In today’s fast-paced world, many people still scoff at the idea of a work-life balance. But like we previously discussed here on the Uncustomary, it is completely possible to have a healthy relationship with your career. After all, self-care doesn’t stop when you leave the house. But it’s not just about spa days and allowing yourself a second serving of ice cream.
Self-care is about constantly checking in on yourself to make sure that you’re okay and taking care of yourself when you aren’t. While offices or other work sites might be the last place that people associate with self-care, it should be the complete opposite. Instead of equating work with stressful deadlines and over-time, make it a point to practice self-care habits everywhere you go. While many companies are now looking out for their employee’s mental health, it’s still up to you to make the necessary changes in your life. Here are some simple ways to do it:
Remember to stretch
Feeling irritable? It might be because your body feels sore and tense. Taking a break to stretch every once in a while gets the blood flowing and keeps you awake. Don’t worry, you don’t have to roll out a yoga mat or start lying on the floor. Healthline’s guide to stretching at your desk incorporates everything from shoulder shrugs to trunk rotations. Don’t forget to breathe through the movements, as this will make it easier for you to get as good a stretch as possible.
Drink lots of water
Before you reach for your third latte of the day, consider drinking some water instead. Since time immemorial, we’ve been told to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but it can be easy to forget to drink water when you’re buried in work. Headaches, fatigue, and irritability are all signs of dehydration, so it’s crucial to drink plenty. As a general rule, aim to a sip some water every 15 minutes. This also gives you an excuse to move while you refill your water bottle.
Know that money isn’t everything
We live in a society that constantly tells us to spend, spend, and spend a little more. Sadly, there are some things you can’t put a price on, like happiness and a better quality of life. For hectic jobs like lawyers, Special Counsel reports that some legal professionals are even willing to take pay cuts for healthier standards of living. This just goes to show you how even those in high-paying positions are learning to put their well-being first. So while a bonus might sound nice, take the time to consider whether or not you’ll be able to handle the extra work needed to get it. As the saying goes — if it costs you your peace of mind, it’s too expensive.
Leave your space
You can get a lot of mental clarity by separating where you work from where you take your break. Literally extracting yourself from your desk forces your mind to pause. For people who work in the service industry (think cafes or retail stores), leaving the establishment during their breaks is important for a little midday breather. Giving your brain that break, no matter how short, will sharpen your focus for when you get back to those reports.
Rethink your break
Productivity doesn’t mean non-stop work for hours on end. So the next time you think that going on a break is a waste of time, consider this: In 2017, an article on JD Supra reported that California passed a bill that grants healthcare workers the right to waive a second break in between shifts. Because healthcare professionals tend to be on their feet the whole day, setting aside time for rest actually allows them to perform better. This just proves that the connection between break time and increased productivity is now seen as commonplace. While using your break to eat and recharge is a good first step, you can also use the period to do what’s good for you – whether that’s meeting a friend, meditating, or a quick workout.