Feeling tired, stressed or exhausted at work? Many Americans find themselves inundated with stress in the workplace. Taking into consideration taxing commutes, deadlines, demand for productivity and results, and long hours, we can see why as a culture, we often leave our personal well being at the door when we go to work. The truth is, the better we take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the more productive we actual are. The saying “you cant pour from an empty cup” carries a lot of truth. How can we do our best, when we do not feel our best? How can we feel our best, if we are not making our well being the priority. Many employers are now recognizing this fact, and offering employees longer lunch breaks, later start times, and many are even incorporating workplace wellness programs. Some such programs include nutrition support, mindfulness and meditation, and opportunities for exercise and yoga within the work day. There are various models of employee wellness programs out there. Some are more complex than others, but even the most basic program is a step in the right direction. Kudos to the businesses that are making the health and well being of their employees a priority!
That said, if you are one of the vast majority of individuals that don’t have a wellness program at work, it is still vital that you incorporate tools to help manage stress, and implement a routine wellness practice into your work day to avoid workplace burnout. Below are 10 strategies to get you started.
- Begin your day with a mindfulness practice. Upon waking in the morning shift your mindset from “I have to go to work” to “I get to go to work”. Place the focus on gratitude, and think of at least three things you really enjoy about your job. This will infuse your morning with positive energy.
- Eat healthy. Beginning with a high protein breakfast, that is low in sugar. This will give you the energy you need as you start your day.
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated throughout the work day is imperative. Water is the essential component here. Many people believe that drinking coffee will help keep you hydrated. This is false. Coffee is a diuretic that actually contributes to dehydration. Have fresh water available at all times and drink it throughout the day. Water with fresh lemon is an even better option, increasing it’s capacity to hydrate.
- Avoid eating sweets. Workplaces are known for harboring sweets such as doughnuts, cakes, muffins etc. Bring your own healthy snacks and set a time mid morning and then again mid afternoon a few hours after lunch to refuel.
- Make breaks a priority. Many people work through their break time in attempt to get their work done faster. This leads to over working yourself. Breaks are important and should be a priority.
- Get outdoors. On your breaks or at lunch time, make it a point to get outdoors! We all need vitamin D for our health to prosper. The best source of vitamin D is through the sun. Taking at least 10 minutes a day to get outdoors during work will provide you with fresh air and give you a dose of some sunshine!
- Exercise. You may think it’s impossible to exercise within your work day without a workplace wellness program that provides this opportunity. There are ways you CAN exercise and stay active throughout your day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get some aerobic exercise in. Take a walk around the block or the building on your breaks. Stretching before work, midday, and before heading home is a great way to release tight muscles and will improve your circulation.
- Practice mindfulness. Instead of multitasking through your day, place all of your focus on each task that your engaged in. This will help prevent mental overload and your productivity will actually yield more successful outcomes.
- Remember to laugh. Don’t take everything so seriously. Remember to find the humor in every day situations and find time to joke and laugh with coworkers. This will keep positive energy flowing and keep you in good spirits.
- Leave on time. Of course there will be times when you may have to stay after hours to complete a task, but as much as possible, try to leave at the time your workday ends. Leave work behind for the day, and make yourself, and your loved ones the priority after the work day concludes. Use this time to decompress, destress, and do activities you enjoy. Try to mix up the activities throughout the week so that you have much to look forward to at the end of the work day. You may find that playing with the kids is great on Monday, and on Tuesday your favorite show may be on. Wednesday and Thursday may include a wall in the park or a trip to get some ice cream. Whatever it is, add activities to your after work time, that feeds your soul.