Self-care should not be seen as an indulgence. In fact, employee self-care is essential to a productive, efficient workplace. Self-care is the deliberate actions people take to care for their mental, emotional and physical health. Good self-care can improve mood, enhance relationships, and reduce stress and anxiety.
How important is self-care? A year-long study of medical professionals found that those who embraced self-care significantly reduced burnout, emotional exhaustion and perceived stress. However, psychotherapist and co-author of the study Stefan Deutsch, says resistance to self-care is a problem that greatly affects the healthcare field.
Encourage good self-care among your employees with these tips. Couple them with wellness gift ideas to drive home your point.
Self-care tips and wellness gifts
- Planning: Self-care focuses on actions that refuel, rather than drain, a person. This can mean different things to different people. Ask employees to come up with a list of things they enjoy, like cooking, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, walking or going to the gym. Then encourage them to designate time in their daily schedule for those activities. After all, actively planning for the activity makes it more likely to happen. Provide a planner notebook to help them chart their activities.
- Mindfulness: Automatic, quick and unconscious thoughts drive feelings. Unfortunately, the direction of these feelings is not always positive. Practicing mindfulness can help employees control their thoughts before any negative feelings are created. There are countless free apps to help your team in their quest to become more mindful—for instance, The Mindfulness App or Headspace®. Taking small breaks to breathe, stretch or even color is another great strategy. Consider stocking breakrooms with adult coloring books and yoga mats for mindfulness anytime!
- Healthy habits: Although self-care has many definitions, everyone can benefit from basic good health. Encourage employees to adopt healthy habits and add an element of fun by holding a wellness challenge. Employees can record their activities, such as getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, eating a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, exercising three times a week and drinking 64 ounces of water daily. Those who complete each challenge can be entered into a prize drawing for a wellness gift, like a water bottle, health tracker or personal fitness kit.
- Work/life balance: Spending quality time outside of work with family and friends is a key element of self-care for many people. In fact, research shows that good relationships can improve the immune system, lower stress and provide meaning and purpose in people’s lives.
- Laughter: The benefits of laughter are no joke! In the short term, it can relieve stress and tension, stimulate the heart and lungs, and increase the release of endorphins. Long-term, laughter can improve mood, increase the immune system and even help ease pain. Next time you plan an employee outing or team-building event, consider hitting up the local comedy club. Or bring on a chuckle to the office with these talking stress relievers. Laughter really can be the best medicine when it comes to self-care.
Healthcare professionals are in the business of caring for others. Encourage your team to also focus on themselves by promoting good self-care. These tips, coupled with wellness gifts, can get your team off to a good start. Be well and take care!