10 Ways To Practice Self-Care At Work
Over and over, I hear that one of the most stressful parts of people’s lives is their job. I know that sometimes it’s privileged thinking to say that you should quit your job if it’s terrible, but ultimately your job is a place you are spending a significant part of your life at. If you work full-time, you’re basically spending a third of your week (read: life) there, and another third sleeping. Do you want half of the conscious part of your life to be spend in a place you dread going? For more on cutting things out of your life, read my article “What Are You Tolerating?”.
Yes, we have to pay the bills. And we have to make sacrifices often in order to make that happen. But how is it going to work if you stress yourself into a sickness or mental breakdown and physically can’t work or take care of the people you’re trying to take care of in the first place? While you might have to “stick it out” a little longer, if you’re miserable at your job, the best advice I can give you is that you do not deserve to feel that way and you should at least try to look for a different solution or try to find a new way to approach your job. Can you work remotely? Can you change your schedule? Can you ask to not work with someone who is stressing you out? Creative problem solving is important.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, the main thing I want to talk about is once we’re at work. Whether you work a 9-5 as an employee or you are an entrepreneur with your own business, or you work part-time and have a side hustle, these are all ways you’re at work. Work can be draining no matter who you’re working for, where you’re working from, or what kind of work you’re doing. So how do we bring self-care into the workplace?
I have some ideas for you today to make sure you’re practicing self-care when it comes to your job, and I hope you will consider incorporating them or some version of self-care into your work. All work and no self-care makes babes stressed the fuck out. Even just becoming aware that you haven’t been merging your self-care practices with work is a great first step! It’s great to have a morning and/or nightly routine, but we need to make sure that’s not all we’re doing. Here are 10 ideas for practicing self-care at work.
10 Ways To Practice Self-Care At Work
1. Leave the building/work site on your lunch break. Too many people eat lunch at their desk while they’re still working or skip their lunch break entirely! Your lunch break is deserved and eating is important to fuel you for the rest of your work day. So take a break, and actually leave the place you dedicate to your work. Eat something nourishing, and depending on how long you have for your break, you can even do something fun! You could run an errand, but if you have a whole hour, you could even get a pedicure, go to a nearby museum, sit in a park and feed ducks, meditate, nap in your car, the options are endless! (Stay tuned for the end of the blog post for a list of 30 places to go on your lunch break!)
2. Set alarms/reminders so you’re not constantly in the same position and/or staring at screens for prolonged periods. Ideally, every hour you should change positions, stretch, and rest your eyes from screens. If you work in a group environment, you can do it as a group!
3. Practice setting boundaries with your boss, coworkers, and yourself. Remind people you will be leaving on your lunch break, that you need to leave early for your doctor’s appointment, that you will be using all of your personal hours and vacation leave, that you can’t stay late, that you won’t do the workload of someone else just because you’re good at your own workload, that you won’t be adding coworkers on Facebook, etc. Check out my post on 25 Ways To Say No if you need help/options for ways to turn someone down! Those boundaries may also include talking time during your lunch break to talk with a therapist, and BetterHelp has a team of professionals available.
4. Spend time curating your workspace. Where you work should be a place you look forward to coming to. If you can decorate your desk, bring in inspiring quotes, pictures, crystals, decorations, plants, etc. (This also includes keeping it decluttered/clean!) If you have a name tag, put stickers on it.
5. Treat yourself to supportive shoes. Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or standing up most of the time, it’s silly to go to work in uncomfortable shoes no matter how stylish they are. Get some comfy shoes (there are non-ugly options, I promise), and make sure your feet are supported. You can even get extra gel inserts to cushion you if you’re doing a lot of standing.
6. Make sure you’re seating is supportive and comfortable. If you’re doing a lot of sitting, you want to make sure you either bring in a comfortable chair or advocate that you get one from the supply manager. You can also bring in extra cushions and pillows for lumbar support. (You can also try a standing desk!)
7. Bring snacks with you. Work is exhausting, so you’re probably going to get hungry before your break! Bring something to munch on while you work, and make it easy for you to eat while you work. Try foods that are good brain foods like Kind Bars, mixed nuts (almonds!), blueberries, quinoa chips, dark chocolate, and sunflower seeds.
8. Boost morale. If you have coworkers, organize activities that get you all involved and interactive. It could be something as simple as a bulletin board you all post things on every week or a white board with a new inspiring quote each day. You could also make a calm space/meditation corner in the office. If you work alone, you could try a co-working space once or twice a month or join an online mastermind group to get feedback. Bring fun things in, celebrate unusual holidays, wear fun jewelry, make inspiring mood-boosting playlists, whatever you want!
9. Bring a water bottle with you and set a goal of how much you want to drink during your shift. Set reminders on your phone that remind you to drink! Hydration is important for your health and will help you stay less stressed.
10. Prepare for weird temperatures. Keep a sweater and miniature fan at your desk in case the building is uncomfortable for you to work in.
I made you a free download of 30 places/things to do on your lunch break! Get it below!
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How do you practice self-care at work?
Photos: Maura Housley