self care at work

Wellbeing diaries: 5 ways to take care of yourself at work

To maintain a high level of productivity and to strike a balance between inner peace and work satisfaction, self-care at work is important.

Recently I spent a weekend watching an all-time favourite Bollywood flick. In one of the scenes, the male protagonist strums his guitar in office while a soothing background song plays, leading to interesting conversations. In real life, the scene would play out very differently. Workplaces are simply not what are seen on celluloid screens. People often come back late at night from work, have a hurried dinner and crash into their beds. The pattern continues as deadlines of important projects keep coming up. There is practically no time to catch up with loved ones and work is all you are thinking about all the time.

In recent times, work has become even more self-absorbing, leaving us with very little time to chase our passions or have a decent social calendar. Taking holidays too prove to be challenging, toppling our work life balance further. Such a long-drawn slogging proves detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing, leading to burnout in extreme cases.

So it is time to pause, think and reorganize ourselves so that work does not take over our entire life. Self-care at work is as much important as it is in our personal life. Often work takes the biggest chunk of our daily life. To meet deadlines or surpass productivity expectations, we commit to more work than what our body permits. The resultant stress creates havoc on our physical as well as mental health. Remember, there is more to life than being neck deep in work.

There are studies which substantiate that self-care is not just a fad, it is a necessity born out of our stressful lives. A study in 2020 found that 73% Americans have become more conscious about practicing self-care whereas 69% responded that they plan to incorporate more self-care into their routine than before.

Self-care not only induces quality and efficiency at work, but it also starts affecting other spheres positively – like healthy relationships and mutually beneficial behavioural patterns. So, join us in exploring 5 ways of practicing self-care at work.

Take exercising breaks

Being too engrossed in work makes us slouch and as a result, our body posture suffers. This puts a huge strain on the muscles and nerves of our shoulders and back. Cervical spondylosis is one of the most common lifestyle disorders that affect the white-collar workers in the world. If you have a sedentary job, make sure to get up after every 30-40 minutes. Take a walk, indulge in light warm-ups and move outdoors to soak in some sunshine.

If your work makes you sit through a major part of the day, it is a wise idea to start the day with an exercise of your choice. You can combine meditative practise and breathing with your exercising schedule to gain focus and a relaxed and calm mind along with an agile body.

Carry home-made snacks

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear,” said the eternal teacher Gautam Buddha. What you eat through the day affects your mental as well as physical state. When you are at your workplace, eating junk and unhealthy food can prove to be tempting. With co-workers indulging in not so healthy food and beverages, your own health and balanced eating habit can often go for a toss.

So try and start the day with a healthy and balanced meal. Devote a few minutes in the morning to plan your meals for the day to maintain your eating schedule as well as ensure that you are eating well. With a little extra effort, you can even prepare and pack home-made snacks of your choice for the day. This way, the stress of deadlines, marathon calls or meetings at the workplace will not throw your eating schedule out of gear. With home-made food in your bag, you can save yourself from consuming unhealthy food at work as well.

Engage in friendly conversations

While you get up to take a break from work for either exercise or snacks, it is always a good idea to catch up with co-workers. But remember to take a break from work related topics and engage in friendly conversations instead. Friendly chit chat without indulging in gossip can be a wonderful way to rejuvenate yourself in a work environment. Doing so not just breaks the monotony of work but also allows you to listen to another perspective and share some camaraderie.

This self-care tip can be a ground breaking one for success in one’s career too. A rich social interaction helps in building a bridge to communicate and collaborate on the work front. A friendly conversation revolves around getting to know people, gaining attention and positive vibes, adding to a meaningful experience.

Learn to say no

Imagine your platter already full of work. Now, you are heaped with some more tasks. A firm but polite refusal to accept work beyond what you can juggle is a form of self-care at work. Neither you nor your seniors will appreciate dwindling productivity on your part. Maintaining boundaries to safeguard your quality and efficiency of output is an essential life hack one must master.

For instance, if a co-worker needs you to pitch in while he is away, you should help only if your time permits. Accepting work beyond your responsibilities can only be regarded as healthy when you can justify your work without compromising on your work life balance.

Take it professionally, not personally

Maintaining a high degree of professionalism at work is another form of self-care. Even if your idea is not accepted and your hard work fails to make a mark one time, you should accept it professionally and move on to better work. Remember that one time does not become a personal comment on your abilities.

Indeed, for success and wellbeing at work, ‘not taking it personally’ makes one better prepared in protecting oneself emotionally as very often, incidents at work get demanding, even threatening one’s inner peace at times. Filtering out adverse emotions can make one more engaged and help perform objectively better.

Self-care at work is an important tool in being successful professionally. Only when you can master this skill can you truly aim for the elusive ‘work-life balance’.




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