February is a month of love, but how often do you nourish your relationship with yourself? We’ve spoken to our favorite self-care gurus about their favorite ways to boost their self-love: you deserve your attention as much as anyone else.
Today we speak with podcast host, blogger, and author of Let it Out: A Journey Through Journaling, Katie Dalebout, about how to bring our self-care practices into a place they often get swept away: the office.
It may be easy to stay in a high-vibe state while you go through your morning routine. But during the rest of the day, things start to go off track as we get triggered by our busy lives, the people around us, and endless notifications on our phones.
We talk a lot about how to start or end our day with happiness, but what about the middle? For most of us, it’s at work where we need the tools to stay sane. Here are a few tips to keep you healthy, happy, and centered throughout the day.
Take deep breaths throughout the day. We often hold our breath when we’re stressed, but breathing consciously can relax body and mind.
Drinking water is crucial. Being dehydrated makes your brain work less effectively. However, the real reason I like drinking water is because it forces me to get up from my desk and move to use the bathroom. When I’m focused on a project it’s easy to stay sedentary for hours. Drinking water forces me to get moving!
Sitting is the new smoking. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit in chairs and stare at screens all day. Getting up and moving at least every hour is important. So, if you work from home, dance to a song, do some squats, or drop into a plank. If you work in an office, walk to someone’s desk instead of emailing, or take the stairs on your way in from lunch.
If you work in an office this one’s easy, but if you don’t this is important. Working from home makes it tempting to hibernate and therefore spend countless hours alone with no other human contact (I know, I’ve done it). But getting out is crucial! It could be running some errands at lunch, working from a coffee shop, or joining a co-working space! We’re social creatures, so force yourself to get out, for your health’s sake.
Rest Your Eyes
Just like we aren’t designed to sit for long periods, we also aren’t designed to stare at screens for hours. Our eyes often get tired before our minds. To help with this, stare at the flickering flame of a candle for one minute and breathe deeply [If you can’t light a candle in the office, stare out the window at traffic or people passing by. — Ed.]. This will refocus your eyes and calm you down.
Spend an entire day focused on to-do lists and other people’s agendas, and it’s very easy to lose track of ourselves and disconnect with our bodies. Have you ever come home at the end of the day to watch an entire bowl of popcorn disappear before your eyes? It’s easy to go all day without checking in with our bodies at all.
To stay connected and know what your body needs and wants, try this meditation practice: place your thumb on the pulse on your wrist. On each beat repeat a mantra in your mind, such as “calm down, calm down”, for one minute. You can do this at your desk, stuck in traffic, or in a meeting. No one will know (trust me) and they’ll thank you later when you’re more chill.
Ever have so much to do that you don’t even know where to begin? Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re at your desk, get the most important or challenging tasks done first. Your willpower diminishes as the day goes on. If you get your creative projects done in the morning, that will inspire you and spark momentum to keep going throughout the day.
Email is a timesuck. When you start your day answering emails, it’s easy to spend the entire day responding to other people’s non-urgent requests and tasks instead of completing your own. Instead of using your inbox as your to-do list, do your important tasks first. When they’re done, set yourself an amount of time and dive into your inbox. I send all the important messages I need to send before I even start reading or replying to others.
Brighten Your Space
Regardless of your work environment, do what you can to ignite your senses and make it feel good to you. Keep your space tidy and keep smells you like on hand (I keep essential oils at my desk and in my bag). I also constantly listen to music while I’m working. It inspires me to keep moving or calms me down, depending on what I’m listening to. Here’s my Spotify if you want to listen with me!
Your working day doesn’t have to be stress-filled and selfless. A few of these simple practices will help you get grounded and centered, no matter how many emails are waiting!