Whether you are a student or professional, COVID-19 has likely affected your schedule in one way or another. Some of us have been working from home long before the beginning of last Spring, while others have had to switch to the somewhat unconventional routine. Coming from someone who has experienced both university-level online learning and working remotely from home, it’s not surprising that I’ve had my fair share of burnouts and blue light induced stress. I had to realize very quickly that I would need to practice self-regulation in order to keep my overall health a top priority in this new working environment.

What is self-regulation? Self-regulation is the ability to positively manage and monitor your own emotional and behavioral energy. Self-regulating strategies are what we use to deal with stressors that can affect our overall well-being and the way we deal with or act in different situations. Stressors can be split up into two different categories; physical and psychological. Anything that puts a strain on our physical bodies, like temperature, injuries or an uncomfortable office chair are all stressors that can physically put your body into a tense state, which can then make you more susceptible to psychological stressors. Psychological stressors can be identified as things like situations, comments or events that negatively affect your mental state and inner voice. Letting any type of stressor continue to affect you without any type of self-regulating strategies will likely result in some type of emotional or physical burnout. 

The first step when learning to self-regulate is identifying what ways will be most beneficial to you in restoring your energy and promoting long-lasting self-regulation. Everyone self-regulates differently. It all depends on what you find enjoyable!

Below are some ways that you can practice self-regulation throughout your day:

Physical Activity: Taking some time out of your day to go for a walk, stretch, workout, whatever motivates you at the time, as long as you’re able to get away from your screen for a little while and move your body!

Getting Creative: Allowing yourself to create something that is for your own pleasure! Cooking a delicious meal, painting a picture, or writing just for the sake of it. These types of activities are usually at the bottom of our lists and never seem to be very important until we actually do them and remember how much we enjoy them!

Small Moments: I find taking small moments throughout my day to be the most beneficial for my own self-regulation. These moments can include taking a 10-minute break to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, listening to music (try our new BE CALM playlist), or even sitting down for a short meditation. 

Your ideal self-regulation activities may not look like the ones above, but as long as they are activities or tools that you can use to restore your energy and promote a healthy work-life balance then you’ve got the right idea!

Articles and blogs for more information on self-regulation and work-life balance:

Overcoming Burnout

The Importance of Time Off

The Importance of Scheduling Personal Time

What is Self-Regulation?

Try these tools or apps that could assist you in self-regulation: