Three Self-Care Tips for I-O Psychologists

According to the 2020 SIOP Income and Employment Report, I-O psychologists have 26 areas of specialization to choose from. If you’re an I/O geek like me, you love—or at least have an interest) in—many of those areas. Right now, for example, I’m earning a Ph.D., designing and facilitating training programs, conducting assessment debriefs, performing OD interventions, and providing leadership, life, and career coaching.

As you might guess, this work takes a lot out of me, but I never lose sight of what’s most important. It’s not the work I perform, it’s my own wellbeing. If I am not well, I can’t perform. For this reason, I maintain a rigorous self-care routine. Here are three activities that work for me. I hope you find them useful.

Be still.

Many I-O psychologists work across 4-5 interest areas. If that describes you, you might find yourself drained at the end of a workday. If you get to the end of the day and feel like you have “nothing left to give,” consider taking what I call stillness moments throughout the day.

A stillness moment—as the name suggests—is a short break in the middle of your day to help you recuperate. To learn more about the importance of being still, I recommend Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. (I wrote a summary of it here.)

I like to spend my stillness moments in meditation. Apps like Insight Timer and Calm offer a variety of timed and guided meditations.

 “Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.” – Eckhart Tolle

Spend time alone.

Being alone gives you time to think and gain clarity, not only about your life, but about the people who are important to you. Enjoying your own company is essential to having peace in your life. According to research, we need to disconnect from the “busyness of life” so we can recharge. I am a firm believer in having peace, as it is the foundation of what I stand on. Being alone helps me to center my thoughts for peace.  

Perform a self-assessment and ask yourself:

  1. How much time do I spend alone?
  2. Do I enjoy spending time by myself?

“To have passed through life and never experienced solitude is to have never known oneself. To have never known oneself is to have never known anyone.” Joseph Krutch

Keep a journal. 

I have been keeping a journal for years. I find that it forces me to think about what I want from my life. It’s also nice to have a record of my life and what I’ve accomplished to pass down to my family.

If you’re like me, journaling will help you learn about both your flaws and your strengths. I highly recommend Dr. Ben Hardy’s Journal Mastery class. It changed the way I view life.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” — Hal Elrod

I hope you implement one or more of these tips today. Remember, your work is important, but it’s not more important than your wellbeing.

Go live a great life.