Ways to Practice Self-Care at Work (And Why It Matters)
It’s hard to think of self-care and work mentioned in one sentence. Most people’s concept of self-care involves the use of free time and leisure. However, practicing self-care in the workplace can transform you into a more productive and motivated employee. Practicing self-care is also crucial since you spend most of your time each day at work.
Why Practice Self Care in the Workplace?
Self-care and work are considered opposing forces. However, they can co-exist. There is an increasing need to practice self-care at work due to the growing number of employees suffering from chronic stress and burnout.
If you are stressed or burnt out, your mental and physical well-being are affected. Self-care can restore the balance between your mind and body. If you take care of yourself, you can perform better at work.
Self-care does not have to be an indulgent or luxurious experience such as meditation, yoga, or a spa day. You will discover in the next section the simple ways that you can incorporate self-care as part of your daily routine in the workplace.
12 Ways to Practice Self Care at Work
Here are 12 ways to add self-care to your workday regimen.
1. Make your workspace inspirational.
Self-care in the workplace must start in your workspace or office desk. Your workspace is where you will be spending most of your time, so it should be clean and well-organized. Make this inspirational and choose a theme that appeals to you the most.
Taking the time to decorate your workspace will put your mind in a good headspace so that you are more inspired to check things off your to-do list. It’s also best to invest in ergonomic furniture to take better care of your body.
2. Go easy on yourself.
Self-compassion is a rare practice. You can be your own worst critic, especially with the weight of accountability riding on your shoulders. You want to make sure that you do your work perfectly, or else you will spiral into negative self-talk.
It’s time to change that behavior towards yourself. Acknowledge how hard you are trying and practice compassion. When you switch to constructive statements about yourself, you will become more inspired and motivated.
3. Take frequent breaks.
Taking breaks is one of the most productive things you can do at work. It’s a good self-care practice too.
When you take breaks, go outside whenever possible – breathe fresh air. You can even do light exercises such as stretching or walking. Taking a break from work can rejuvenate your body and mind so you feel better when you return to your desk.
4. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is also an essential form of self-care at work. Drinking water gives your body more energy and helps you stay healthy. You can infuse your water with your favorite ingredients, such as lemon and cucumber, to make it more enjoyable to drink.
5. Honor your social tendencies.
Are you a social butterfly? Do you feel the need to socialize with your co-workers? If you answered yes, then make time during your work hours to spend a few minutes to socially interact with your co-workers. You can do this during coffee or lunch breaks, or in the meeting room.
On the other hand, if you prefer some alone time, take a few minutes of your workday to enjoy some solitude.
6. Listen to your favorite music.
If you are a music lover, one of the best forms of self-care at work is to listen to your favorite tunes. Create a work playlist that you can listen to and help you focus. Your choice of music can be upbeat or instrumental. Choose the kind of music that works for you.
7. Dress to look your best.
When you look good, you feel good. Wearing your favorite clothing that makes you feel good is a form of self-care. You must invest in clothing that makes you feel confident at work. Dressing up can also give you the confidence to face whatever challenges are waiting for you at work.
8. Re-think your lunch hour.
Your lunch hour does not have to be solely for having lunch. Think of it as “free time” that you can use to do something for yourself. You can go out to grab a coffee or do a quick workout if there is a gym near the office.
9. Be present.
Being present at work means focusing on one task at a time. Learn to say no to other responsibilities and only take on work that you know you can handle. Doing intentional work is a form of self-care because you acknowledge what you are capable of and know your limitations. Taking only work that you can manage is an excellent way to keep stress at bay.
10. Pack a healthy (but delicious) lunch.
Self-care can also be in the form of nourishing your body from the inside. If you’re tired of eating the same food from the office cafeteria, it’s time to pack yourself a healthy yet delicious lunch. You can choose your favorite ingredients, and it will be a little treat for yourself that you get to enjoy. A good meal can be a savior, especially when you’ve had a rough day at work.
11. Set personal goals.
Setting personal goals will add purpose to your workday. Identify short and long-term goals that you want to achieve each day or week. You will feel highly motivated and inspired to chase more when you accomplish your goals. Keep these goals attainable, realistic, and aligned with your lifestyle.
12. Practice mindfulness and expel negativity.
Mindfulness offers plenty of benefits that combat stress and negativity. It is one of the best practices to adopt to boost your mental health. Adding a single mindfulness meditation session to your day can help reduce anxiety.
If you don’t have a dedicated space to practice meditation, do it at your desk. Close your eyes and do deep breathing for a couple of minutes. You can also put on your earphones and listen to a guided meditation during your lunch break. Meditating can clear your head and siphon the negative and anxious thoughts plaguing you at work.
The most important tip to remember about self-care in the workplace is that self-care is personal. The list above is only a collection of ideas to get your gears turning. Be purposeful in choosing self-care strategies that work for you. Weave those into your daily routine to see their benefits translated into your work and personal life.