How to Practice Self-Care at Work
By the time Monday is here we can easily start to give up our needs at work to meet the demands of others. How can we practice self-care while we are working? Here are 10 tips for practicing self-care while working at home or in the office:
Clear Your Desk and Make Your Desk a Relaxing Space. When you clear the clutter around you, you clear the clutter in your mind, because your mind has less things to focus on. Starting work with a clean desk helps to make you feel more relaxed and ready to tackle whatever is brough to you.
Review Your Schedule (work and home schedule, meetings, deadlines, and assignments) this will help you to be prepared for surprises and keep your stress levels down.
Sip a warm drink. Yes, I know that wine is warm, but we are still on the clock so the cocktails will have to be saved for Happy Hour. Try drinking a hot herbal tea, green tea, or a hot coffee. Feeling the warm liquid helps me to calm down and take a breath. I get my focus and then continue throughout the day.
Write down tasks that must be accomplished before the end of the day. Keeping a physical checklist nearby, will help you stay on track to make sure that you are making good progress so that you can leave work at a decent time.
Tackle the most difficult projects in the morning. Your brain is fresh and clear, and problems seem easier to figure out. I have had days where it is 3:30 PM and I am struggling to figure out where to start on a difficult task and I start on a path, hit a roadblock, then try an different path, and the second path seems harder than the first. I have had to save where I left of and move it to the next day. When I picked that project up the next morning, I was able to quickly see what needed to be done and get it done or delegate it to someone else.
Take walking breaks. You can use part of your lunch time to take a walking break. Use that time to clear your mind or think through a difficult problem. If you have to use another shorter break during the workday, try going outside and getting some fresh air and sunshine. When I feel the warmth on my skin from the sun, I feel that my stress melts away. Once I get back to my desk I feel just as energized as when I come back to work after a day of rest.
Listen to your favorite music tunes. If you must drive into work, putting on your favorite tune will help you to combat the stress of traffic. You will be in a good mood when you bounce into the office. If you work from home, you could listen to your favorite tunes to make you feel happy to start the day.
Pack healthy snacks that you enjoy. Eating right is important. Enjoying what you are eating is also important. Sometimes at work we sacrifice too much to make sure we meet that deadline. If we sacrifice our whole selves, how can we consistently show up and do what we need to do? Remember that you are not just a number, you are a person, and you were who you were before your company hired you. Take care of you.
Do not get caught in the trap of office gossip. Office gossip can be good or helpful then the gossiper has your best interests at heart. They may give you a heads up on a difficult project that will be coming your way, or let you know how the office environment is if you are new. The majority of the time office gossipers are only thinking about themselves and how they can promote their agenda. Avoid office gossipers that constantly talk negatively about coworkers because that can promote a hostile environment. A ruthlessly competitive, dog eat dog, every man (or woman) for themselves is toxic and you are better than that. Identify the gossipers and steer clear.
Create a stress-free lunch routine. When I worked in the office, my coworkers would ask me questions or want to talk about work problems. Now that I work at home, when I step out of the room to grab my lunch, my family used to ask me if I was busy and wanted my help with something. Both of those scenarios left me feeling drained and not wanting to finish the rest of my workday. I created a stress-free lunch routine which helped me to recharge myself during my lunch. At the office, I found that I could go to another floor to eat lunch, take my lunch outside to eat, or go out to lunch. At home I start warming my food right before I take my lunch and then when my family asks me, I tell them I am not on lunch yet, just grabbing something to eat, which allows me to get my lunch, go back to my room office and eat in peace.