Self-Care At Work: 8 Steps To Increase Your Selfcare In The Workplace
Is the idea of self-care at work an oxymoron?
Many people believe that self-care is something that one can only engage in when in the home. That makes sense, home is where your heart is and for most people, home is a place of sanctuary. However, many of us spend more time working and, in the workplace, than we do at home. And if you’re working at home now due to the pandemic, chances are that you may return to the office someday. So, I would argue that self-care absolutely should take place at work as well.
Not waiting until you get home from work, but while you are at work.
So, what would happen if you considered self-care something that can take place anywhere? How would this change your life? Hopefully for the better, because that would allow you to manage your stress before your stress manages you. Read on for 8 actions you can take at work every day to advance your self-care practice.
Step Away From The Desk!
When you’re having a rough day, the thought of escaping from your workplace is really appealing. And sometimes the best form of self-care is to make a daring escape and step away from your desk! If possible, take as many of your breaks as possible outside. Take a power walk and breathe in the fresh air. This helps you get a physical and mental break from your work which helps restore your equilibrium and allows you to be more productive for the rest of your day.
The other time that you should not remain at your desk is when it’s time to eat lunch. When your lunch break comes around, it's time for you to go. When you eat at your desk, your digestion suffers because you’re gonna be tempted to keep working while you eat.
Even if you’re working from home, the very act of eating away from your workspace can do wonders for your mental health. Go to another room or even just pick a different chair at the kitchen table or sit on the other side of the couch. It tells your brain you’re done working for the time being.
Strengthen Your Friendships
It doesn’t matter whether you go to an office or you’re working at home, you probably still have coworkers. Consider taking a few minutes to connect with them, even a short text or conversation can help build those connections. It’s more than just networking. We all need to feel like we’re not alone. True friendships can start from those connections that you make. And many times, people spend more time with their co-workers than with family.
But Don’t Be Afraid To Build Boundaries
There are times when you’re open to chatting with co-workers and you can deal with interruptions, and times when you need to focus and get your work done. That’s where boundaries come in. They help keep your productivity high, and your frustration low. If you have an office and can shut your door when you need to concentrate, do so. If you’re in cubicleland, have a conversation with your coworkers about how you’re gonna signal them when you can’t afford to be interrupted.
Ask for Stuff
A large part of self-care means making sure your needs are met. To do that you should have conversations with your boss when you have questions or concerns, and to make sure you’re kept in the loop on projects you feel passionate about. Self-care also means sticking up for yourself to make sure that you have these things when you feel like they’re not being offered.
Have A Drink!
No, I’m not talking about a shot. I’m talking about water. Hydration is key. It’s also one of the simplest forms of self-care. Dehydration can affect cognitive function, which in turn affects your work. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you drink water throughout the day.
As with most things, work becomes more interesting when you feel like you’re challenged. Sometimes that means you’re the one set the challenges.
Why not make your day interesting by setting mini goals for yourself?
Set a timer and try to beat the clock when it comes to getting things done. See how much of your to do list you can cross off before the end of the day. Be creative and have fun!
Clean Up Your Act
Sometimes the simplest thing is the most caring thing that you can do for yourself. What better self-care action can you take at work but to create a better workspace for yourself by cleaning up the clutter. Being able to find what you need, when you need it, helps you stop stress in its tracks by preserving your sanity and helping you be more productive.
Put Away the Screens
Especially when you’re in the office, it might not be practical to put away your laptop or tablet, it’s good to do so if you can.
After a few hours, staring at any screen, whether it’s your phone or something else, can make your eyes hurt. This constant exposure to the blue light that comes from electronics can be very wearying and even cause damage to your body over time.
Consider doing some things by hand and clustering them all together. That way you give yourself a nice little break from your screens during the day. Think of it as a mini tech disconnect.
The key to self-care at work is in making your workplace and workspace work for you, not against you. By doing all these things daily, you’ll find your workday is much more interesting and you get more done. More important, you’ll feel better, both mentally and physically.
Let’s talk, what do you plan to do to increase your self-care while you’re at work? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In