Work and self-care are often seen as competing forces. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can combine work and self-care to reduce stress, feel inspired, and make our days richer and more fulfilling. If you already have a self-care routine at home or at the gym, then you know how it can make you feel happier and more in tune with yourself and your needs. So try incorporating these expert-backed easy moves into your workday as well. They’ll help you shake off motivation killers like anxiety and stress and give you the tools to thrive from nine to five. Here are ways to feel energized, calm, and well taken care of while you work.
Mindfulness has stress-reducing benefits and an overall positive effect on mental health. Even a single session of mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety. You can incorporate it into your workday in small ways: Take a slow, deep breath after clicking send on every email. Spare several minutes paying attention to the little things around you: an object on your desk, such as a photo of your family or a small plant. Or pop in your headphones and listen to a guided meditation.
Rethink your lunch hour
The hour you take for lunch is sacred—that’s not news to you. What may be a surprise: Lunch doesn’t have to be about food. Think of lunch as a personal hour and see how it changes for you. Sure, make it about eating with friends if that’s restorative for you. But if you’d rather use the time to pause the mental treadmill of the workday, do that. Then, eat at your desk when you’re done.
Recharge and reboot
Stay attuned to your energy levels. For most busy professionals, getting eight hours of sleep every night is (sadly) not realistic. But it’s important to at least try to refill your gas tank during the week, so designate a Wednesday or Thursday night to get in some extra sleep. And it’s equally important to build restoration breaks into your workday. For example, try scheduling more walking meetings, or make a point of having lunch away from your desk.
Update your workspace
Our environment and workspace can have a significant impact on productivity. Gain more mental clarity by cleaning up your desk. Put up pictures, artwork, or images that inspire you or remind you of the people and things that matter. Your workspace should feel like a reflection of your best self.
Self-care should not be on hold Monday through Friday. The idea that you can beat yourself up during the work week and recover in a flurry of wellness pampering over the weekend is an all-too-common myth. Your work and self-care don’t have to be separate. Rebalance with some career care and watch your work life improve dramatically.
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