How To Practice Self-Care in the Workplace

How To Practice Self-Care in the Workplace

Posted August 8, 2020 by Tiana Carlyle

Self-care is EVERYTHING these days. When you think of self-care you might envision a trendy spa day or a hot bubble bath but the truth is that the concept of self-care is much, much bigger than those ideals. Self-care is any activity that we do in order to take care of our mind, body, and spirit. It is one of the strongest tools in your arsenal when it comes to coping with life and your daily emotions in a healthy and productive way. And it is especially important to practice self-care in the workplace or while working from home.

Self-Care paves the way for better physical health, more self-confidence, and it allows you to better serve others when you yourself are fulfilled. A solid self-care routine can motivate you, improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, help you build healthy relationships, and so much more. That’s a pretty broad definition, for sure, but it’s for good reason. There are various types of self-care, and you will employ different ones depending on the situation, on your mood, and on whether you’re trying to replenish and care for your mind, body or spirit or some combination of all three.

Self-Care can be categorized into several different groups. There’s Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, and Professional, just to name a few. In this article we’ll delve into the world of professional self-care – that which takes place in the workplace or during the workday to care for your needs as an employee. Read on for all the details on professional self-care, what it looks like and how to make the most of it in the workplace.

What is Professional Self-Care?

Professional Self-care is a crucial element of self-care for those in the workforce. Work is a common source of stress in our lives today and when we are stressed, our ability to focus as well as our productivity may suffer. When left unchecked, stress affects almost everything: from a lack of energy, to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and hormonal imbalances; even anxiety and insomnia can arise when your body is stuck in fight-or-flight mode.

Professional Self-Care allows you to focus on your work-life balance, which can lead to more stability, happiness and a sense of wellbeing in the rest of your life. A good self-care practice in the workplace can not only relieve said stress and energize you but also help you make time for the things that really matter, increase your productivity and ease the risk of burnout. Taking time for yourself in the midst of a busy day or week, can help you to see things more clearly, ramp up your creativity and render you more productive when you get back to it. So what does self-care look like in the workplace? Here are some powerful examples.

Related Post: 10 Ways To Treat Yourself Better

How to Practice Self-Care in the Workplace

Take a Break

I know it sounds counterintuitive to step away from a project in order to get it done, but hear me out! Sometimes getting focused means allowing yourself to reset, clear your head, and come back to the task at hand with a fresh perspective. Fully step away both mentally and physically by getting up, going for a walk, doing some stretches, turning on some music, or practicing some deep breathing techniques – anything that you enjoy and that allows you to give your brain a much-needed break and reset.

Make Time for Movement

Whether you’re stuck in a cubicle or working from home, it is essential to make time for movement. It is much too easy to spend hours glued to the computer without moving. Set reminders to get up, walk around the office or house, or just do some simple stretches. You’ll not only be doing your body a favor, but you’ll be allowing yourself to step back from your work and come back refreshed and ready to go.

Get Organized

Yes, sometimes chores and cleaning must be done in the name of self-care. A great practice for promoting productivity in the workplace is to get yourself organized! Whether it’s your desk, your filing cabinet, or even your planner and calendar, set aside some time to get organized. You’ll not only alleviate unnecessary stress, but you’ll clear your mind and feel calmer and less anxious in your workspace.

Make your Desk a Happy Space
self-care in the workplace

If it’s a place you’ll be spending large amounts of time, it should be a place that makes you happy – I’m talking about your desk! Think about adding a small plant to brighten up your space and give you a healthy dose of oxygen, or bring an essential oil diffuser in to add some aromatherapy to boost your mood and help you feel more comfortable.

Make the Most of your Lunch Hour

Your lunch hour doesn’t need to be all about lunch. Take that time to do whatever it is you need to do to care for yourself, reset, and be ready for the afternoon ahead.  Get outside and spend some time with your thoughts. Go have a coffee. Enjoy a lunch with friends. Sit in the sunshine, go for a bike ride or take a quick walk. You’ll get some body-loving vitamin D along with the stress-relieving and mood boosting powers of being in nature. You can always eat lunch at your desk after the hour is over.

Incorporate Healthy Habits into your Workday

It can’t be stressed enough how important simple daily healthy routines are for your overall physical and emotional well-being. Drinking enough water, setting aside time to eat whole, healthful meals, and staying physically active are all great reasons to carve out time for self-care in your day. Have your water bottle within reach and filled up and keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand to keep yourself energized and mentally keen for the tasks at hand. 

Have that Difficult Conversation with Your Co-Worker or Boss

Self-Care doesn’t always feel good. Since self-care is all about taking care of yourself and making sure your own needs are met, sometimes that looks less like treating yourself to a fancy lunch and more like having a difficult conversation with your boss.

Prioritize your Sleep
self-care in the workplace

Though you won’t be napping at the office, you can maximize your productivity (among a myriad of other brain-boosting benefits) by getting enough quality sleep each night. That’s right- sleep qualifies as self-care! Make it a priority to get to bed at the same time each night and start readying your body for a good night’s sleep by powering down devices at least an hour before bedtime. You’ll be rewarded with better concentration, communication, focus and, you guessed it- productivity.

Leave your Work at Work

This one is important, especially if you are currently working from home. In order to truly find that work-life balance, you must draw the line between work life and home life and stick to it. That means shutting down and powering off- whatever you need to do to make sure you’ve “left” work for the day.

When it comes down to it, self-care is essential to remind yourself that your needs are important, too – and that includes in the workplace. To take time for your own self-renewal is not only an important reminder of your self-worth but it comes with the added benefit of increased productivity when it’s time to get back down to work. Clear the clutter and distractions from your days and take the time to do whatever re-energizes you and supports the health of your body, mind and emotions.

With a sustainable professional self-care practice you can slow down, take a step back, and share the attention and affection that you give to others, with yourself. Try implementing some of these self-care practices into your workday to avoid (and overcome) burnout both in the workplace as well as at home. Don’t forget: the more you practice self-care, the easier it will come. You can fit self care into your workday, no matter how busy you are, by simply deciding that it’s a priority for you.

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