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4 min read

4 self-care workflows to get through hard times

By Krystina Martinez · August 5, 2020
Hero image of a woman and a young girl laughing on a couch, sitting cross-legged with their hands in meditating position

You're doing your best to fight burnout amid working from home, caring for children, worrying about personal finances, and trying to stay safe and healthy. And of course there's the fight against systemic racism around the world. So even with all the productivity and remote work tricks, let's face it, we're tired.

At a minimum, it's tough to feel joy with friends and family at a distance and your routine disrupted. Or maybe you've been severely affected financially and you're worried about survival. And if you're a BIPOC professional, you've been exhausted.

This article isn't about tricks or hacks for fighting pandemic burnout, because frankly, this is uncharted territory. (I'll be honest, dear reader. I just laid down on the floor a few minutes ago.)

Instead, here are some automated workflows—which we call Zaps— to inject joy into your day when you feel like you have very little of it. You might not be in the mood to exude sunshine, so let automation take care of that for you.

To get started with a Zap template (our pre-made workflows), just click on the button next to a Zap, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a couple of minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Zapier helps you automate the tedious tasks in your day by connecting web apps. Our automatic workflows, which we call Zaps, send information from one app to another so you can focus on more important work. See what Zapier is like in action.

Send an 'I love you' message to your loved ones

During tough times, you might fall in one of two camps: it can be so all-consuming that you withdraw from everyone, or you may actively seek the comfort of friends or family to weather the trial.

Given the scale of world events and how daily life changed, maybe you've done a bit of both. Trying to maintain connections with social distancing is exhausting, but it's crucial to seek relationships in isolation for our mental health.

You can use Zapier to break your isolation by scheduling a recurring message reminding you to reach out to someone—maybe your mom or a good friend—to tell them you love them.

Get daily reminders by SMS

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Or, you could set up a Zap that automatically emails loved ones on a schedule to let them know you care, without expending what's left of your mental energy.

If you're not known to be the emotional type, you can also schedule something on a less frequent basis. And it doesn't have to be limited to your parents; you likely have a friend who will appreciate the regular check-in.

Remember: You're awesome

Perhaps you were among the many laid off due to the pandemic. Or maybe you have a lot more on your plate juggling working from home, timing your grocery runs, figuring out how to get medical care—and if you have kids, keeping them occupied.

Whatever the situation, you might not be feeling good about yourself right now. Instead of giving in to despair, you can set up a Zap to get regular reminders of how great you are.

Before you roll your eyes at me, listen: I can be the ruler of my negative self-talk island. But when other people hype up my redeeming qualities, I'm more likely to listen.

It can feel weird to ask for constant reassurance about your good qualities. Instead, try a multi-step Zap—available under our paid plans—to create your own automatic hype bot.

For example, Alex Danvers, who's a senior community moderator here, collects nice things coworkers, customers, and others have said about them into a Google Sheet and uses a workflow to get a random quote once a day.

How to customize your hype bot

Once you choose the time of day you'd like to receive your message and test the data, you'll move on to the second step of your Zap, Zapier's Formatter.

Under Choose Action Event, select Utilities from the dropdown menu and click Continue.

A screenshot of the Zap Editor showing the Formatter step of the Zap template.

Now it's time to customize. From the Transform dropdown menu, select Pick from list.

A screenshot of the Editor with dropdown options for customizing Utilities.

The Zap Editor will pull in more options: Operation, which tells Utilities how you want it to select data; Input, which is the data you'd like Utilities to work with; and Default, which is an optional field for what you'd like Utilities to spit out if it can't choose an item from your input list.

A screenshot of the Editor showing additional options for customizing Utilities.

Since you want to receive a random quote, select Choose Random from the Operation dropdown. Input is where you will enter in all the nice things people have said about you, using one quote for each line.

A screenshot of the Editor with a column of Input fields.

After you test your data, finish your Zap by choosing where you want to receive your message. You'll use the Output field in the Utilities step to populate your message.

Learn more on how to use Zapier's built-in apps for your Zaps.

Send yourself regular pick-me-ups

The world is pretty depressing right now. COVID-19 cases aren't slowing down in some parts of the world. Systemic racism is now at the forefront of conversations and protests around the world. Even if you haven't lost someone to the COVID-19 virus or have never experienced racism personally, you can't ignore these things under prolonged isolation.

It's natural to seek comfort during the discomfort. While there are times where you need to face the pain, you can still use a pick-me-up to get through the day. Make things a little easier by setting up an automatic workflow to receive regular pick-me-ups to get through the day.

Perhaps you find comfort in cute puppy photos, choice Keanu Reeves gifs, or funny lines from your favorite TV show. For example, our product marketing manager, Joe Stych uses a Zap to send cute puppy photos to relatives.

If quotes are your thing, you can use the earlier Zap template we used to make a hype bot to send yourself Audre Lorde quotes or other inspirational quotes of your choosing.

Another option, comes from Laurie Rauch, a support trainer at Zapier. She wrote a walk-through on how to create the "You're Awesome Bot" that she uses to send herself a GIF on random workdays.

Play with time

Every day is a century. The weekend doesn't feel like the weekend anymore. Did you put the wrong date on a form again?

If you prefer to keep dating your forms wrong (and need a laugh), try out this Zap built by our platform support lead Katie Redderson-Lear, which gives you the wrong day and time.

If you've had enough of the chaos and prefer to know what the correct day is, try out Zapier's What Day Is It? instead.

This all may seem like small potatoes compared to the big problems of the world, but an essential part of self-care is finding happiness in the little things. Especially when optimism is in short supply, these templates can help auto-inject some joy when you need it most.

Related reading:

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'