While morning routines are great for starting the day off right and evening routines are great for setting yourself up for the next day, work routines are the non-negotiable routines in most of our lives. A lot of us work 9-5 jobs or work from home and we likely have daily and weekly recurring tasks we need to get done. Self-care doesn’t have to be reserved for after-work hours.
You can immerse self-care into your routines at work too. Your boss pays you to be productive and get things done. Because of that, you might think that you can’t practice self-care at work. But here’s the thing- you’ll be more productive and energized if you put yourself first.
Here are twenty ideas on how to add some self-care into your work life.
1. Have a daily ritual you look forward to
Whether it’s making a cup of coffee or a quick chat with a coworker, start your work day by getting excited about something. It doesn’t need to be distracting from your work, but do something that lights you up. Think about something you can look forward to each day and do that thing, again and again.
2. Go on trips to get coffee or tea
I know it’s kind of silly, but going on walks with co-workers or solo to the local Starbucks feels like the ultimate self-care ritual at work. I look forward to my first iced coffee of the day and enjoy almost everything about the experience. It’s also just nice to get outside for some fresh air.
3. Make your seating comfortable
Bring in a pillow for your back or adjust your seat just right. On a Women’s Day article, they suggest keeping the screen about 20 inches away from your face and making your type just big enough to see it without squinting. Be sure to stand up and stretch often.
Be aware of your body and mind and make sure you’re proactive about taking care of it – through switching your posture or adjusting your seat.
4. Be prepared for getting too hot/too cold
If your office is like mine, you are constantly either too warm or too cold. I like to keep a jacket at work to keep me warm and a blanket would be even better. Keep yourself prepared for either situation. Bringing these things to the office has increased my comfortability at work by a lot.
5. Get a standing desk
Related to tip #3, making sure you’re not sitting all day at work is ideal. If you can request this kind of thing at work, and you’re interested, get a standing desk or even better, a treadmill desk. According to this Smithsonian Magazine article, there have been studies to show the benefits of standing desks. They can reduce the risk of obesity, cancer, and diabetes. (Wow!)
6. Keep your desk area clean and beautiful
I’ve been following this one in the past couple of months and I have to say it was a real game changer. Having my workspace organized, clutter-free, and pretty has made me love my desk. Loving my desk makes me feel more productive and excited about work. As silly as it sounds, atmosphere matters a lot when it comes to workflow.
7. Go the long route
Fitness is definitely a part of self-care and an easy way to get in your exercise during work is to take the stairs and take walks on your breaks. Get yourself into a routine of choosing the stairs, parking further away, taking the long route to the bathroom, etc. Sitting all day isn’t good for us, so get moving when you can.
8. Give yourself an activity away from the computer every once in awhile
Staring at a computer all day is hard on the eyes. If you’re able to, find some work-related activities to mesh in throughout the day. Even if it’s as simple as making a to-do list, it’s important to mix it up and give your eyes a rest.
9. Drink water on the reg
I have to remind myself to drink more water than coffee while I’m at work. For me, balance at work means that I have at least twice or three times as much water as coffee. I’ve been limiting myself to a Grande sized iced coffee and that’s it on most days. On rougher days, I’ll limit myself to two. But, in turn, I’ll drink more water. Make sure you’re bringing a water bottle to work and make it as easy as possible on yourself. It’s easy to forget about but it’s essential to your well-being.
10. Add some plants
If you’re able to, bring in plants to work. It livens a space right up! With the recent addition of succulents and cactus to my desk, I’m feeling inspired regularly. And I weirdly enjoy having to water something regularly. Let’s hope they last awhile!
11. Enjoy your stationery
There’s no reason to not love the papers, pens, and sticky notes you’re using at work. I recently requested white sticky notes at work and was amazed at how much joy pieces of paper could bring to me. It’s the little things in life, you know?
12. Bring healthy snacks
Supply yourself with healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day. My recent favorites have been mixed nuts, dried fruit, and This Bar Saves Lives bars.
13. Explore during breaks
If you’re lucky enough to work in a city that is fun to explore, make sure you do! Check out local coffee shops or food places during your lunch. Switch it up often and invite co-workers out to lunch every once in awhile to check out a place you’ve been eyeing.
14. Set a new challenge each week or month
Give yourself a new challenge at work that hasn’t been given to you by your boss. Impress them with something that you’ve learned or go above and beyond on projects when you have a little extra time. If you stumble across a problem, be sure to seek out solutions before telling them about the problems. Taking initiative will not only make you look good, but you’ll feel great by improving and working on personal goals.
15. Look how you want to feel
If you want to be productive at work or taken seriously, then dress and look the part. When I wear my favorite work outfits, I feel like I can handle anything. A little extra effort can go a long way.
16. Do some power poses
If you have a presentation or a big meeting, do some power poses and you’ll feel like a boss going into it. It’s kind of embarrassing to this in front of people, but I’ll occasionally sneak off to the bathroom to do some stretching and power posing. Sometimes we’re just not feeling confident and taking moments to gain some confidence is much needed.
17. Do afternoon affirmations
Around 2-3pm, I’m a bit more sluggish than at the start of the day. If you feel the same, start saying positive affirmations to help you boost your mood. It’ll be easier to tackle that to do list with a good mindset. Here are some of our favorite affirmations if you need some ideas.
18. Change up your lunch routine
You don’t need to limit your lunch time to lunch. Once a week, change it up. Go to a yoga class or to a nearby museum or eat your lunch outside. Don’t get stuck in ruts when there are endless possibilities for how you spend a half hour to an hour of free time between work hours. Make the most of that in-between time.
19. Know when you need a break and take one
Be real with yourself at work. Being hardworking is amazing, but you’ll get exhausted if you don’t allow yourself breaks. Sure, we get it, you’re busy. You can’t take breaks because you have a million things you need to get done. But do it anyway. You’re a person, so remember that you need to treat yourself like one.
20. Make a playlist that motivates you
Spotify supplies a new playlist based on what you listen to called “Discover Weekly” each Monday and it is a great way to start your weekday at work. But, you can also make your own “Pump up mix” of tunes that make you happy and motivated. When you’re in a #selfcaresunday mood, make yourself a work playlist of songs that are upbeat or inspiring – ones that you can count on when you need to be productive or creative.
Make your work day as lovely as possible. You certainly don’t have to wait ’til the weekend to show love to yourself.
Want tools for becoming your best self?
Get access to our 40 favorite personal growth recommendations (books, documentaries, and more) that inspire us.