Irene Gurango is a blogger and virtual assistant with a heart for wellness and environmental sustainability.
She started her VA business to provide support for eco-minded entrepreneurs and small businesses in the health and wellness industry.
When she isn’t working on her projects, she is most likely cooking up some plant-based deliciousness, reading to her kids, doing yoga, or squeezing in some self-care wherever she can in her life as a homeschooling mama to four.
She’s a member of the 90 Day VA and specializes in content creation and social media management. Connect with her through Instagram here.