Self-care at Work

Self-care is all about taking care of your mind and body so you feel less stress and more happiness. Considering the total number of hours we spend at work and the hectic pace we set, most of us could benefit from practicing more self-care. Rather than having self-care be something you just do outside of work, it’s important to also weave it naturally into the course of your workday.

 There are many different ways to practice self-care at work and what is helpful for one person may not be helpful for another. However, here are six basic self-care ideas that most everyone can benefit from:

 1. Get Enough Sleep First and foremost we need good sleep to do our best work. Finding out the right environment we need for sleep is essential.

 2. Eat Healthy When we eat healthy, we sleep better, and have more energy. Lunch tends to get short shrift while at work. Make your midday meal more of an opportunity for nourishment. Pack or order foods you love that offer energizing protein and complex carbs, which can put you in a brighter mood and help you power through the afternoon. Don’t forget about snacking smartly – vending machine runs are convenient, but soda and sweet treats aren’t the best snack choices when you’re racing against a deadline or feeling overwhelmed by a report. 

 3. Exercise Stretch your arms and legs at your desk, do laps around the office, walk up and down the stairs, or take on some other activity that allows you to move your body. Try to get outside at some point during your workday.

 4. Set Up a Healthy Workspace A messy environment can intensify the tension and anxiety you already feel. We don’t always have complete control over our office equipment, but wherever possible try to create a work environment that allows you to be your most productive. Reducing desk clutter can help.

 5. Prioritize Throughout a given workday, others frequently ask for our time or resources, distracting us from more important priorities. That’s why it’s important to set aside 15 minutes first thing each morning to jot down the three things you hope to accomplish that day. Then, as requests come in, consider the impact on your priorities before offering a knee-jerk automatic yes. Be sure, however, to make time throughout the work day for intermittent self-care breaks (i.e. lunch or afternoon walk; social time with co-workers; listen to relaxing music).

 6. Give Yourself a Break and Acknowledge Your Accomplishments We can often be our own harshest critic. By keeping your internal critic at bay, you can create the right psychological conditions to get through periods of self-doubt more quickly.  Also, take stock of what you’ve accomplished on the job once a week or so and congratulate yourself for your efforts. Reminding yourself of your contributions gives you a psychological boost and helps you feel more positive, which is the ultimate goal of self-care.

 Stress is a real workplace issue. It can impact your health and job performance and finding ways to de-stress can help you personally and professionally perform at your best.