How to Practice Self-Care at Work

Karen Mosier, Research Coordinator and Navigator, University of Saskatchewan


Self-care is not just a weekend and evening thing.  It is your relationship and connection to self. It involves how you are attuned to and understand what you need to be your best self. Self-care should be defined to include not only physical health, but also the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources.  
Here are some ways to ensure that you are taking care of yourself during the work week:

1.    Lunch doesn’t have to be about food
•    Think of your lunch as personal time
•    Jump on the treadmill or bike for 30 minutes or go for a walk to refresh you and eat later

2.    Talk kindly to yourself
•    Don’t be your own worst critic
•    Ask yourself what would you to say a friend in the same situation?

3.    Prioritize your day
•    Take 15 minutes at the start of the day to prioritize everything you want to accomplish that day
•    Then as requests come in you can consider the impact on your priorities

4.    Set Boundaries
•    Let others know if you need a quiet time to meditate, recharge or regenerate
•    Let everyone know, outside of emergencies, that you do not appreciate being interrupted during this time
•    Thank people for helping you to focus on this important task until completion and encourage others to let you know when they have an important piece of work and are facing a deadline

5.    Celebrate your successes
•    Hit the pause button with yourself and your team to take stock of what you have accomplished last week or last month

6.    Surround yourself with happy, motivated individuals
•    Get to know the people that you work with on a more personal level
•    Healthy relationships and supportive coworkers are an essential component of self-care

7.    Stay attuned to your energy levels
•    Notice when your energy levels are draining and your low peak energy periods during the day
•    Get extra sleep, schedule a walking meeting, have lunch away from your desk or get a massage

8.    Notice when your self-care is off-balance
•    Self-neglect creeps in due to a heavy workload and pending deadlines
•    Unhealthy habits of procrastination, rumination and distraction get in the way of productivity
•    Self-preservation creeps in and you focus on protecting your own turf instead of working together and getting the job done

Self-care should be part of your job. As our work lives become busier, self-care is becoming even more important in our day-to-day lives so that we don’t sacrifice our health or our relationships. Choose to engage in self-care to become all you can be and lead a more constructive, effective, and authentic life.

1.    Laura Brothers. The Muse. This Self-Career-Care Checklist Will Make Your Work Week Even More Fulfilling.
2.    Amy Jen Su. Harvard Business Review. 6 Ways to Weave Self-Care into Your Workday.
3.    Harvey Deutschendorf. Fast Company. 7 self-care habits you should develop at work.