While you may see self-care as an activity that takes place outside of work, it’s important that we care for our mental health during business hours as well. Stress, burnout and anxiety not only affect us when we’re at home, they can also take a toll on our performance and capabilities on the job. So how can we practice self-care at work?

Here are four simple steps to follow:

Define your challenges

Before we can solve a problem, we first have to define it. Take some time to think about what it is at your work that impacts your mental health. Are the hours too long? Are you under resourced? Is your workload too high? Write each one down.

Create your self-care plan

Once you have the issues written down, think about steps you can take to manage your mental health in these scenarios. For example, if you have a stressful meeting that you need to attend every day, set aside some time to take a short walk or meditation break afterwards.

Put the plan in action

Now that you have your self-care plan, it’s time to put it into action. If you feel comfortable, speak to your manager and explain your challenges and why you want to take better care of your mental health.

Incorporate your self-care plan into your workday. If you’ve decided on a 10-minute meditation break each morning, schedule it in your calendar. If you want to try exercising during your lunch break, pack your exercise gear and bring it to work with you.

Protect your time

Roadblocks to your self-care will arise — you may be called into a meeting when your meditation was scheduled, you may be required to work late when you had planned on going to an exercise class. While these often can’t be avoided, don’t lose sight of your priorities. Reschedule your self-care, and let your coworkers know that you’re unavailable during that time.

By continuing to take care of your mental health and proactively practicing self-care, you’ll find that you feel happier, calmer and more capable while at work.

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