Give your working life a boost with these quick and easy wellbeing wins to transform your 9 to 5
Work can get overwhelming at times and, let’s be honest, it’s easy for workplace wellbeing to fall off the agenda. There’s always something getting in the way, whether it’s battling your inbox, dealing with difficult customers, or trying to meet a deadline. Taking care of yourself can feel like one task too many on an already overloaded to-do list.
Here’s the thing though: when we prioritise wellness, those other tasks don’t feel quite as stressful. This is because we give ourselves room to process, decompress, and feel energised again. So, rather than seeing ‘wellness’ as another task on your list, consider it as a tool to open up some space.
Not sure where to start? Here are 10 quick wins you can implement right now...
1. Set reminders to move
This one’s for those of us working at desks and spending big chunks of the day sitting down. With commuting out of the picture for many, our step counts are dwindling dangerously low, and when we’re ‘heads down’ on a project, getting up for a stretch is the last thing on our mind. This means we may need a little help from our tech.
Try using your phone or calendar to send a reminder to move your body (we love the Stand Up! app). Alternatively, if your work sees you up on your feet a lot of the time, use a reminder to stretch it out or have a quick sit down if you can.
2. Make break-time more fun
We all know breaks are good for us. Breaks help to reduce stress, improve productivity and even encourage creative thinking – so why is it so hard to take them sometimes? If this is something you struggle with, we recommend creating a little incentive for yourself by making break-times more fun.
What can you do on your breaks that will make you more inclined to take them? Maybe it’s a daily doodle, a call with a friend, or catching up on your favourite TV show. Whatever it is, make it something you’ll really want to do, and never miss another break again.
3. Set (and communicate) your boundaries
The landscape of work has changed in the past couple of years, and a lot of us are working in new ways. Throughout this upheaval, our boundaries around work may have blurred. For example, where you once left the office bang on time, maybe now you work from home you notice work creeping into your evening.
Consider this a call to review your boundaries around work. Take a few minutes to write down your boundaries (such as, “I finish work at 5pm”) and remind yourself how these will support your wellbeing.
Finally, communicate them with others. If you work different hours now, let your co-workers know when they can reach you (and how). If your housemate keeps interrupting you when you’re working, explain to them that you’re busy but can chat to them during breaks. Remember, boundaries only work if we uphold them.
4. Change your environment
If you’re able to change up your working environment from time to time, give it a go! Being somewhere new can stimulate our creativity, and give us a motivational boost. This will depend on your role, but consider co-working spaces, heading to a cafe, or even taking a notebook and going to your local park for some big-picture thinking.
If you can’t leave your workplace, give it a spruce. Add some new pictures and plants, or reorganise your desk. Tiny tweaks can make a big difference.
5. Recognise your humanity
We are not machines that power-up, churn out work, then power-down. We’re humans with lives outside of work and we’re affected by what’s happening in those lives. It’s also OK if you don’t feel on top of your game every day, and it’s OK if your colleagues don’t either.
Remind yourself of your humanity during conversations with colleagues, ask them how they are, and check-in when big global events are happening. Tell people how you’re feeling, and be honest when you’re struggling.
6. Have non-work-related conversations, too
With the previous tip in mind, try to instigate some non-work chats from time to time. If you’re no longer working side-by-side with your colleagues, isolation can quickly kick in. And when the only talk happening is centred around work, it’s easy to lose any sense of connection.
Use your instant messaging tool to find out how people’s weekends are, ask a colleague if they fancy going for a coffee (in-person or virtually). As well as keeping you connected, this opens the door for conversations around mental health.
7. Switch up your snacks
If you’ve fallen into a snacking rut, you’re not alone. Reaching for a sugar boost at 3pm is common, but how does this make you feel in the long run? If it’s not making you feel great, try adding some variety in there. Opt for fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, or peanut butter on toast to give you a longer-lasting energy boost.
8. Share wellbeing tips
Have you done an online fitness class you loved? Tried a new lunchtime recipe? Found a new technique for dealing with overwhelm? Don’t keep this information to yourself; share it with your colleagues! When you encourage a culture of sharing at work, you can learn from each other, and everyone benefits.
9. Take sick days when you need them
If you’re home-based, it may feel as if you can still work when you’re sick. After all, you’re not going to make anyone else sick, right? The problem is, when you don’t take time off to rest, you run the risk of making yourself more unwell.
You deserve time to rest, whether you’re feeling physically or mentally unwell. Call in sick, take the time you need, and return when you feel ready.
10. Plan tomorrow, today
There’s nothing worse than finishing work for the day and spending the whole evening thinking about what you need to do the next day. Reduce your mental load by writing up tomorrow’s to-do list before you finish work, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that your tasks for tomorrow are written down and ready for you tomorrow.
Which of these tips feels easiest for you right now? Whichever one it is, implement it and see if you notice a positive difference. Keep going, gradually bringing in more of these tips, and see how they impact you. What works for you? What doesn’t? There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to wellness, so it’s up to you to cultivate a practice that suits you.
We spend around a third of our lives working, and we deserve to feel well while we’re doing it, so it’s time to push wellness up the agenda.
If you’re struggling with work-related stress, find out more information here or talk to a therapist. Learn more at counselling-directory.org.uk