How to Dedicate Time to Self-Care When You’re Desk-Bound

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Something's gonna give.

“We don’t prioritise our psychological health,” psychologist Guy Winch told a TED crowd. “We know from dozens of studies that when your self-esteem is lower, you are more vulnerable to stress and to anxiety; that failures and rejections hurt more, and it takes longer to recover from them. So, when you get rejected, the first thing you should be doing is to revive your self-esteem, not join Fight Club and beat it to a pulp. When you’re in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same compassion you would expect from a truly good friend.”

Not treating yourself as good as you should? Try incorporating a few of these techniques into your workday.

Use breaks to your advantage

You might think there’s only a few potential options to your lunch break – sure, you can read a book or dip into meditation, but why not try something that really, mindfully, takes you away from your office situation? Find a roof terrace to lunch on, visit a local art gallery, hike to the highest point you can find near your probably-urban office, or try to uncover the closest water source (lakes, creeks, even water features) – reclaim a sense of adventure about your lunch break, and you’ll feel all the more restored for it.

Pivot your thinking

You’ve already got enough on your plate – do you need the pressure of making your workday less stressful too? Because self-care depends on your efforts, it can often feel as though you’re actually just adding to a long list of things to knock off.

If you reframe the issue, you should soon be free of that burden – don’t centre self-care activities around the word “should” or “must”. Instead, pose a long lunch or a walk around the block as something you’re free to take or not. The thought, “I could do yoga today and delay meeting prep until later” makes you the master of your self-care destiny.

Don’t always say “yes”

Being a “doer” is a great work ethic to have, but it should never be to the detriment of your own mental health or personal capacity. Taking on tasks certainly helps your team in the short term, but long term, if you become that person, you also become a bottleneck through which everything has to pass, ultimately making life difficult for your team who can’t move forward without your approval.

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