Creating a Culture of Self-Care in the Workplace

Visualize a moment of self-care.

Chances are, it didn’t take place at work. Self-care time has traditionally been reserved for outside of work hours—something like a morning jog or an evening bubble bath.

But self-care is changing. It's becoming clear that weaving moments of self-care throughout your day is more beneficial than grinding through a hard day and leaving the “you” time for later.

In other words—it’s more effective to consider self-care as a regular part of your routine than as a complete departure from it. This sort of integration can help ensure ongoing good health (both mental and physical), and help you better manage your stress and build resilience.

Because, here’s the thing: work is invariably intertwined with our life routines. We spend roughly a third of our lives at work, so shelving self-care for “later” just won’t cut it anymore. And we’re already seeing the result of this; burnout has become a growing problem. Self-care alone won’t solve burnout, but having it recognized as a priority within your organization can make a huge difference when it comes to building happier, more sustainable workday routines for you or your employees.

So, here are some of our top tips for introducing a culture of self-care into your organization and your own work life—whether you’re an employee, a manager, or an HR professional.

Foster good habits

  • Have walking meetings. Encourage people to get out and about for meetings and calls. Scientifically, it’s been proven to promote outside-of-the-box thinking, but it also helps in terms of health—both mental and physical.
  • Encourage people to log off and shut down. You want people to know that they’re not just able to but expected to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Discourage eating lunch at the computer. Lunch is the perfect opportunity for people to get a bit of a mental break, whether by actually getting up and going for a walk, or by simply focusing on something non-work related.
  • Practice what you preach. You can set a good example for others on your team and in the organization by living by your own self-care rules! Manage your time, take breaks, go for walks, and let people know it’s okay to prioritize their own needs sometimes.

Respect people’s time

  • Build pauses into the workday. Calendars that are overfilled with meetings don’t give people the time they need to think or process at optimum levels. By working these little breathing spaces into the work week, you can encourage better work habits and allow yourself and others to reach their full potential. (How about 50-minute meetings as the default instead of a full hour?).
  • Set communication time boundaries. Encourage employees to set boundaries around their time. While large, multinational companies will naturally have employees in different time zones, you don’t want anyone to be trying to work across zones in a manner that extends their workday to a breaking point. Similarly, while some people will need to send the occasional after-hours email or message, it should be generally accepted—and explicitly noted—that people shouldn’t be expected to answer immediately.
  • Allow for flexibility around and during the workday. People are far less likely to succumb to stress if they know they have the freedom to step out, tend to children, walk the dog, or do other important personal things they need to, without worry.

Practice mindfulness

  • Practice gratitude in your words and actions. And be sure to encourage the habit throughout your team and the wider organization. You want to build a supportive culture where people openly celebrate each other’s wins and support each other through hard times.
  • Support employees in their mindfulness journeys. Provide them with helpful tools or sessions that encourage them to slow down and breathe (Calm is great for this!). You could have group yoga sessions, or even just introduce brief (but regular) five-minute meditations.
  • Introduce wellness ‘check-ins.' Actively encourage employees to self-assess their mental well-being on a weekly basis, and have a system for them to report any concerns they have to line managers—either through dedicated meetings, or by expanding existing work check-ins to include this topic. Sometimes people need a reason to allow themselves to slow down and consider how they’re actually doing.

But most importantly…

Help others by helping yourself first

It’s easy to understand the need for self-care, but it’s a fact that those who look after others tend to overlook themselves in the process—like HR professionals.

To be at your best, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. Which is why we created a Self-Care Guide for HR Professionals to help you create your own personal self-care plan.

Basically, what we’re trying to say is…

Self-care is incredibly important. But it can be hard to know where to start when encouraging it to your employees, as it’s such a personal thing.

That’s where tools like Calm for Business come into their own. With a diverse library of content, there’s something for everyone—from guided meditations, to relaxing music to listen to at work or when unwinding at home, to sleep aids such as Soundscapes and Sleep Stories.

Sign up for our demo and see for yourself why Calm is the mental wellness tool of choice for HR professionals.

The Calm Team

The Calm Team

Help employees stress less, sleep better, and build more resilience with Calm for Business.

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