If you read my story, you know what led me to my journey into mindfulness and self-care was the realization that I was suffering in the workplace, and it was killing me. Literally. The stress was showing up in my body and really in my entire life. I will not be regaling you again with that story. You can check it out on my website in the “About Deborah” section. The fact of the matter is that I was pushing myself with no consideration for my self-care. That is not sustainable. At that time there was a culture of the more you did, the more stressed out you were, the more you had on your plate, the later and more hours you worked, the more valuable you were seen to be to the organization. You were seen as more valuable if you could heap more on your plate without letting on that you were stressed or overwhelmed. Never let them see you sweat.
I am grateful the current trend today seems to be more focused on wholeness and care of the employee. There is increasing recognition that in order to bring our best selves to the workplace, we must be able to balance the needs of the organization with the needs of the individual. Organizations are beginning to offer employees opportunities and support for self-care practices in the workplace. It is good business. Employers have come to recognize that promoting wellness and self-care in the workplace leads to stronger morale, more productivity, less stress, and increased motivation for employees.
After I became aware importance of self-care, I was then able to take steps to support my self-care in all areas of my life. Awareness is key. When you become aware you understand when one area is suffering it touches the other areas of our lives. When we are not living in balance, we find there is increased opportunity for stress and “dis-ease.” We cannot bring our full selves along with all our talents to the table when we are stressed and not taking care of ourselves. I am going to share four key elements to be considered to support your self-care in the workplace…
You may remember from last week that the optimal self-care practice includes the mind, body, and spirit. Making your physical health a priority allows the space for you to address the other elements of your well-being. Take particular care to attend to your body by giving it what it needs in terms of health, nutrition, and other elements to allow you to perform optimally. Think about how hard it is to accomplish a task when you have a raging headache. It will serve you best to address any issues with your health in a timely manner so they can be resolved as quickly as possible. Proactively care for your health and well-being with good nutrition, exercise, and other well-being practices supports this as well. Make it a priority!
Your emotional well-being or as is often called, emotional resilience is vital to your success in the workplace. This is key to doing your absolute best at work and supporting yourself, maintaining supportive relationships at work, and staying motivated. To do this you should allow yourself to feel your full range of emotions. Create practices that allow you to feel your emotions, identify the source and manage the emotions so they can support you in your work and relationships. Having the awareness also allow you to let go of any unnecessary stress and worry.
Challenging yourself by learning new skills. Find ways to stimulate your brain. We should never stop finding interesting ways to challenge ourselves mentally. The important thing is to create a habit of continuing to stretch and expand your knowledge. Creating a practice of stretching and growing what you know is mental self-care that will serve you in the workplace and in all areas of your life.
Give Yourself Some Love
I have spent a lot of time communicating that self-care is more than just splurging and indulging yourself. I would be remiss however if I did not point out that is also an essential element of your self-care. Making sure you stay “loved up” allows you to be better prepared to address any challenges that come to you in the workplace. Treating yourself validates and supports your self-worth and boosts your self-esteem. I often think of these activities as filling up my cup so I can share my love with others.
Self-care in the workplace can be supported in so many ways. Here are a few suggestions to get you started…
- Create a Zen space. Be intentional about creating a relaxing space. Even changing your screensaver to nature scenes or a picture place or thing that brings you peace.
- Plan down time. Do not eat at your desk. Take a quick walk during your break, go to the gym, connect with friends and family and even colleagues. This is your time to refresh.
- Meditate at key times throughout your day. I suggest before you walk into the office in the morning, one minute or so of silence before meetings, and several small breaks to reset during the day.
- Leave work at work. When you are at work bring your whole self to be present at work. But when you leave work intentionally disconnect. I need to get better at this. No-work zones and times, etc. make sure that you can separate from work in order to be present in other areas of your life.
- Make love not war! What I really mean is make connections at work. Make time in your day to develop close relationships in the workplace. Everything is better with friends and can make your work experience more fulfilling.
- Take some time to think about what would support you in the workplace. It could be as simple as leaving for work 30 minutes early or setting aside specific times throughout the day to focus on returning emails.
Of course, we have only scratched the surface of this topic. So, self-care is not a straight line. Right? You will have many twists and turns as you navigate your self-care journey. I invite you to join me in focusing on your self-care practices by participating in our free 21-Day Self-care Challenge starting on Monday. Get registered below to find out more.