Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Work can get overwhelming at times and it’s easy for workplace health to decline. There’s always something getting in the way, whether it’s battling your inbox, dealing with difficult customers, or trying to meet a deadline. Taking care of yourself can feel like too much, when you're already struggling to keep up with work
However, if we prioritise wellness, those other tasks don’t feel as difficult as before. This is because we give ourselves room to process, relax, and feel energised again. So, rather than seeing ‘wellness’ as another task on your list, consider it as a tool to open up some space. Here's a quick overview of 10 ways to improve your welbeing.
1. Move & stretch reminders
For people who are working at desks and spending long amounts of the day sitting down, its important to move and stretch. With commuting & travel not being a priority for many, our bodies are not releasing the energy that they should for us to be able to relax. Try using your phone or calendar to send a reminder to move your body. Alternatively, if your work sees you up on your feet a lot of the time, use a reminder to stretch out or have a quick sit down if you can.
2. Breaks are to relax
We all know breaks are good for us. Breaks help to reduce stress, improve productivity and even encourage creative thinking – so why is it so hard to take them sometimes? If this is something you struggle with, we recommend creating a little incentive for yourself by making break-times more fun.
What can you do on your breaks that will make you more inclined to take them? Maybe it’s a daily doodle, a call with a friend, going for walk or catching up on your favourite TV show. Whatever it is, make it something you’ll really want to do, and never miss another break again.
3. Boundaries are Important
The work scene has changed in the recent few years, and a lot of people are working in new ways. Throughout this upheaval, our boundaries around work may have blurred. For example, where you once left the office on time, maybe now you work from home and work goes on considerably longer than usual
The best you can do in this situation is to review your boundaries around work. Take a few minutes to write down your boundaries, like finishing work on time. And remind yourself how these will support your wellbeing.
Finally, communicate them with others. If you work different hours now, let your co-workers know when they can reach you (and how). Your boundaries should and need to be respected by not only yourself, but the people around you.
4. Change your environment
If you’re able to change up your working environment from time to time, give it a go! Being somewhere new can stimulate our creativity, and give us a motivational boost. This will depend on your role, but consider co-working spaces, heading to a cafe, or even taking a notebook or going to your local park for some big-picture thinking.
If you can’t leave your workplace, give it a spruce. Add some new pictures and plants, or reorganise your desk. Tiny tweaks can make a big difference.
5. Humans, not machines
We are not machines that power-up, churn out work, then power-down. We’re humans with lives outside of work and we’re affected by what’s happening in our lives. It’s perfectly reasonable if you don’t feel on top of your game every day, and it’s ok if your colleagues don’t either.
Remind yourself of your humanity during conversations with colleagues, ask them how they are, and check-in when big global events are happening. Tell people how you’re feeling, and be honest when you’re struggling.
6. Have non-work-related conversations, too
With the previous tip in mind, try to instigate some non-work chats from time to time. If you’re no longer working side-by-side with your colleagues, isolation can quickly kick in. And when the only talk happening is centred around work, it’s easy to loose any sense of connection. Talk to people and find out how their weekends were, ask a colleague if they fancy going for a coffee (in-person or virtually). As well as keeping you connected, this opens the door for talks around mental health.
7. Change snacks
If you’ve fallen into a snacking rut, you’re not alone. Reaching for a sugar boost at 3pm is common, but how does it make you feel in the long run? If it’s not making you feel great, try adding some variety in there. Opt for fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, or peanut butter on toast to give you a longer-lasting energy boost.
8. Share wellbeing tips
Tried a new recipe? Starting watching a new comfort show? Found a new technique for dealing with overwhelming feelings? Don’t keep this information to yourself; share it with your colleagues! When you encourage an environment of sharing at work, you can learn from each other, and everyone benefits. Your colleagues may also return the favour!
9. Take sick days when you need them
If you’re home-based, it may feel as if you can still work when you’re sick. After all, you’re not going to make anyone else sick, right? The problem is, when you don’t take time off to rest you run the risk of making yourself feel worse. You deserve time to rest, whether you’re feeling physically or mentally unwell. Call in sick, take the time you need, and return when you feel ready.
10. Plan tomorrow, today
There’s nothing worse than finishing work and spending the whole evening thinking about what you need to do the next day. Reduce your mental load by writing up tomorrow’s to-do list before you finish work, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that your tasks for tomorrow are written down and ready for you the next day. This will unload your mind and you will feel more in control.
Which of these tips feels easiest for you right now? Whichever one it is, implement it and see if you notice a positive difference. Keep going, gradually bringing in more of these tips, and see how they impact you. What works for you? What doesn’t? There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to wellness, so it’s up to you to cultivate a practice that suits you.
We spend around a third of our lives working, and we deserve to feel well while we’re doing it, so it’s time to push wellness up the agenda.