Many of us think of “the workday” as starting the moment we set foot in our place of work, but it actually begins the moment we open our eyes. Beginning our day mindfully and extending that sense of being present into our workday can make a significant difference in how productive we are and how successful we are at striking a “work/life balance”. Here are some tips for self-care in the workplace that begin with when we wake up and end with when we lay down to sleep at night.

1.Resist the urge to “hit snooze”.

  • That’s right, get up as soon as your alarm goes off. Doing so reduces feelings of fatigue and sluggishness throughout the day. If having your alarm on your bedside table is too tempting, put it across the room or purchase an alarm that requires you to physically get out of bed in order to shut it off.

2. Do not check your phone the moment you wake up.

  • Messages, emails, and social media will still be there after you practice some positive self-care and get your day started on the right track. Staying plugged in also means having constant access to sources of stress. Starting your day off in a relaxing manner is an important step towards feeling up to managing what may come up later in the day.

3. Make your bed, have a healthy breakfast, and shower mindfully.

  • Making your bed everyday is shown to start your day with a sense of accomplishment. Feed your body a healthy breakfast so that you are able to face your day with energy and stamina. Enjoy your shower, focusing on the sensations of the water over your skin and the smells of hygiene products. Treat this as your “daily spa moment” before heading into the workplace.

4. Start your workday with a ritual.

  • Starting your workday the same way each day mentally prepares you for changing gears and preparing yourself for the tasks at hand. Grab a cup of coffee, check your voicemail, and make a to-do list. Tackle the most difficult tasks first, prioritize according to timeliness, and delegate (when possible).

5. Keep a clear workspace.

  • No matter what sort of work environment you spend your time in, keeping your space organized and free from clutter reduces the mental burden of constantly trying to make sense of things. Walking into a clean workspace in the morning does wonders for your sense of well-being. A clean workspace is shown to promote a sense of control and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.

6. Balance the need for caffeine with the need for hydration & refuel your body.

  • Coffee is awesome, I’m not disputing that… but one of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. Don’t skip healthy snacks or meals- you wouldn’t expect your car to run without gas, you’re body is no different. It requires fuel to perform.

7. After you leave work, manage emails/calls/work-related tasks effectively.

  • Set a realistic cut-off time for checking your messages and hold yourself to this boundary. You’ll feel more refreshed and have more to give when you re-connect the next day.

About the author: Natalie Gomes MA, LPCS, LCAS is an individual counselor in Wilmington, NC. She also offers telehealth (aka online therapy) to North Carolina residents. Is someone you love’s addiction impacting you? Call her today at (910) 216-0194 for a free telephone consultation or to schedule an intake assessment and let’s start working towards life feeling more manageable for you.