How To Practice “Self-Care” At Work?
Self-care itself is simply the act of caring for yourself. It’s a mindset. You have to believe that self-care will benefit you in some way and that you deserve to prioritise yourself alongside work, family, financials – everything in your life – and carve out time for yourself.
Don’t skip this step because it’s important that you give yourself permission to chalk out time and prioritise yourself over everyone and everything else in your life.
You’re not being selfish or narcissistic by putting your needs first. It means you recognise you’re human and you can only be your best self when you’re taking good care of yourself and your needs.
Then figure out what exactly it is that you need. Incorporate some self-care into your life while simultaneously identifying what’s making you feel overwhelmed, and which habits and behaviours help you the most.
Here are 6 quick, simple self-care exercises you can start using today and the best way to incorporate them into your daily life:
1. Take 5-minute breaks.
- You probably take breaks throughout your day but what are you doing? Are you scrolling through social media, paying a bill, calling back a parent or friend? While these things don’t relate to work, they’re not really a “break”.
- Set a timer on your phone and when the timer goes off, stop what you’re doing and move away from your desk.
- Sit down somewhere quiet. Close your eyes and take in a couple of deep breaths.
- Check in with yourself. How are you feeling right now? What are you thinking about? What are you feeling in your body?
- Once five minutes are over go back to work.
2. Go outside and get some fresh air.
- Studies have shown that getting outside in nature is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.
- Exposure to nature lowers stress, improves your attention span, improves your mental health and even can help you increase your empathy.
- Simply getting outside, breathing in fresh air will help you clear your mind and allow you to return to work with a new attitude.
- Look at your calendar for the week and identify at least 2-3 days each week where you have 30-45 minutes out in the open.
- Treat it like any other appointment and honor that time and space.
3. Take the stairs, walk around, simply move your body.
- If your job requires you to sit all day, finding time to move can be tough.
- If the idea of going to the gym feels impossible, find every single opportunity in your daily life to move your body.
- If you’re going to be on the phone for a while, take a walk outside or around your place.
- Make sure to look at your schedule at the beginning of each day and identify one or two opportunities to move your body.
- The more you do it, the more you’ll find new ways to move your body.
4. Be mindful of your eating and drinking habits.
- There is an acronym mental health professionals use – H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) – when someone is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out and doesn’t know what to do.
- Notice that the first one is hunger. Not eating enough, eating too much sugar, or drinking too much coffee not only affects your body, it affects your mental health.
- Get out a journal and for three days write down everything you eat and drink as well as how you feel an hour after each meal.
- After those three days, you’ll start to notice where and when you eat too much, not enough, or foods that make you feel sleepy or hyped up.
- These are your clues as to which habits you might need to change.
- Before you make a bunch of changes, pick one habit like eliminating that second cup of coffee or find ways to eat one more serving of vegetables each day.
5. Acknowledge your accomplishments.
- Self-care isn’t just about eating, moving your body and getting more exercise, it’s also about how you speak to yourself about yourself.
- One reason people get anxious and overwhelmed at work is they feel like they’re not performing well enough or they feel really underappreciated by their managers.
- It’s important for you to learn how to be your biggest cheerleader.
- Start collecting email messages, notes, and performance reviews where someone is singing your praises.
- Every time someone sends you a message that makes you feel good about yourself and your work, save it.
- Each time you start to feel down about work open up that folder and re-read all of those notes as a reminder of how much you’ve accomplished.
6. Create a ‘shutdown’ routine.
- At the end of the day make sure you have a list of what needs to get done for the next day.
- Schedule these tasks throughout the day so after you hop off that 10 a.m. meeting you know the next thing you’re going to work on because you’ve already scheduled it.
- Create your own phrase that helps you establish the end of the work day.
- When you feel compelled to get back online, remind yourself of this phrase.
If you already have a self-care routine at home or at the gym, then you know how it can make you feel happier and more in tune with yourself and your needs. So try incorporating these expert-backed easy moves into your workday as well. They’ll help you shake off motivation killers like anxiety and stress and give you the tools to thrive from nine to five.