Many people mistakenly believe that being an executive assistant (EA) or personal assistant (PA) is easy. Some may think that all they do is answer phones and greet visitors as they come in, however, their tasks involve so much more than that. Indeed, while it sounds like an easy job on the surface, the reality is that becoming an EA or PA takes a lot of hard work, skill, and determination.

Put simply, executive assistants are in charge of doing whatever it takes to ensure that their CEO or executive can function at their best at all times. This often means putting in long hours and functioning at a high level keeping up with someone else’s relentless pace, making it one of the more stressful jobs one can have. What makes it even harder is that crumbling under the stress is not an option, so EAs and PAs have to do what they can to see things through.

Given all of these factors, these are jobs that can be difficult to decompress from. So, if you happen to be an EA or PA who’s struggling to keep up with the demands of the job, know that your time and wellness matters too. Hence, it is important that you prioritise your needs to keep yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. That being said, here are a few tips on how to practice self-care as an executive or personal assistant:

In the Office

Take Time Out for Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises are an essential component of many forms of meditation. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to clear your head, reset yourself, and loosen tense muscles.

To carry these out, all you have to do is breathe in slowly through your nose until you’ve filled your lungs completely. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth. To maximise the effect, try to repeat the process at least five to ten times. You can also use an app to do guided deep breathing or meditation.

Tidy Up Your Workstation

You may not know it yet, but the state of your surroundings does have an effect on your mood. In fact, your messy workspace may be a reflection of the current state of your mind or the culmination of a lengthy period of neglect.

Either way, few things will lift your spirits the same way that tidying up can. Truly, you may be surprised at how much better you’ll feel after a bit of organisation.

Have a Good Lunch

Having a good lunch involves more than just choosing whole foods instead of processed ones. This also means finding the right environment to enjoy your meal. So, whenever you can, try spending your lunch break away from your desk so that you can clear your head. That way, you can properly refuel and re-energise before heading back to work.

You can also use your lunch break for a moment of mindfulness, wherein you focus on the act of eating as a sort of meditation in itself. This can help reduce your stress, especially if you have taxing things to do for the latter half of the day.

Out of the Office

Fit Exercise into Your Routine

The benefits of using exercise to manage symptoms of stress and minimise anxiety have also been well-documented. When you work out, your brain produces happiness-inducing neurotransmitters called endorphins into your bloodstream.

Virtually any kind of physical activity counts. You can go for ones that get your heart-pumping, such as running and dancing. Alternatively, you can focus on exercises that help you to centre your focus, including Pilates and yoga.

Start Eating Better

Numerous studies have shown time and time again how a diet of mostly processed foods can be detrimental to your health. Conversely, research supports the benefits of eating whole and natural foods not only for your physical health but for your mental and emotional wellbeing as well.

If you find yourself feeling more stressed and irritable than usual, think about what type of food you’ve been consuming. Then, make adjustments as necessary. Instead of snacking on crisps, for example, try eating nuts and whole grains during the day instead. You can also limit or eliminate sugary drinks and stick to plain water at work.

Get Enough Sleep

The effects of sleep deprivation may not be as obvious at first, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less dangerous. In addition to negatively affecting your memory and mood, sleep deprivation weakens the immune system. This increases your risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.

To improve your sleep quality, aim to get between six to ten hours of sleep each night. You can also try to go to bed at the same time consistently.

Life as an EA or PA may be hard. But with these self-care tips, you can empower yourself and lighten the load on your own shoulders. When things get difficult, don’t be too hard on yourself. Feeling empowered to doing your job well as well as being mindful to not taking on more than you can handle, you should thrive in this job for years to come.