For many of us, work is the place we spend the majority of our time! This means that our wellness at work has a huge impact on the rest of our lives–so if our health is being ignored or drained or damaged at work, that’s going to follow us everywhere else we go! That’s why it’s important to find ways to tend to both your physical and mental health while at the workplace.
Physical wellness in the workplace:
There are a lot of obstacles in the workplace to our physical health. Of course, these will vary depending on what type of workplace you have, but every job no matter what it is has both physical and mental health considerations that need to be considered.
If you’re working in an office for instance, consider your posture. Just sitting at your desk all day can bring up a whole host of considerations. Do you slouch? Do you have a chair that supports your back? How is your hand positioned–do you get soreness in your wrist from how you need to use your computer keyboard, or other expressions of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Think also about how your time is broken up throughout the day. Many of us can get sucked into focusing too hard, and going too long without breaking or listening to what our bodies need. Do you give yourself time to get up and walk around, or do you spend all day hunched over at your desk? Do you give your eyes a break from looking at the computer for 8 hours straight, or do you forget until you leave the office with a headache?
Finding ways to tend to your physical health in the office isn’t as disruptive as it sounds! You don’t need to transform your entire office into a wellness center, you just need to take a few minutes to consider what gets in the way of you leaving the office feeling physically well. And when you’re able to do that, you’re able to take small steps throughout the day to tend to yourself, so nothing gets to a point where it’s too hard to deal with. This in turn, can free up both physical and mental energy, and allow you to be more productive and engaged in your day!
Some ways to tend to your physical wellness in the workplace:
Put them on your to do list or add them into your calendar or set reminders on your phone, but take regular breaks throughout the day! Not just your lunch break–take a few minutes every hour to walk around and stretch your legs. Use that time to step outside and get some fresh air, or grab a snack from the kitchen, refill your water, etc.
Blue light glasses:
If you’re staring at a screen all day, your eyes are going to be tired at the end of the day. You’ll also probably have to deal with frequent headaches.A small switch to blue light glasses can help reduce eye strain and head pain.
Get your desk set up to support proper posture:
You could buy a new desk chair, or even just get a pillow to keep on your desk chair to support your back. It might be hard to get used to, but when you begin to fix your posture, your frequent body aches will die down.
Keep a water bottle at your desk:
Never underestimate the power of being properly hydrated! Most of us don’t drink enough water, so when looking to make small improvements to our lives, that’s a great place to start.
Keep workplace first aid:
Do you get headaches a lot at work? Keep Advil at your desk. If your wrist is frequently aching, get a small heating wrap you can keep on hand for when those aches flare up.
Mental wellness in the workplace:
So how can you tend to your mental health in the workplace? This is something we’re very passionate about! A few ideas of how to take care of your mental health in the workplace include:
Setting + Communicating Clear Boundaries
Boundaries are the key to self care! What is reasonable for your colleagues to expect from you? What is reasonable for you to expect from your colleagues? When will you be available and when won’t you be? Setting and communicating boundaries in the workplace is a great way to protect your mental energy to make sure you don’t burn out.
Practicing Self Compassion:
So many of us are conditioned to link our productivity at work to our value. So when we have a bad day at work, we can’t just write it off as one bad day–it makes us start to think that we’re a problem of some sort. Learning to separate your value from your productivity and to adjust your workplace expectations for yourself is a great way to both show yourself some compassion and lower the stakes so when you have a bad day at work, you don’t question your entire identity.
It’s easy for work stress to get on top of us. When we let our minds run away with what ifs and future scenarios, it can get hard to refocus on what we need to get done. Then what happens is our stress and anxiety get caught in a vicious cycle, where there are so many things we’re anxious about we don’t know how to start dealing with it–and then that not dealing with it just increases our anxiety. When we work mindfully instead, we keep ourselves grounded in the present moment. Focus on what needs to be done, what you can get done, and what can be left until another day.