Take Five: How To Practice Self Care At Work
First things first, let’s establish this: Self care isn’t selfish. After all, you can’t be the best boss, worker, partner, friend or parent if you aren’t first taking care of yourself. Not only can self care improve your quality of life,but also your quality of work; there is plenty of research out there that shows it boosts productivity.
“There has really been a revolution around people becoming aware that if don’t take good care of yourself, you’re not going to be a great team member, and you can’t show up in the way that you want to [for others],” says Alexia Brue, Co-Founder and Publisher at Well+Good. “Smart employers are realizing that people who have time to take care of themselves is good for business.”
There are many aspects to wellness, and it’s a growing industry. “The wellness industry is a $4.7 trillion market, and it’s really thinking through everything from your mental to physical well being,” says Marissa Aydlett, SVP Marketing at Braze. Here are five ideas to integrate self care into your work routine, courtesy of wellness experts in the Girls’ Lounge at Advertising Week.
- Put self care on your calendar just like any other appointment. “Putting [self care] on your calendar and treating it like any other appointment is really important,” says Alexia. “Don’t let it be the thing that gets cancelled every time life gets busy. Even with [apps like] Slack and clients expecting to hear from us in real time, I think there are so many things that are in our control when it comes to making time for ourselves. If you push back on people and make it clear this time on your calendar is sacred, they will respect that.”
- Take care of your mind as well as your body. “Think about how you can take care of your mind the same way that you’re thinking about taking care of your body,” says Kara Gustafson, Head of Community Impact at SoulCycle. “If your mind is healthy, you can be your full version of yourself—whether you’re at home or work. You feel more fulfilled and people around you pick up on that. Great ideas often come from carving out time to take care of your emotional well being.” You might start with a five-minute daily timeout at work to become more mindful of how you’re feeling, whether it’s by meditating, journaling, or doing something else that creates space for reflection.
- De-prioritize the stuff that doesn’t matter. You can’t fit in everything every day, but you can find time for the things that matter most, such as self care. “I de-prioritize things I don’t care about and let myself have a pass in those areas,” says Kalliope White, Senior Director and Chief of Staff at Maven Clinic. “I don’t cook every night or do my laundry as often as I should, but I make time to workout.” When it comes to your workday, think about something you can move to the bottom of your list, such as creating detailed meeting agendas in advance, in order to focus on doing more of what you love, such as building client relationships.
- Practice self forgiveness and have open conversations. “It’s okay to forgive yourself and acknowledge your shortcomings,” says Molly Lisenco, Senior Manager, Customer Support at Braze. “It’s a hard struggle, because we’re all going through a tough time in society right now…there are aspects of self care you can practice in your everyday life that are just so vital for releasing some of the built-up stress because you don’t feel heard…For me, it’s about having conversations about these feelings that we’ve been hiding for so long.”
- Don’t apologize. “Let go of the guilt that often comes with taking care of yourself, such as I need to do six more meetings before I can go workout or take the time for reflecting on my own ideas,” says Kara. “The workplace needs to be modernized so we think more deliberately about how we need to…create space in our lives.”
Remember, putting yourself in the equation should not be something that’s one and done, or practiced only when you’re reaching burnout status. Regularly check in with yourself so you can tune into what you need. You’ll not only be helping yourself, but also your team at work because a better “me” leads to a better “we.”
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