by Alisha Ramos, founder at GNI

Presented in partnership with Everlane, featuring the new Day Boot.

As a self-employed person and founder of a growing biz, it’s a tough balance to be productive while also making sure that work doesn’t completely take over my life.

The good news is that as I’m working on Girls’ Night In, our community and mission is a built-in reminder that finding moments of comfort and calm can be just as important as taking big meetings and tackling my inbox. Work without balance is simply unsustainable. No matter how passionate you are about your work, you’ll ultimately burn out if you don’t carve out time for self-care.

When times get hectic (as they have been lately), I have to push against my instinct to go full-on “desk mode” and remind myself to go for a walk, breathe some fresh air, and surround myself with what makes me happy (hint: it’s usually my dog, Bowie). Here are five simple and practical ways I do that in my day-to-day, that I hope will help any other busy bees out there, too.

Work without balance is simply unsustainable. No matter how passionate you are about your work, you'll ultimately burn out if you don't carve out time for self-care.

1. Make Time for Morning Mindfulness

GNI.Everlane.AnnaMeyer (40 of 78)-min.jpg Wearing: Everlane sweater and Day Boot.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the past year is how important it is to block off a portion of my morning for a mindful activity, usually away from a screen. Some days I’ll go for a morning jog with my pup or take the long way to my first meeting. These routines ensure that I’m taking a few minutes to disconnect and mentally prepare for the day.

Today, I’m spending my morning making three lists: my goals, to-dos, and intentions for the week. For example, my intention for this week (and actually, the past few weeks), has been to “Work and interact from a place of abundance, not scarcity.” Even if I only spend ten minutes writing these things down, they help guide me through long and stressful days. Pro-tip: I always include the most simple and mundane tasks on my to-do list because it feels good to able to cross items off quickly and easily. Then, I’m more motivated to tackle the tougher items too.

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2. Find an Excuse to Get Up and Get Moving

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A few months ago, I brought Bowie home and to say life’s been different since would be a real understatement! Taking care of a puppy has been such a lesson in perspective, particularly when it comes to self-care and breaking the cycle of “being super busy.” Before I became a dog mom, I’d find myself insisting I was too busy for breaks throughout the day. What I’ve learned since getting Bowie, though, is that “busy” is a mental choice we make. Being forced to take intermittent walks outside with him makes me realize that more times than not, I can structure my day to include breaks to get moving. It’s important to Bowie, and it’s become crucial to my own self-care routine and productivity, too.

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3. Stop and Smell the Succulents

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Another favorite ritual I’ve discovered recently is buying flowers or plants for myself just because. In the midst of some of my most chaotic weeks, they’ve been a necessary and beautiful treat to see in my workspace or my apartment. It feels like a trick, squeezing so much joy from something so small – but I know that I’m happier when I’m working in the presence of some plant life, so it’s well worth it.

Pro-tip: Two table-top plants I love that are fairly easy to care for (trust me, I’m a bona fide plant killer), are the snake plant and the philodendron which has lovely, tumbling leaves.

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4. Get Literary and Stop Time With a Book

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This month, our #GNIReads book club pick is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I love seeing our community come together every month to explore all the thoughts, feelings, and critiques that are consuming us by the end of the book. A more underrated perk of book club, though, is the lead-up to the event – picking the book, then savoring it throughout the month. I can safely say that I’ve read more books in the past year than I have ever before in recent years! Knowing there’s a lively discussion waiting for me at the end of it has made me a more mindful and consistent reader. While my favorite place to read is still probably my bed (it’s called Girls’ Night In for reason ;)), I’ve found myself using my book club books as an excuse to find new perches, from neighborhood shops to cozy spots in the grass just blocks from my apartment.

5. Find Productivity in Peace

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It’s not always easy, but making time to find calm and comfort throughout my day can sometimes be the most vital part of my self-care routine. Over the past year, I’ve seen that manifest in big decisions, like getting a dog, and smaller ones, like making a greater effort to journal. When I give myself the time to rest, recharge, and do the things I enjoy, I’m able to be more effective at bringing all aspects of Girls’ Night In to life.

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What are your tips and tricks for squeezing in moments of calm during your busiest days? Leave a comment below to share with us.

Outfit details:

This piece is sponsored by Everlane. Shop the newly launched Day Boot here.

Photography by Anna Meyer Photo.