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Work Life Balance

Bringing Self-Care to the Office

Clock6 min. read
byVexxit Staff onJanuary 16, 2021

Ways to maintain your health in the workplace—and why you should care.

Gone are the days of offices as a place for employees to simply show up, sit down, and grind out work before heading home and doing it all again the next day. Now more than ever, our work-life balance teeters on the edge of collapse and the once-defined areas of our professional and personal lives have begun to overlap. The act of self-care is no different. Wellness and job performance shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. 

Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years (the #selfcare hashtag currently boasts 39.5 million posts on Instagram alone). The term can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who pursued ideas about the ‘care of the self’. Today’s definition of the word remains straightforward but broad: the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote and maintain health, prevent disease, and cope with illness.  

Self-care is certainly an important concept and one that should be brought with us into the workplace. In this article, we’ll explore the ways in which employers and employees can begin the practice of self-care in the office. 

Why is self-care at work important?

Incorporating self-care into the workplace is useful for a number of reasons, including:

  • Avoiding burnout

  • Increasing productivity

  • Managing stress 

  • Encouraging morale 

  • Preventing illness and injury

As an employee, feeling unwell, injured or burnt out may seriously hinder your ability to do your job. As an employer, employee absence from work due to illness can be costly for your organization.  

What exactly does self-care encompass?

According to the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute, there are four key dimensions of well-being.

  • Physical self-care involves taking care of your body, including healthy eating and exercising. 

  • Spiritual self-care involves identifying and seeking meaning in your work and life. 

  • Emotional self-care involves setting clear boundaries on your time and energy.  

  • Psychological self-care involves personal and professional development. 

There are ways to enhance each of these self-care categories in the workplace, including:

  • Stretching/moving. It’s been proven that mental and physical health are strongly linked. It’s a good idea to get up and walk around once every hour, even if it’s just to the bathroom or water fountain (sitting is the new smoking, after all). If your job involves looking at a computer or phone, neck and shoulder stretches are also a great addition to your self-care routine. 

  • Deep breathing/meditating. Calming the mind can help with clarity, stress relief and brain function. 

  • Office flow/design. Open spaces, healthy airflow, bright windows, plants and personal mementos can greatly improve your well-being in the workplace. Never dismiss the effect your environment can have on your state of mind. 

  • Taking regular breaks. Microbreaks are strongly encouraged to give both your body and mind a break from long, stagnant periods of work. 

What employers can do to help

Just as it’s important for employees to implement their own self-care routines into their work, some of the responsibility also lies with the employer. 

Employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of employees, and they can do this best by taking a top-down approach to self-care. 

  • Promote work-life balance with time-flexible working arrangements.  

  • Encourage and model respectful behaviours 

  • Help manage workloads 

  • Clearly define employees' duties and responsibilities

  • Offer health benefits or programs, such as an on-site wellness centre or discounts for fitness centre memberships 

  • Provide training and learning opportunities 

  • Have conflict resolution practices in place 

  • Recognize employees' contributions effectively 

Learn more about self-care in the office

If you’re still unsure of how to best implement self-care practices into the workplace, consider connecting with a professional. HR consultants can help by improving company culture and incorporating wellness into your team’s overall strategy. Vexxit will match you with a qualified HR professional for free today.

Find a Human Resources Professional

Are you looking to bring self-care into your workplace? Think about connecting with a human resource professional. Find the consultant best suited to your company’s needs.