Work. For many people, “work” is a dirty little four-letter word associated with stress and misery. Sadly, work is something many of us endure rather than enjoy. What if the goal was not to survive but actually thrive at work?
Thriving requires a commitment to self-care — and not just after work or on weekends. In order to thrive personally and professionally, we can create habits that support our well-being while we are at work. After all, work is where most of us spend the majority of our waking hours.
The first step is to get organized. Self-care does not happen by accident. Make a list of goals and activities and gradually begin re-shaping your work day. Keep in mind that it generally takes 21 days to create new habits or make lasting change. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
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Hydrate yourself — Most of us drink too little water. Buy a large water bottle and add sliced lemons or essential oils. Set reminders on your phone or calendar to ensure that you drink 48 ounces of infused water every day.
Take a lunch break — As tempting as it can be to work through the lunch hour, use this time to unplug from technology and rejuvenate. Take a walk, meet a friend for lunch, hop on your bike or, if possible, take a fitness class. Packing a healthy lunch saves money and allows time for other activities that can help you thrive.
Stock up on healthy snacks — Rather than running to the nearest vending machine or coffee shop for an afternoon pick me up, stock your desk with protein rich foods to increase focus and stabilize blood sugar. Drink herbal teas in the afternoon to ensure you sleep well.
Connect with people — Social connection is linked to improved health and happiness. Share lunch with one or two colleagues or participate in company activities. Be interested in others. Take time to connect in ways that feel authentic and enriching for you.
Advocate for your needs — Whether you need an ergonomic assessment of your work station, a different lighting option or a flexible work schedule — ask! Don’t be shy about creating a healthy work situation for yourself. This signals to your boss that you are committed to working happily and successfully.
Craft your job — If you are longing for new challenges, be proactive in seeking training, shadowing and job enrichment activities. Employees who are continually learning and growing are much happier (i.e. likely to stick around) than those who let themselves become stagnant and bored.
Get moving — A step tracking tool helps increase activity. If you have a desk job, get creative in looking for ways to add steps to your day. Gentle stretching at your desk is another way to practice self-care and reduce tension.
Create an inspiring workspace — Your desk or office should reflect your commitment to self-care and wellbeing. An orderly and beautiful workspace can increase creativity and instill a sense of calm — even when work gets stressful.
Breathe — Set a calendar reminder to take five deep breaths several times a day. The simple act of breathing deeply does wonders to reduce stress, increase brain function and re-set our attitudes.
These are just a few ideas. Take time to create your own wellness plan. By focusing on self-care throughout the work day, your productivity and energy will rise and your overall job satisfaction will increase. No more survival mode. It is time to thrive.
Make 2018 the year in which you choose to work in happy and healthy ways.
Carrie Pinsky is a freelance writer, job-search coach and training specialist. Reach her at Pink Sky Counseling and Career Services, 970-225-0772 or www.pink-sky.net.