The daily grind of our work lives can easily take its toll, overwhelming us with commutes, stress, deadlines, and exhaustion. There's a false narrative that any semblance of relaxation can’t begin until the weekend. However, we believe in peppering our day with small acts of self-care. After all, great things start small and that includes habit building and mood improvement. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate simple self-care methods throughout the workday, alleviating stress and boosting energy so you don't have to live solely for the weekend.
Gratitude List - Beginning each morning with this positive routine sets the stage for the rest of your day. Hand write your gratitudes in a journal or on post-its to keep at your desk. There are even gratitude apps you can use on the go such as Gratitude Journal Affirmations or 365 Gratitude Journal. Being conscious of what makes our lives wonderful improves focus and awareness, as well as uplifts our overall mood.
Consider Your Caffeine Source - Coffee may contain up to twice as much caffeine as tea, but tea has antioxidants that are beneficial to our immune systems. There are several ways to improve your daily consumption. If you want to cut out caffeine altogether, herbal teas are a perfect substitute. However, if you can't resist the daily call for java, opt for dairy-free milk such as oat or almond, which are better for health than traditional dairy. If a caffeine decrease is what you crave, consider going half-caff or trying matcha drinks. Whatever you choose as your energizing morning beverage, be sure not to drink caffeine on an empty stomach in order to avoid a blood sugar crash. Always drink water alongside your coffee or tea, as caffeine is a diuretic and may lead to dehydration.
A Symphony of Sound - Listening to certain styles of music can do a world of good for your workday. Classical music improves mental focus. Jazz can be soothing for many. Nature sounds such as ocean waves, rain falling, or birds chirping can help lower stress and improve mood. By choosing ambient selections without vocals or traditional music, you may find it easier to tune out the distractions around you and focus on your own work or studying.
Move Around - Whether you’re sitting at a desk or standing up during your shift, taking a short walk or doing some light stretching can not only break you out of a monotonous routine, but also help posture, relieve tension, and reset your mood for the afternoon. We keep a foam roller in our studio and often take a pause for a mid-day roll out of the spine!
Go Outside - Step away from your desk and get some fresh air. Whether that’s a walk around the block, a work call outside in the sunshine, or eating your lunch outside, this is an easy way to get some vitamin D and clear your mind.
Meditate - A nice way to re-enter the second half of your day is a short, ten minute meditation. Transition back into work mode by doing a simple breathing exercise or a calming meditation via apps like Headspace or Happify.
Unwind Off-Screen - Allow yourself time to unwind before bed, away from screens. Screens emit blue light, which can be hard on our eyes, but also keep our brains stimulated in a way that will interfere with sleep. Plan to put your phone down or turn the tv off an hour or so before bed. Consider filling the gap of scrolling with a gua sha facial massage, journaling, light stretching, or simply peaceful silence.
Reading - The simple act of reading before bed can ease muscle tension and regulate breathing, which are crucial to helping you sleep. Plus it feels like a quiet experience all to yourself, away from the busy-ness of the workday. What better form of escape is there besides a good book?
The above are simply suggestions--take what works for you and leave the rest behind. We like to approach this like a game, choosing 1-3 of the above in any given day and keeping it playful, never rigid or as something we "should" do. If it feels like a chore or fosters guilt, it's not self-care :) Have fun and be well!