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How to Take Care of Yourself at Work

Self-Care Rituals You Can Practice Even If You're Glued to Your Desk

Mental health and wellbeing is very close to our hearts, and while we truly aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth today, and for the rest of October.

We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.

Let's make one thing clear. We're not supporting the idea that you should be chained to your desk all day, every day. It's a no-brainer that there's nothing healthy about that life, and nobody wants to end up with the dreaded "chair butt". But, if every single week you're saying to yourself, "This week I'll be better", only to look up from your keyboard to realise it's Friday and although you've made it to the end of your to-do list, you've failed to check anything off your self-care list, again. So we're calling it, you need to put a stop to this behaviour now, because before you know it, it's going to be Christmas, and besides your swivel chair being well and truly imprinted onto your backside, you're going to be burnt out.

And look, we get it, life can get really busy sometimes, and maybe you really want to be a major boss lady and get sh*t done. However, it's in these moments that our automatic reaction is to demote our self-care to take a back seat to our #desklife. You know, those kinds of weeks where you actually consider if it's worth paying your exorbitant Sydney rent, 'cause you're pretty sure all you do it sleep in your apartment?

So if you feel like your work desk is the new definition of "ball and chain" in your life, we've pulled together a few achievable ways to keep your self-care front of mind, even during those times when it feels like you haven't left your desk in a year. No, you don't "live here now".

  • Take regular breaks: We know sitting all day is bad for your body, but not taking regular breaks can also negatively impact your state of mind. Regardless of the fact you might think you're wasting time by taking ten to get some fresh air, you're more likely to be more productive if you take regular breaks. Whether you use an app, set reminders on your phone, or keep it as simple as committing to take a five-minute break every time you need to use the bathroom. Find what works for you.
  • Drink more water: Drinking more water sounds simple, but it's so important. Sitting under artificial lighting and in air-conditioning can leave you dehydrated, so to ensure you're getting in you're recommend eight glasses a day, try using a smart water bottle, or water tracker to help. Bonus, sipping more fluids will mean more toilet breaks, which is just another reason to get up and stretch your legs.
  • Keep things clean: As they say, a messy space equals a messy mind. But we're more concerned about the impact an untidy desk will have on your health. We recommend keeping anti-bacterial wipes handy, so you can regularly wipe down your desk and electronics to prevent the spread of office germs — you don't have time for that office flu, right?
  • Have healthy snacks on hand: When you're pulling the long hours at your desk, there's no temptation greater than the office lolly jar, or running to the nearest convenience store for a quick (and sugar-filled) pick-me-up. And although you might think you deserve it (which in moderation, you do!), it's not something you want to make a habit of. All that caffeine and sugar will leave you crashing hard in the long term, so take the time to stock your desk with healthy snacks, or meal prep a few extra things every week that can keep you sustained if you end up working late.
  • Consider your footwear: Now this might not be an obvious one, but even if you're sitting down for the majority of your day, it's worth re-considering your choice of footwear. Regardless of the fact your heels might not hurt when you're off your feet, you need to be aware of the ergonomics of how you're sitting all day, and the impact this can have on your body over the course of the day.
Image Source: iStock
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