The challenges that come along with that climb up the corporate ladder are higher than ever. Demand and competition coupled with a technological work culture that never turns off are creating a stressed and ill workforce. Considering how many hours we can spend working, it is important that we implement self-care practices to keep us healthy and thriving. Many of your self-care practices may take place before work or after work, but here are some simple strategies you can follow while you’re on your grind:
Take breaks: There is a huge myth orbiting the workforce that suggests that you are most productive if you just keep plowing through your work, and, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, our brains work best when we give it time to go into “diffuse mode,” which is a relaxed state. Have you ever had that experience of intentionally taking your mind off a problem or trying to remember something and suddenly the solution or the answer pops into your mind? That is the result of placing your brain in “diffuse mode,” which allowed you to find solutions to problems or come up with new insights. So, even when you are working to meet a deadline or have your head down in a project, make sure you set a timer and take a break from your work at intervals of 60 to 90 minutes. During this time, make sure you get up from your desk and take a few moments to stretch your body and move around.
Set boundaries: The first time you have to say no at work can be quite difficult. For example, suddenly your boss asks you to come to work on your scheduled day off. Implementing a boundary you established for yourself will require you to politely tell her that you while you would love to help, you already scheduled the day off and will not be able to make it into work that day. Initially, this can feel weird or be tricky especially if you worry that this will have a negative impact or that you will not be seen as a team player; however, when you set boundaries you also send a clear message about your self-worth and value.
Hydrate and rejuvenate: Does this seem like an obvious one? Yet, so many people get so caught up in their work, they forget to drink enough water, and that means 6 to 8 glasses a day. What many people don’t know is that symptoms of dehydration include a feeling of sluggishness and a loss of concentration. So, making sure you stay hydrated can actually help your work performance and keep you feeling rejuvenated while you work.
Mindful lunchtime: It’s amazing how much work culture has moved away from taking the time to eat a hearty, healthy meal. What you often find in today’s workforce is employees sitting at their desks mindlessly chowing down their food. Eating a healthy meal in the middle of your work day will have a lasting positive effect on your productivity for the remainder of that day. But, it is also vitally important that you focus in on this meal. Do not eat at your desk and do not tap into technology. Take this time to decompress, enjoy the flavors of your food, and use this as a time to fully relax.
Create regular check-ins: One avenue of self-care that is overlooked in the professional world is the need for feedback and growth. Engaging in consistent opportunities to learn and improve your performance with a trusted manager or mentor can provide you with a sense of growth and purpose in your work. Making this a regular practice can also help you avoid any potential problems before they even start.
– Cynthia Santiago, empowerment coach and founder of Latina Wellness