Ways to take care of yourself when you're doing the multiple job shuffle
It is the nature of the 20-something years to include a certain amount of hustle. You know what I mean, my friends: ‘the hustle’ refers to the practice of working your tail off to get to where you’re determined to go. Sometimes that means waitressing nights and interning days, with little sleep in between. Some of us live at home to save money, though we’re barely there because we’re always on the run from one job to the next. The hustle is varying in nature, but we have pretty much all been there at one time or another. We’ll work while we’re young and sleep when we’re old, right?
Right. Except that after a certain point, you start to get really run down. I mean, I totally get run down. This year I decided to take on both a second job AND an internship. Now my typical week includes being your friendly neighborhood barista in the mornings, and then darting over to a part-time job in a field I’m really interested in for the afternoons. I work weekends and some nights, too. It’s been two months since I’ve had an official day off. It’s an exhausting schedule but I know I’m far from the only one doing it.
I’m determined to succeed, and that means I need stamina to last through this crazy-busy time. I want to do well at all of my jobs, and for that to happen, I need to be okay in the head and the body and everywhere else. Here are a few tactics I’ve developed that help me take care of me while I’m doing the job juggle. Remember, you’ll never be your best self unless you first take care of yourself.
Sleep is your number one friend.
Seriously, gone are the days when I could get by staying up late and crashing after work or class. I have discovered that the true basis to maintaining my sanity is to sleep for eight hours a night, at least. If I get under that, I become a zombie by the end of my 12-hour work days. I sacrifice things like social time in order to get to bed early enough to make it through my hectic life, and that’s okay. Learning how to actually get on a sleep schedule has changed everything. That being said . . .
You still need people friends.
A full month went by without me noticing that I hadn’t had one hangout sesh with friends. Not one. You are a human being and human beings need other human beings. Carving out a sliver of time each week to forget about all the things I have to do and just have a drink with some friends is so helpful for me, and now I try to do it at least once per week. You’ll feel so much more refreshed and supported — it’s definitely worth it.
Food. Food is good.
Food on the go is a challenge, especially when I’m trying to keep it healthy(ish). Figure out what works for you personally and keep a stockpile of easily accessible nutrients on hand for when you’re out the door before you’re even fully awake. Maybe that’s a box of bars in your car, or cutting up fresh fruit a few times a week and putting them in baggies. Do what works for you but make sure to keep it healthy. Junk food is easy to grab but it also leads to an energy crash.
Everyone needs time off. Even you.
You must, must, must take time for you because otherwise you’ll turn into a monster. Like a literal monster. When I work too long without time off my friends call me “T-Bex” (thanks guy). If your schedule really doesn’t allow you one day off per week, my suggestion is to find pockets of time in your week and seize them as free time. You might not be able to get a whole day off, but you can have one afternoon where all your responsibilities fade into the background and you lose yourself in a Netflix haze. Trust me, that’s just as important as the hustle.
You need to be honest with yourself about how many new projects you can take on. I want to juggle everything, but sometimes, I just can’t. This also means being honest with your supervisors and coworkers and making sure that the things you want to do are also things that you have the time to do well. Honesty should also extend to your personal relationships. If you’re anything like me, you may have dropped off the map a little bit. Good friends will understand, but they will have no idea why you’re so M.I.A. unless you tell them.
Remember what you’re working towards.
When I get overwhelmed, I have a hard time seeing the point to how hard I’m working. The truth is, keeping my eye on the prize can be the most difficult thing about this hustle. Maybe write your goals on a piece of paper and store them in a special place, or paste them to your mirror, or just have a little mantra in your head. Returning to your goals will help give your drive a kickstart when you start to get sluggish. Remember, you call the shots, this is your life, and you are the one in charge! Keeping that ownership in mind will do nothing but help. You may be busy, but you’re doing it for you.
Share any of your favorite tips in the comments section!