Whether you work in an office with hundreds of cubicles, or you work from home alone, self-care at work is a must. We spend almost all of our days working. If we don’t incorporate self-care into our work schedule, when are we supposed to? Consider these ten self-care practices you can do at work to stay calm and productive while preventing burnout all at once.
1. Have a Daily Routine for Work
Ideally, you already have a morning self-care routine that gets you ready to go to work. However, you should also have another daily routine you go through once you get to your office, desk at home, or whatever work setting you have going on right now.
For example, your daily routine can include getting coffee, chatting with a coworker for a few minutes, then start writing your to-do list for the day, and finally get to work. Adapt this as you need to make sure your daily routine is exciting and something you look forward to every morning.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Most of us spend eight-plus hours of the day sitting at a desk. There’s a reason why sitting is known as the new smoking. Reports suggest sitting for too long increases our chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. So, let’s get moving.
Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to get coffee, water, or tea. Perhaps, schedule a 5 to 10-minute break to walk around the office or your house to help you stay somewhat active while you work. Having regularly scheduled breaks helps with circulation, blows off steam, and promotes creativity and productivity because your stress levels go down.
3. Spruce Up Your Lunch Break
It’s time for you to reimagine what a lunch break looks and feels like. Regardless of how long your lunch break is, consider using it for taking a break. Instead of eating during your lunch break, go outside for a leisurely walk, call a friend or a loved one, maybe even take a nap in your car if you can. Whatever it is, disconnect from the office for a few minutes and allow yourself to quiet your mind before heading back to work.
4. Keep Healthy Snacks Around
Everyone who works in an office environment is way too familiar with the snacks cabinet. Instead of reaching for all the salty and sweets stored in there, which are both foods we crave while stressed, try to keep healthy snacks by your drawers. Even if you work from home, do your best to keep healthy snacks around the house instead of chips and cookies.
5. Bring in Nature
Whether you believe indoor plants do anything to purify the air or not, having plants around your work station can be helpful. Some researchers believe that when you look at blue or green colors, stress levels decrease, and you feel more at ease. Consider bringing in nature to your space by adding some indoor plants. If you’re terrible with plants, don’t worry, here’s a list of beginner plants to help you get started.
6. Decorate Your Work Station
When you look at your work station, how do you feel? Inspired? Annoyed? Happy? Depressed? If you’re staring at the same objects for almost all of your day, wouldn’t you want to look at something enjoyable? Add items and accessories that bring joy to your work station and personalize it to fit your personality. When we work in an environment that makes us feel comfortable, it’s easy to be more productive and relaxed.
7. Have a Playlist Plan
I’m not sure about you, but I have a whole selection of playlists ready to go when something happens at work. For example, when things are stressful, I can always count on my Stevie Wonder playlist to help me see the positive things in life and remain confident.
Try to set up various playlists with meditation music, exercise music, whatever it is that helps you feel motivated. Music is a powerful tool that we can use to motivate ourselves and lower our stress levels.
8. Try a Breathing Exercise
One of the easiest ways to reset yourself at your desk is with a breathing technique. When everything seems to be going south, tap into your favorite breathing practice to remain calm, lower anxiety, and find instant relief. Some of my favorites include 4-8-7 breathing techniques and therapeutic breathing methods.
9. Consider Desk Meditation
Beyond breathing exercises, you can try a short desk meditation to help you focus and regain control of your mind. Meditations are particularly helpful when you’re dealing with uncertainty, chronic stress, or anxiety around a project. You can try many desk meditations during your lunch break or even when you choose to take one of your breaks.
10. Celebrate the Small Wins
Finally, don’t forget that self-care is also about changing your mindset about the things happening around you. Sometimes all you need is to stop for a second and celebrate your small wins. Whether you finished a small task that got excellent feedback, or if you just managed to complete your to-do list on time, whatever it is, pat yourself on the back because you deserve it.