Self-care is essential for everyone, and it’s equally crucial for professionals.
Perhaps, it’s the end of another work week or the beginning of a new one, and you’re mentally and physically drained. You’ve been working long hours, and your to-do list is only getting longer.
You’re better equipped to handle work demands when you’re taking care of yourself. That’s why we’ve put together a list of professional self-care ideas to help you make the most of your time at work.
Whether you want to take a break during your work day or do something to relax before bed, implementing these tips into your self-care plan can make a world of difference!
Why should you practice self-care at work?
Practicing self-care with work in mind can make a huge difference in your professional life.
First and foremost, when you take care of yourself, you’re better able to take care of business.
Self-care can help improve your focus, concentration, and productivity at work. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, two common challenges professionals face.
We all have heard of the Sunday scaries or can relate to the feeling of dread when thinking of work on Monday morning. But, if you start your work week off on the right foot with some self-care, you may find that those Monday mornings are a little brighter.
Let’s get to some self-care activities that are good to do in our downtime or even during work!
Healthy practices to improve your work life in the best way
1. Take a bubble bath
On days when work causes your stress levels to rise unexpectedly, sometimes the best way to reset is by taking a relaxing bubble bath. Dim the lights, light candles, and add your favorite soothing aromatherapy.
A warm bath will help you relax your mind and body so you can be refreshed and recharged for work tomorrow.
2. Use calming essential oils
Throughout your work day, roll some essential oil to sensory points on your body to promote a sense of calm. Some great essential oils for relaxation are lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang. I found this great set by UpNature and would roll some on my wrists before an intense conference call or moments leading up to a big presentation with colleagues.
One of the best things about having the essential oil scent on your wrists is that you can fan the aroma towards you and take a few deep breaths when needed throughout the day for some mental self-care.
3. Save some funny videos to watch later
In between heavy tasks, take out your phone and watch videos that not just put a smile on your face but make you laugh.
Save the videos from your most popular social media platform and categorize them into a “funny” folder. This way, you have many videos to watch when you need a mental break. Laughter is the best medicine and a great way to reduce stress.
4. Plan an outing with co-workers
Need some social self-care? Planning a get-together outside work with your colleagues is a great way to reduce stress, have fun, and build relationships. It’s the type of self-care many of us could use when work keeps us chained to our desks.
Whether going to a Himalayan salt cave or a comedy show together, getting out and about with the people you work with can do wonders for your professional life.
5. Make time to get fresh air
As part of your daily routine, whether at work in a formal office or at home where you work remotely, make it a point to get some fresh air. You can get some fresh air by going for a walk during your lunch break or working from a local coffee shop instead of your home office.
Inhaling fresh air and taking in some vitamin D from the sun can work wonders for your mental and physical health – two things essential for a successful professional life, bloomer.
6. Regularly engage in stretches
The best form of self-care has a lot to do with taking care of your body and little to do with your work life. That’s why engaging in regular stretches, whether sitting at a desk all day or running around meetings, is crucial.
To prevent strain on your body, take a few minutes each day to do some neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and standing side stretches. These simple exercises will help reduce the tension in your body so you can feel more relaxed when getting back to work.
7. Make yoga a part of your weekly routine
If the above physical self-care tip wasn’t enough, add this one to your professional self-care routine: yoga. Yoga has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving flexibility and mobility, and promoting better sleep.
If finding a local yoga class becomes too difficult, there are a ton of BIPOC yoga instructors we’ve recommended right here on the blog.
8. Incorporate more healthy foods
There are many ways to look after your professional self-care, but one of the most important is the food you eat. When you’re busy at work, it can be easy to indulge in unhealthy foods that give you a quick burst of energy but then leave you feeling sluggish later on.
Instead, try to incorporate more healthy foods into your daily life. Consult with a dietitian to learn more about what your body needs, but some general tips include eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and reducing your intake of processed foods.
9. Plan a spa day on the same day at least once a month
There doesn’t have to be a special occasion to warrant you taking care of your own health. A spa day should be something you do should do regularly.
Set aside at least one day each month to do something for yourself. Go somewhere to get a massage or lock in a membership at a day spa so you can access its facilities whenever you need it.
10. Plan your meals out for the week
Taking small steps by meal planning will reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen each night and help you make healthier choices when you’re feeling famished and are more likely to make impulsive decisions.
When you have a plan, you’re less likely to order takeout or stop at the drive-thru on your way home from work. You’ll save both money and time by doing a little meal prep at the beginning of each week. If you’re looking for a meal to help maintain high energy levels at work, I recommend Fitlife foods.
11. Seek a mental health professional
Finding a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, but I know that being proactive regarding your mental health is imperative. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed about work, it’s vital to seek professional help.
Many people have found success in therapy or counseling and discovered that it improved their emotional health. If you don’t have the time or money to see a professional, consider talking to a close friend or family member about your feelings.
12. Go for a mindful walk
When was the last time you stopped to appreciate your surroundings truly? It might be time for a mindful walk if you can’t remember.
Mindful walking is a form of mindfulness meditation that involves paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations while you walk. This can be a great way to reduce stress, improve your mood, and boost your creativity.
13. Create a mini-weekly vision board
If you’re having trouble staying motivated at work, it might be time to create a mini-weekly vision board. Goal setting through a vision board can be a small collection of images, quotes, or affirmations that inspire you to stay focused on your goals.
Hang your vision board in a place where you’ll see it often, such as your desk, locker, or wall. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.
14. Prioritize getting adequate sleep
One of the most self-care practices I can give is prioritizing getting enough sleep. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night, but many of us don’t get that much.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try a few things, such as reading before bed, avoiding caffeine in the evening, and establishing a regular sleep schedule.
15. Advocate for yourself
When I was up against the wall, completely burnt out from taking on too much at work, I knew that advocating for myself in my day-to-day life was something I had to start doing.
This doesn’t mean being rude or unprofessional, but it does mean setting boundaries and communicating your needs to your boss or supervisor. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, speak up and ask for help.
16. Listen to a podcast during your breaks or work commute
Podcasts are a great way to learn something new or be entertained while commuting to and from work. These same podcasts kept me from calling in or turning around when my workplace was the last place I wanted to be.
There are podcasts on nearly every topic, so you’re sure to find one that interests you. If you need help, check out our self-care podcasts or ones for BIPOC women to listen to.
Engaging in regular self-care activities will help your professional development
By implementing some or all of these professional self-care ideas into your work week, you will not only improve your work-life balance but also find that you’re more productive and creative at work.
If not for relying on these self-care strategies, I don’t know where I would be in my professional journey. If you’re struggling to keep up with work demands, take a step back and re-evaluate your self-care routine. It just might be what you need to get back on track.
Do you have any professional self-care tips that have helped you in your career?