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Boost Productivity and Lower Stress With Self-Care at the Office

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Self-care has become a buzzword these days and for good reason. It’s about — you guessed it — caring for yourself.

Even the job you love can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical health with its demands.

Learn some practical self-care habits to weave into any office schedule. You’ll prevent and relieve stress, empowering you to be a better you at work

Own your desk space

Your work environment has a huge impact on how you feel. After all, it’s where you spend most of your day. Personalize your desk or cubicle by jazzing it up in ways that bring you joy.

Ask yourself:

  • What inspires my concentration, creativity and productivity?
  • What brings me comfort?
  • What decorations make me feel most like me?

Maybe that includes:

  • Photos of your family and friends
  • A blanket if you work in a cold office
  • Your favorite coffee mug, pens and inspirational quotes

Take a break and move around

Desk work means lots of sitting, which can make your body tight and your brain sluggish. Movement will wake you up and get your blood pumping, so infuse bits of exercise into your day. 

Plus, taking breaks will reboot your body, brain and emotional center, adding to your productivity.
Take short breaks every hour or two:

  • Just printed some documents? Take the long way to the printer.
  • Stop by the water cooler and talk to a co-worker.
  • Walk up and down the stairs or walk the parking lot.
  • Learn some stretches you can do at your workspace.

Make the break rejuvenating, and don’t forget to breathe with purpose — in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Don’t overlook a healthy diet

It’s amazing what you can overlook when you’re feeling stressed. You can lose sight of basic needs like eating and drinking water. What you eat and drink affects your mood and brain power. Drink lots of water throughout the day and set reminders on your phone if you need to.

Time your caffeine intake for maximum health and productivity. If you typically wake up at 6:30 a.m., elect for coffee or antioxidant-rich green tea between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., when your cortisol (stress hormone) level is lower and you won’t feel as jittery.

Avoid the jolt-and-crash by steering clear of sugary snacks. Instead, try healthy fats, proteins and high-fiber, unprocessed carbs like fruit.

Eating healthy is not just about the food you eat, but where you eat it. Don’t eat at your desk or in the middle of the office. Set a clear boundary between lunch and work to make this break about you and as relaxing as possible.

Avoid negativity

What we consume also applies to conversations with co-workers. Although it’s important to support your colleagues, especially when they’re struggling with personal and professional difficulties, know your limits.

Bend your ear to co-workers who need a safe space to vent, but put a time stamp on any complaining sessions, especially when they happen frequently. That includes airing your own.

If you consume too much negativity, you’ll likely feel more negative, too, which will only drain your energy and motivation. 

Self-care starts with you

Self-care starts with checking in on yourself. Consider these questions when evaluating self-care measures:
  • What do I need right now?
  • What is my body telling me to do?
  • Why am I on edge?
  • Why do I feel happy today?
  • Which self-care measures are working?

You may not incorporate all these self-care tips right away. And that’s OK. Go easy on yourself and begin to build habits that work best for you.

And if you’re struggling to make your job work for you, consider searching for a new one that feeds your energy and fuels your satisfaction.