When it comes to our personal wellbeing, we often just look at things that we can do at home, before or after work or on the weekends.
However, considering that we spend most of our time at work (no matter if that means working from a physical office, from home or a coffee shop) it’s important to consider how our wellbeing influences our work and how work influences our wellbeing.
Here are a few fundamental things to consider when it comes to taking care of your wellbeing at work:
How much and how well you sleep pretty much determines your ability to focus during your day. Having a good night’s sleep is not just dependent on how much you sleep but also on your sleep routine and what you do during your day, as that can also heavily influence the quality of your sleep. Here are some tips on how to sleep better.
You probably heard about the saying “Start off on the right foot”. It means to begin something in a good way; to start well. Your day is no different. Starting your day right can positively influence the rest of your day. Think about what a great start to the day would mean to you; what would make you happy or puts you instantly into a good mood? Try to incorporate many of those things early into your day.
Our frustrations arise often from the lack of a clear goal. It’s hard to measure if a day was good or bad if you didn’t have any clear goal in mind. If you start your day knowing what the goal of the day is, it will make it easier to achieve said goal and ultimately make you feel good about your day once you achieve it. Be careful though as to not set too high expectations and try to be as realistic as possible in your goal setting.
Working without a system or a clear structure can result in frequent chaos which can make you feel easily overwhelmed and cause you unnecessary stress. Having a routine and a system in place that allows you to know what you’re going to do next and how you’re workflow is going to create structure and piece of mind. It is not just more efficient but it will also help you to manage your workload better and make you feel more in control. When it comes to productivity there are many productivity systems you can choose from so don’t shy away from trying them all and picking the one that works best for you.
Healthy adults should drink between 2 and 3 liters of water per day. Frequent tiredness and fatigue can often be attributed to dehydration. Already dehydration of 1-2% can cause an increased feeling of fatigue and anxiety, a decrease in your working memory as well as an increased frequency of headaches, impaired concentration and degraded mood. It’s important that you distribute your water intake evenly throughout the day and that you drink the required amount, especially in the warmer months.
Food plays a big part when it comes to your cognitive abilities and your wellbeing. Being hungry makes you irritated and unable to focus, eating heavy fat food makes you feel sluggish and eating too much sugar gives you only a quick high without long-lasting nutrients. Besides eating healthy and nutritious food, it’s also important to have a regular eating schedule while also eating the right portions. Some foods are especially great to help boost your brainpower and make for good snacks to have nearby.
Human connection is important and this goes also for your work environment. Socializing while at work can help you to feel happier and more productive. It creates a feeling of belonging and can be a good opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other or to solve problems. Especially if you’re working remote, you’re at risk of feeling unmotivated and lonely if you don’t get the chance to socialize enough.
Having a proper lunch break is important. It allows you to take a bigger break from work so to fully detach for a bit and refuel your energy. You should never eat in front of the computer but dedicate yourself a 1 hour or more lunch break away from your desk. As already mentioned, be conscious about what you eat and opt for healthy meals that include a good variety of nutrients.
Fresh air means an increase in oxygen and oxygen is the basis for your brain to function. About a fifth of the oxygen in your body is used solely by your brain. Fresh air helps you to feel less fatigued and improves your concentration and overall cognitive abilities. Try to frequently change the air of the room you’re working from, have frequent breaks outside and generally spend as much time as you can outdoors.
Physical movement is important for your physical and mental health. A lack of movement can make you feel sluggish and dampen your mood. Exercise is a great way to combat stress but also to help you relax and increase your happiness and overall wellbeing as it releases the feel-good chemicals serotonin and endorphins. If you’re confined all day long to your desk, make sure to stretch once in a while or consider taking a bigger break to do some exercise.
Interruptions and distractions are not just frustrating and cause you to be inefficient, but they also increase your stress level. Scheduling uninterrupted work time into your day allows you to approach work in a relaxed way because you know that you won’t get suddenly interrupted. Try to schedule deep work sessions so you can focus and deep dive into a task or problem so you have the time to create meaningful work.
There is nothing worse than counting down the hours because you’re completely unmotivated to do the task at hand. Of course, you can not be motivated all the time and there are some tasks which are simply more tedious than others, yet it’s important to know what kind of motivation works for you and how you can fuel that motivation.
Never have people suffered so much from stress as in our current times. Stress causes all sorts of issues, from restlessness, headaches and inability to focus to heart problems, depression and anxiety. There are many ways to manage stress but in the first place, you need to acknowledge that you’re suffering from stress before you can take fruitful action. If the stress becomes unmanageable consider more drastic measures such as a job change.
One of the biggest impacts on our wellbeing is the environment we find ourselves in. The physical place we associate with work is crucial to be able to protect our wellbeing while we work.
Firstly, you must work with the right equipment such as a comfortable chair which imposes a correct posture as well as a spacious desk (best if adjustable in height) and any other tools you might use such as a mouse, keyboard, screens etc.
Then it’s important to make sure that you have lots of natural light and adequate light sources for the darker hours. The temperature you’re working in has also a big influence on your productivity as well as having the ability to work uninterrupted without distracting noises from traffic or loud coworkers. If you work in a loud environment, use Noisli to mask any annoying noises and to help you create an uplifting environment. Lastly, surround yourself with plants and other things that inspire you and that put you in a good mood.
Besides physical tools, it’s also crucial to inspect your digital tools to see if they truly help you to facilitate your work or if they are a hindrance causing you just stress and frustration. If a tool is outdated and thus cumbersome or slow to use, then it’s probably a good idea to invest in something new. It not just helps you to work more efficiently but also saves you some nerves while bringing you hopefully some new joy and motivation.
The importance of breaks is seriously underestimated in our current society. Yet taking frequent breaks comes with so many benefits and is crucial for your wellbeing at work. Breaks help you to prevent fatigue and reduce stress so that you’re not completely exhausted by the end of your workday. They also help you to keep your mood high and enhance your concentration and learning abilities. Make sure to take at least one big break at lunch and other frequent breaks in between to keep your energy levels high.
There are days when nothing seems to move forward and we feel unsatisfied because we didn’t harvest much output. This can lead to frustration and unhappiness which negatively influences your wellbeing. Instead of focusing on the output, try to focus on the seeds you plant each day and results will follow.
Engaging in creative activities is important because it is associated with many benefits. It does not just drive innovation but it also fuels positive emotions, fuels your self-esteem and energy and also helps to combat stress. Everybody is creative as it’s an innate skill that we just have to train and maintain. Think about which creative activities you enjoy or how you can bring more creativity into your daily work.
Frequently overworking can have serious long term effects on your physical and mental health. Working long hours doesn’t mean more or better output, but it only hurts your morale and mood and negatively impacts your private life such as less time for fun activities and social interaction Being overworked can also lead to a messed up sleeping pattern and can ultimately lead to burnout. Learn to say no and try to make a clear cut between work and private life so to have a healthy work-life balance.
Have fun and treat yourself! As work is such a big part of our lives it’s important that you enjoy it and that you treat yourself once in a while. Be proud and celebrate yourself if you managed to overcome a difficult situation or finished a challenging task. Always try to be kind to yourself and protect your wellbeing by listening to your mind and body so you can take the necessary adjustments if something starts to negatively affect your wellbeing.
I hope some of those tips can help you to better take care of your wellbeing at work!
Thank you for reading!
Head over to Noisli and listen to some soothing background sounds.