Many of us live busy, demanding lives. Sometimes we wonder if we can juggle it all and still keep our high standards without becoming a nervous wreck. It’s important to know how to step back from the grind and just reconnect with ourselves. Self-care isn’t just a luxury for beach vacations; it’s something we should practice in our daily lives. And thankfully, we can. Here are ten self-care practices that you can do right at your own desk at work.
#1. Breathe In, Breathe Out
Sometimes we get so caught up in stuff that we fail to notice we’re not breathing properly. Taking deep breaths gives you the chance to slow down and take stock of what’s happening around you. Additionally, it helps deliver more oxygen into your heart, which consequently delivers more oxygen to your cells. To start, inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, and then exhale for four counts.
#2. Relax Your Shoulders
Tension invariably shows in your body language, and one of the most common symptoms is tense shoulders. When I’m stressed, I automatically hold up my shoulders without thinking, which makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Ease the stress out of your body by deliberately relaxing your shoulders as well as your other muscles. Starting from your toes and working up to your shoulders, contract each muscle group for five counts and then relax.
#3. Reboot Your Computer
When work piles up, we tend to park ourselves right in front of the computer and not stand up until we’re done with what we need to do. But at a time of high stress, this only causes more stress. Do a reset by rebooting your computer, and use that time to make yourself a cup of coffee, do a few stretches, walk around the office, or take a few deep breaths.
#4. Stand Up and Walk
According to new research, sitting down for extended periods not only makes you sore, but it can also restrict creative thinking. Make sure to stand up and walk for a couple of minutes to stretch your muscles and help reduce tension. If you need to take phone calls, use a wireless headset and take your calls while standing and walking.
#5. Sign Out of Your Inbox on Fridays
When Friday comes around, finish any necessary communication face to face, before you punch out. If there’s anything that cannot be resolved by Friday, take note of it and schedule appointments for the following week. This makes you feel accomplished at the end of the week helps set the mood for the weekend.
#6. Get A Foam Roller
Prolonged sitting causes muscle soreness and adds to the stress of the day, so it’s important to roll away tightness as much as you can with a foam roller. Place it near your desk and lie on it at least three times per day, making sure to put it along your spine with your palms facing up. This helps open up your chest, allows you to take some deep breaths, and hopefully make you feel more relaxed.
#7. Do Some Stretches
Stretching at least every thirty minutes is another way to alleviate the strain caused by sitting . Stretching expands the muscles of the chest and spine, and it helps undo any damage caused by extended hunching over your desk. Stretching will also help you feel energized and ready to go back to work, and it can even reduce risks for contracting back pain and other unpleasant physical discomforts.
#8. Use Activity Trackers
You can find lots of apps that help you track how much physical activity you do every day. Using one at the office will help you remember to take better care of yourself. Set goals that you can easily accomplish while at work, such as completing a certain number of steps and remembering to stand up and walk around your office.
#9. Drink Water
Did you know that fatigue is a potential sign of dehydration? Beat it and inject vigor back into the work day by keeping a water bottle handy and drinking from it throughout the day. Make sure that you drink at least eight glasses.
#10. Keep Snacks Handy
As important as it is to drink water, it’s also necessary to keep yourself happy by indulging in snacks so you continually feel energized. Just make sure they’re healthy snacks such as steak bites, wholegrain crackers, fresh fruit, or low-roasted nuts. Keep away from sugary snacks as they’ll end up making you feel sleepy and sluggish.
As you take care of all the things you need to do every day, remember not to compromise your health and happiness in the process. Make self-care a habit, and incorporate it into your everyday routine. Honor your hard work and your effort, and be proud of yourself.
Image from iStock/DragonImages.