November 17, 2022
Self-care has become a media focus for everyone from law firm partners to soccer moms (especially those working both simultaneously).
A full-time workday, even under the best circumstances, uses up about a third of our daily resources of time and energy. Add to that the obligations and desires of a fulfilling personal life and there isn’t much time left for meaningful rest, relaxation, or even energizing hobbies.
To some, self-care seems like an unattainable luxury, meant only for those with wealth and the concept of “spare time”. However, taking care of your overall mental and physical health doesn’t need to take place outside of the workday. During demanding projects, or time-consuming work hours it can even become essential to offer some focus back to your own needs in order to keep stress and burnout at bay.
So, what can you actually do to focus on your well-being when you're feeling the demands of a full workload? It isn’t realistic for most people to log off the network for a massage in the middle of the day, or take a nap. Thinking outside the box, there are many simple and attainable ways for employees to feature healthy and relaxing activities without neglecting their duties.
1) Stay active
Some workplaces build a culture of going to a gym as a team on breaks, or together after work. If this isn’t for you, consider some personal activities you may enjoy. Go for a walk on a break, in the fresh air when possible, or take a phone call in a space where you can pace some steps. You can take a stroll around the building. Even going up and down the stairs a few times is enough to warm muscles that sit for long stretches of time.
Getting started with some activity might be tough at first, but you might be surprised that after even a few minutes your brain is more active, and your attitude refreshed. You don’t have to work up a sweat to feel some positive effects of physical movement.
2) Personalize your workspace
Whether you’re in a corner office, a cubical, or only in need of a laptop to work, there is always a way to customize your space to make you smile.
Bring in pictures of loved ones to remind you how your work benefits those around you, or hang an inspiration board to keep you energized. Add vinyl stickers to electronics to give a sense of control over your surroundings even on hectic days, or write out calming quotes to focus on during the more challenging parts of the day. Even eating off a plate that you like at lunch, or drinking coffee out of a favorite mug can add elements of joy to your day.
Adding small touches of personalization can make a big difference in helping you feel cared for at the end of the day. These are things you can do for yourself and offer some control in an environment where goals and outcomes might not be entirely within your grasp.
3) Make your goals visible
One thing that adds stress and overwhelm to your day is losing sight of your goals. Whether you’re striving for a new level of professional excellence, training for a promotion, or working toward a financial goal there is always a reason that you come to work. Self-care also means remembering why you do what you do. So, don’t lose sight of those very personal reasons. Make them visible, if only to yourself, so that you can take time to reflect on them when you inevitably get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a living workplace.
4) Practice intentionality
Whether this means taking a few minutes of deep breathing, doing a guided meditation, or centering yourself with some reminders of the sensations you feel throughout your body it doesn’t take much to get you to relax and focus so that you can continue your work with intentionality. Whatever this looks like for you, elements of mindfulness can be great tools to add to your workplace self-care routines.
5) Find ways to work personal goals into your workday tasks
Want to be more physically active, drink more water, read more books, or learn a new skill? There may be ways to do this while you are at work. You can work consistent habits in your breaks, or use audiobooks/podcasts when possible to engage your mind. You can use apps or reminders, or personal accountability with your teammates to ensure you are moving forward with personal goals. When your whole self is cared-for there can be some balance and healthy blending of your work and personal life.
For as many individuals as there are, there are as many ways to build self-care into your day, even while on the job. The important thing is that it works for you, adding to your workday and having a positive impact on your day and well-being.
For all the advice surrounding self-care, only you can identify your personal needs for the day. Do you need to relax, energize, or feel in control? Do you need a sense of calm? Or maybe you need more focus on physical health? The needs of self-care are individualized. We love the unique individuality of our employees and clients, and seeing them well-cared for is a priority for GLC.