Self Care Anywhere: 6 Tips to Fight Burn Out at Work or School
Well, babes, as we head into the middle of our week, it is a good time to remember that self- care extends to our working lives, as well as our personal time. We spend a minimum of 1/3 to 1/2 of our day in work mode. Even if we love what we do, it can take a toll on our hearts, minds, and bodies. Many of us hold the belief that self-care is a time-consuming frivolity that requires effort and energy that we just *can’t* spare. However, it does not have to be impeding to be effective. We can sneak self-care into our day in short yet potent bursts!
Here is a list of 6 things you can do at your desk in your office or dorm, at a table in the library, or even while you are stuck in traffic to help lift your mood, regain your focus, and reduce emotional and physical stress from a hard day of work.
1. Have a Spot of Tea
While coffee or a 5-hour energy may have the power to put some pep in your step, try opting to sip a more naturally soothing beverage. Herbal teas not only reduce stress and anxiety, but create a relaxing aroma in your office or work space. My personal favorite for this fall is a Apple Cinnamon Chamomile tea. For those of us who neglect to keep ourselves hydrated properly, this is a great way to take in water while we are hard at work. Think you’ll fall asleep? Try some caffeinated varieties.
2. Stretch it Out
For those of us who are nine-to-fivers or students the lack of motion from sitting at a desk or staring at a screen all day can wreak havoc on our posture and put unnecessary stress on our neck and shoulder muscles. Doing some simple and discrete desk stretches are a great way to keep your body comfortable and maintain good posture throughout your work day. Here is a fun routine by the famous Rodney Yee by Gaiam. Once you start this practice, you won’t want to miss another day.
3. Clear the Clutter
This one is both simple and pragmatic: keeping an organized and aesthetically pleasing work space makes us feel like we are in control and on our A-game. Having everything where it belongs, be it an important document or your lucky stapler, saves us time and stress from having to hung things down when we need them. Sally Allen, CEO of A Place for Everything gives this advice: “Keep the things you work on daily on top of your desk, the things you work on weekly in your desk, and the things you work on monthly around your desk. Everything else? Toss it.” Don’t be afraid though to add a personal photo or motivational artwork to bring your space to life. A beautiful and orderly work space breeds productivity and peace of mind.
4. Take a Whiff
When you start to feel the dreaded “midday drag” and you can’t seem to stay focused or alert, try reaching for some trusty essential oils. To help you feel invigorated and motivated, try placing a few drops of Peppermint, Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Lemongrass, or Ylang Ylang into your palms and rub them together. Then, bring your hand up to your nose and practice some Nadi Shodhan, or alternate nostril breathing. This technique helps keep the mind calm, release accumulated tension and fatigue, and cleanse the energy channels in our bodies. The fresh scents of the essential oils in combination with the Nadi Shodhan breathing will help to reenergize you and restore your vitality to complete your tasks. If you are not familiar with alternate nostril breathing, check out this video on how to properly practice this technique.
5. Rest Your Retinas
Our eyes work harder and more hours than any other part of our bodies. We owe them some serious overtime compensation! You might think that you eyes get to rest while you are asleep, but scientists suggest that our eyes actually “see” while we are dreaming, and the muscles are still in use during most stages of sleep. Taking three five-minute breaks in your day to relax your eye muscles can reduce stress and strain put on your neck and shoulder muscles, prevent headaches, and protect your vision. One of the more popular techniques is known as palming, or Bates technique. Begin by rubbing your hands together to create some warmth, then rest your elbows comfortably onto a table or desk. Close your eyes, and covered them with cupped hands, palms resting on your zygomatic bone. Breathe deeply as you let your eyes rest in darkness for three to five minutes. Fun fact: this practice is also used to treat an array of ophthalmological conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and many other vision problems
6. Say a Little Prayer
Often times when we are tackling a mountain of homework or slaving away at our place of employment, we forget the why of it all. Taking as little as sixty seconds once or several times in our day to express a moment of gratitude can completely alter our perspective on our circumstances. It is natural to feel moments where you think the stress isn’t worth it, the pay doesn't cut it, and you just can’t take anymore. Pausing to remember why you chose your work, be it school work or a career, helps bring back into focus the importance of what you do and restores its meaning. Maybe you are simply grateful to be able to participate in higher education, perhaps you are blessed to be able to support your family, put a roof over your head, or simply to fund the things you enjoy in life. Perhaps you are blessed with the opportunity to serve others in a powerful way. No matter the reason, being grateful for our circumstances and expressing that to the Universe can only invite more blessings, abundance, and opportunities into our lives and encourage us to continue to work with heart.
“I deserve the exciting and rewarding opportunities that I am blessed with in my professional and personal lives. My work space is a pleasure to be in and I have positive relationships with my colleagues (fellow students) based on respect. I care for myself throughout the day to ensure that I continue to be a productive and passionate worker.”