You’re tired as an over-worked racehorse when you get home from work. All you want to do is lay down and sleep for oh, say… two days. Ha! Not going to happen! It feels like your job is constantly nipping at your heels. What about finding a reprieve at home? Forget it. You’re likely just as overwhelmed there, too.
If you’ve gotten into the habit of blowing off a meal or skipping your workouts, all while burning the midnight oil, you’re making a beeline for personal disaster. You’re going to crash. It’s a matter of if but a matter of when. How do you keep work from eating you alive?
Okay, okay, so, “self-care” sounds like some fluffy, woohoo practice. It’s not.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” So, WTF does that mean? Could it be any vaguer? Let’s take the WHO out of the equation and really look at this closely – what is self-care?
Self-care is simple. It encompasses a few basics that, when added all up, make you a much happier, more centered person. A person that can function well at work and still have bandwidth for the important stuff at home. A person that can find the right balance. What are these magic ingredients to sanity? There are four main ones: Lifestyle, nutrition, hygiene and environmental factors.
When it comes down to it, self-care is making sure you’re taking adequate care of your body and mind so that you can stop worrying about the small stuff. This flows back and forth between your personal and work life, making you a much more solid person.
Therefore it’s so important to take care of yourself at work, too, since you spend the majority of your day there. So how do you practice self-care at work?
Here are ten ideas on how to add some self-care into your work life:
- Get up, stretch, and move
- Snack smartly (nutrition plays a huge role in your ability to cope with stress)
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Journal for one minute about a positive experience at work each day
- Take a walk during the lunch break
- Make a playlist that motivates you
- Write down three things that you are grateful for at work
- Give yourself an activity away from the computer every once in a while
- Do some power poses
- Have lunch with co-workers outside the office
It is good to care about others, but you should not forget to care for yourself too. This means doing the things you enjoy and making time to do them every day. For example, one of my favorite things to do to decompress is pick up a good read.
I know it sounds cliché but getting lost in a book is my favorite form of self-care. I don’t have that much time to read but I sneak in 10 minutes here and there — after a meeting, on the plane, before bed… it’s my guilty pleasure. It also makes me feel like my life isn’t just about work and other people.
Taking care of yourself should be your priority. It will allow you to more easily fulfill the needs of everyone around you, be it at work or in your personal life. Get in the habit of making self-care a regular part of your day. You’ll be surprised by the results.