How to practice self-care at work

Our generation has a reputation at work for being entitled, flip flopping between jobs, and demanding crazy perks around free beer, nap rooms and letting our doggos into the office. But in actual fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, millennials (people born between 1982 and 2004) are workaholics and are less likely to use vacation time.

I was once a complete testament to this. Waking up at 2am stressed from my workload, going into work early and leaving late, not taking sick or holiday leave and therefore being too drained for socialising. People would say to just quit. But the problem is that sometimes you love your job, no matter the stress or fast paced nature, or sometimes you have to stick it out until a better offer comes along.

Feeling the same way too? It’s time to find a bit of balance that will help your mental health and even your work performance.

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Give yourself a hard out

With the exception of last minute deadlines or issues, create a routine of checking out by a certain time every day. I used pilates as an excuse for my out - if I cancelled or didn’t show up I would get a fine - so I had to leave. Exercising after work also helped me get some of the tension I had built up and the endorphins were a nice little hit before going home.

Sometimes I would be too tired to workout and actually not be booked in and go home. But because I was firm with this routine, it was respected and I respected my body to rest.

Regularly stand up

I would find excuses to get up from my desk, at least every couple of hours. It’s a great way to reset your  brain and step away from the impending doom of your inbox.

Ideas: do water bottle rounds with your friends and walk to the kitchen together, instead of calling or emailing someone internal actually walk to them and chat (this was great when they’re on a different level and builds stronger working relationships), wait to get your coffee later in the morning and go for a walk with friends to the corner to get it, make yourself a cup of tea or take the long way to get to the bathrooms.

Utilise your breaks effectively

I’m one of those people that foodprep every Sunday, and bring a packed lunch every day to work. This is great for the financial and health aspects, but people who have to buy their lunch always get a consistent excuse to leave the office and normally will then linger to get back and just hang at the cafe.

I made the call that when my team members left to buy their food, I would go for a walk around the block. This is flexible with what time permits - 10 to 20 mins was the norm. It’s the perfect way clear your thoughts and get the blood moving around your body again. This sometimes means having to eat at your desk, but it’s worth it for the fresh air.

Listen to something

Music has a profound impact on our moods, you can listen to it on your lunch time walk or even at your desk. Make specific playlists for work, like a chill music one, sassy RnB or your old teenage favourites (because our brains love nostalgia).

You can also listen to podcasts. I love Gary Vee when I needed some motivation but other favourites are; The Skinny Confidential Him & Her, Offline, Girlboss Radio, The Health Code or the Morning Toast (for everything on current pop culture).

Support your body

Looking after your wellbeing is the ultimate foundation of self care! Make yourself a healthy balanced lunch of protein, good fats and complex carbs, which will help your brain power and energy to get through the entire day. If you are really feeling like your energy levels are struggling, see a Naturopath. They can give you herbal tablets to help support your body through stress and assist with energy. And finally, do some subtle desk stretches so your back, neck and shoulders don’t hate you.

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Zen your habitat

Add some calming aspects to your desk; add a plant (it cleans the air for you which is a fine), add a Himalayan Salt Lamp (improves air quality, can boost your mood and help you to relax), or even an essential oil diffuser to either pep you up, or chill you out (think citrus or lavender).

Reduce unnecessary stress

Yes our jobs can be stressful, but sometimes it can be self inflicted. Do you keep on forgetting things which causes your day to spiral? Write down a to-do list when you first arrive, or better yet, journal during your morning routine at home so you can be clear on what you need to do for the day. I like to have my list sitting on my desk, so if my manager tries to handball me another task, they can see the giant list I already have to do (sneaky, huh).

Create a healthy relationship with emails

Manage your inbox: I like to save every work related email into folders (I have them based on internal departments and external company names). Yes I’m a bit OCD, but my inbox is clear and I have everything recorded on file in case there’s any mix-ups or confusion from different people.

Connect with others

Strong interpersonal relationships are critical to health and longevity. Take five minutes in the morning to say ‘hi’ to your co-workers. Take 10 minutes to grab coffee with whoever you can drag out in the morning. Make an effort to make an appearance at a happy hour or a birthday occasion. You can keep your personal and professional life separate but it does help to have some allies.

Practice emotional boundaries

There’s always someone that constantly complains about other people, about their workload or even the air conditioning. Or there’s that stressed individual that loves to self-project their own insecurities on to others. Don’t hang out with the Debby Downers. With these people you need to create boundaries. .Their negative thoughts and vibes are going to influence yours (see: our guide for Law of Attraction for Modern Women to read why we should try to remain positive).