6 Ways Young People Can Incorporate Self-Care into the Workplace in 2022
Ugh… take care of yourself… again! It seems that whenever you complain about feeling stressed or overwhelmed, the response is always, “You need more self-care.” It comes up so often that it’s easy to just ignore that person, nod your head, and go back to ruminating on work.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what self-care really is. It’s not taking bubble baths or taking long walks alone on the beach contemplating life. Self-care is simply the act of taking care of yourself. It’s a state of mind. You must believe that self-care will benefit you in some way AND that you deserve to put work, family, partners – everything in your life – first and make time for yourself.
Don’t skip this step because it’s important that you give yourself permission to put yourself first over everyone and everything else in your life. You are not selfish or narcissistic in putting your needs first; it means you recognize that you are human and that you can only be at your best when you take good care of yourself and your needs.
Now that you’ve given yourself permission to take better care of yourself, the next step is to figure out exactly what you need. This is an opportunity for you to start taking care of yourself in your life while helping you identify specifically what makes you feel overwhelmed and the habits and behaviors that help you the most.
Here are six quick and easy self-care exercises you can start using today and how best to incorporate them into your daily life:
1. Just take a five-minute break
It may seem obvious, but ask yourself, “When was the last time I took five minutes to just rest?” You probably take breaks throughout your day, but what do you do? Are you browsing social networks, paying a bill, calling a relative or friend? While these things aren’t work-related, they’re not really a “break.”
Set a timer on your phone and when the timer goes off, stop what you are doing and step away from your desk and sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Check with yourself. How are you feeling right now? What are you thinking about? What do you feel in your body? After the five minutes are up, go back to work.
2. Go out
Again, this may seem pretty obvious, but studies have shown that getting outside in nature is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Exposure to nature reduces stress, improves your attention span, improves your mental health and can even help increase your empathy. Even if you live in the middle of a metropolitan area, just getting outside, breathing fresh air, feeling the wind on your face will help clear your mind and allow you to return to work with a new attitude. .
Look at your calendar for the week and identify at least two to three days a week when you have 30 to 45 minutes open and plan your free time. Treat it like any other date and respect that time and space for yourself.
3. Take the stairs, take a walk, just move your body
If your job requires you to sit all day, it can be hard to find time to move. Often the thought of putting on workout clothes and hitting the gym can seem impossible, so you want to find every opportunity in your daily life to move your body. If you’re going to be on the phone for a while, take a walk outside or around your house. If you need to do laundry, be sure to walk up and down the stairs in your building.
This one can be harder to plan, so be sure to look at your schedule at the start of each day and identify an opportunity or two to move your body. The more you do it, the more new ways you will find to move your body.
4. Notice what you eat and drink
There’s an acronym that mental health professionals use – HALT – when a person feels overwhelmed and stressed and doesn’t know what to do. It signifies hunger, anger, loneliness, fatigue. Notice the first is hunger. Not eating enough, eating too much sugar, or drinking too much coffee not only affects your body, but also your mental health.
Take out a diary and write down everything you eat and drink for three days, and how you feel one hour after each meal. After these three days, you will begin to notice where and when you eat too much, not enough, or foods that make you sleepy or excited. These are your clues to the habits you may need to change. Before you make a bunch of changes, pick a habit like eliminating that second cup of coffee or finding ways to eat an extra serving of vegetables each day.
5. Recognize your accomplishments
Self-care isn’t just about eating, moving your body and exercising more, it’s also about how you talk to yourself. One of the reasons people are anxious and overwhelmed at work is because they feel like they’re not performing well enough or feel really underappreciated by their superiors. It’s important that you learn to be your biggest cheerleader, because unfortunately most managers and bosses tend to only recognize your performance when something is wrong.
Start collecting emails, notes, and performance reviews where someone sings your praises. Every time someone sends you a message that makes you feel good about yourself and your job, record it. Whenever you start feeling bad at work or wondering, “What am I doing here? open this file and re-read all these notes to remind yourself of all that you have accomplished.
6. Create a “stop” routine
Cal Newport, author of several books including, Digital minimalism has a nice end to the routine of the working day. Newport will take five to ten minutes at the end of his day to check all his notes, emails, and calendar to make sure his to-dos list is up to date and nothing is missing. He scans this list and his calendar and jots down anything that seems urgent so he knows to tackle that task first. He then turns off his computer and repeats the phrase “Scheduled shutdown completed”. If he has a work-related thought or starts to worry that he missed something, he remembers that he checked everything and he knows that once he says that sentence, there is no nothing to fear.
You can adopt Newport’s system or create your own. At the end of the day, make sure you have a list of what needs to be done for the next day. Schedule these tasks throughout the day so that after you leave that 10 a.m. meeting, you know the next thing you’re going to work on, because you’ve already planned it. Create your own phrase that helps you establish the end of the workday and when you feel compelled to get back in line, remember this phrase.
Once you’ve had a chance to try each of these suggestions, determine which or both have helped you the most and been the easiest to incorporate into your life. Self-care is a habit, and like any other habit, it takes time to incorporate into your life. It will feel awkward and uncomfortable at times, and you’ll wonder if “taking that walk in the middle of the day” is really the best use of your time.
Self-care is about being proactive rather than reactive. By practicing self-care regularly, you take control of your life and how you deal with your stress. When you make yourself a priority, you make sure your own cup is full before you go out and help others. You’ll have fewer moments when you feel like you can’t give more of yourself.
One of the reasons many people find it hard to incorporate self-care is that it’s hard to see immediate benefits, so you need to be sure that if you commit to it for 90 days, there will be a payoff. . Be sure to keep noticing how you feel at the end of each day and make changes the next day so you don’t repeat bad habits.
Careers are long and you are going to work a long time so remember work is a marathon, not a sprint and if you don’t take care of yourself along the way and fuel your body and mind you will find it difficult to reach the finish line.
Even better… when someone asks you, “How do you take care of yourself? Do you have the answer !