Productivity has taken center stage in many people’s minds now that working from home is the new normal. However, while some find the home-work life a beneficial switch, others feel pressure to launch into new projects and hobbies, leading to toxic productivity. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to overworking, which is detrimental to personal health, relationships, and mental wellbeing.

The stigma around mental health runs rampant, especially in professional spheres where employees are expected to push through mental fatigue for their work. Fear of judgment or disapproval from others may cause feelings of guilt when engaging in self-care. However, caring for yourself isn’t shameful—it’s likely the boost your body needs.

Taking the time to address your own needs can curb daily stressors and bolster your brainpower. Since self-care is the perfect recipe for productivity, here are a few ways to incorporate it into your own life.

Treating yourself to a good night’s sleep

Sleep is a vital component of health and the ultimate form of self-care. Your body uses it as a time to recover, recharge, and build up energy for the following day. Getting a good, eight-hour night of sleep results in improved memory, cognition, and focus, which prevents feelings of burnout or fatigue and boosts productivity.

A well-rested night of sleep begins with a high-quality mattress. Sitting at a computer for hours on end causes bodily aches and pains, specifically to your lower back and spine. Focus your search on finding the best mattress for back pain to counteract your desk job.

You can also try limiting your caffeine intake, turning any electronics off an hour before you sleep, and doing something relaxing like meditation or reading right before you crawl under the covers.

Spend time outside

Spending a large portion of your day inside can lead to mental fatigue. Take a moment to step outside, breathe some fresh air, and switch up your surroundings. Not only is it a mental refresh, but it’s also a mood booster as well. L. L. Bean’s Work and the Outdoors Survey from 2018 found that approximately 74% of people who work indoors reported better moods when they made time to be outside. Even if you can only escape for a couple of minutes, your brain will thank you for the escape.

Stretch it out

Quick, simple stretches can help ease muscle stiffness and tension from sitting stagnant all day. Stretching increases blood flow through your body, giving your brain a boost of fuel and energy. If you can spare a few minutes, get up out of your chair and engage in full-body stretches like toe-touches and lunges to get your blood flowing. If you can’t step away from your desk, try stretching your arms above your head and twisting from side to side to mimic a full-body stretch.

Break up your day

Taking full advantage of your allotted breaks can reduce a typical work day’s monotony and increase productivity. Fully separating yourself from your job to revel in some personal time throughout the day allows you to return to your tasks with a renewed sense of purpose. Try taking full advantage of your lunch break by using any extra time to go for a walk or listen to a podcast you enjoy. Step outside, stretch your body, and take deep, calculated breaths to break up your day and rejuvenate your brain.

Adopt an indoor plant

A study published in 2015 by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that taking care of an indoor houseplant can have a calming effect on your nervous system. Engaging in consistent care, watering regimens, and silly conversations (proven to stimulate growth) can vastly improve your mood. Pothos and philodendron plants grow in low light conditions and require only occasional watering, making them the perfect office plant to adopt even if you don’t have a green thumb.

Wrap up

Self-care routines are more than a face wash here and a meditative session there. Dedicated self-soothing involved spending time with yourself, checking in, and observing your overarching mood. By allowing yourself time throughout the day to refocus and disengage from menial daily tasks, you can boost your productivity and improve mental health.