Taking Care of Yourself at Work
Chances are that at some point in your career your work environment is going to change. You could be moving from an active job in hospitality or retail, to your first ever office role. You could go from making your own schedule as a freelancer, to being expected to adhere to the routine of a 9 to 5. You could go from client facing to completely administrative based.
Sometimes when these changes happen, we don’t realise how they affect us as we adjust to our new environment. Follow these tips to find out ways to take care of yourself, even if your career is lobbing massive changes at you from afar.
No matter if you’re freelancing, working from home, working in an office, or working in a physically active role – you need to take a break. Make sure you have a dedicated amount of time that you can take away from your work without feeling guilty about it.
This means no more eating lunch at your desk or hurriedly eating a snack between the lunch-rush. It means a time where you can mentally remove yourself from the work environment and rest up enough that you feel motivated when you go back to work.
Some jobs like waitressing or sales assistants have a very active role. They’re always on their feet and they hardly ever get to sit down. If you’re new to the office life however, you need to make sure you don’t become sedentary.
Go for a quick walk on your break, stretch every so often, and even getting up to walk around the office can help. Get some water in the kitchen, and check out the view once in a while. All these little things can loosen up your legs and get the blood pumping. Doing something like this every hour will get you out of your chair, and as an added bonus it will give your eyes a break from the computer.
What do you do at home time when you’ve still got work left on your desk? If you’re someone who likes to take a bit of work home, to set yourself up for the next day, make sure you set yourself parameters. Then stick to them.
It could mean something as simple as not working after 7pm so that you can spend time with your family or on your self-care. Or it could mean that you don’t have your work emails linked to your personal phone, or that you block out sections of your calendar so that colleagues know you’re unavailable at a certain time.
Figure out what system works for both your work life and your home life and then enjoy your time off.
If you decide to take work home, stay up all night and then go back to work the next morning exhausted, you are setting yourself up for a nasty cycle of sleep deprivation. Then the next thing you know you’re taking work home again because you weren’t working at your normal pace and the whole process starts again.
Get enough sleep and you’ll notice the benefits.
Make your work place, no matter what kind it is, a friendly and homey one. Talk to your colleagues and people that you haven’t had the chance to yet. Decorate your space with things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Opening up the communication with the people in your workplace means that you have a support network away from home. They might not become your best friends, but being friendly is far better than being worst enemies.
If there is ever an instance with someone you’re not seeing eye-to-eye on, deal with the issue calmly and professionally. Blowing something out of proportion and screaming at a colleague is never the way to go.
In a new work environment, you may become so focused in exceling in your new career that you forget the simple things you need to do in order to take care of yourself. Taking a lunch break and not being available 24/7 does not make you a bad employee.
By checking in with yourself about your levels of exercise, sleep, interpersonal relationships, and rest breaks, you make yourself a more productive and useful employee. It’s a lot better than burning out because you haven’t had a spare second to yourself in two weeks.
Feature image courtesy of Unsplash
By Clare Aston
Copywriting and content intern at UTS Careers
Clare Aston is the current copywriting and content producing intern for UTS Careers. She is studying her Masters of Creative Writing at UTS, as well as juggling other interning and writing opportunities.
She thrives on literary discussions and is always on the hunt for new book recommendations. She has experience copywriting for both print and digital media and is interested in the way social media can be read as a narrative structure.
Clare is often to be found with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds.