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  1. Blog
  2. Mental Health
  3. Last updated January 9, 2024

50 Self-Care & Workplace Wellness Ideas for You, Your Team & Your Company

Feed your body, mind, and soul while on the job

Happy employees celebrating
Photo courtesy of Yan Krukau

Intuit, recognized as one of our Best Companies to Work For, stands out prominently in Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies 2024 list, securing the impressive #4 spot in computer software. In addition, Intuit is rated most highly for Ability to Telecommute, Women in Leadership, and Support for Diversity. And their benefits back up their stellar reviews! A returnship program for women re-entering the workforce, fertility support and benefits, a hybrid work schedule, and numerous employee resource groups make up some of that top-tier support. Explore their ratings, benefits, and open jobs now.

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In recent years, a powerful revolution has begun taking place—one that doesn't involve flashy innovations or groundbreaking technologies, but rather centers around something fundamental yet often overlooked: self-care. 

Picture this: an office where deadlines are met not at the expense of wellbeing but in harmony with it; where productivity isn't fueled by relentless hustle but by a balance between work and self-nurturance. The importance of self-care in the workplace isn't merely a trend or a buzzword; it's a transformative force reshaping how we perceive productivity, engagement, and overall success in our professional lives. In this fast-paced world, nurturing oneself isn't just an act of kindness; it's a strategic investment that redefines the very essence of a thriving workplace ecosystem.

What is self-care?

Self-care is all about you—taking deliberate steps to look after yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's about recognizing what you need and making a conscious effort to meet those needs to avoid burnout, build resilience, and create a more balanced life.

It's not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Your self-care might involve simple activities like enjoying a soothing bath, diving into a good book, or taking a leisurely stroll. Or it could mean more structured practices like meditation, therapy, or seeking professional help when necessary.

The heart of self-care is putting yourself first in a world that often prioritizes demands and responsibilities. It's understanding that taking care of yourself isn't selfish; it's essential for your wellbeing. Ultimately, self-care empowers you to lead a healthier, more fulfilling life by tending to your physical, emotional, and psychological needs consciously.

How does self-care impact the workplace?

We made that sound pretty good, huh? Well, there’s research behind the self-care revolution. When employees prioritize their well-being, it positively affects their performance, productivity, and overall satisfaction at work. Here are some ways self-care influences the workplace:

1. Improved productivity

Taking care of yourself, whether through exercise, proper nutrition, or mindfulness practices, can enhance focus and concentration. Employees who practice self-care are often more productive as they have higher energy levels and better mental clarity.

2. Reduced stress

Stress can negatively affect your health and performance. Engaging in self-care activities like meditation, yoga, or taking breaks helps in managing stress levels, leading to a more relaxed and focused workforce.

3. Enhanced mental health

Self-care practices can significantly impact mental health. By prioritizing activities that promote mental wellbeing, such as seeking therapy, practicing mindfulness, or taking time off when needed, you can reduce burnout, anxiety, and depression.

4. Increased engagement and morale

When companies encourage self-care and offer resources or policies that support it, employees feel valued and supported. This fosters a positive work culture, boosting morale and increasing employee engagement.

5. Better work-life balance

Self-care helps in maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life. Employees who practice self-care are often more satisfied with their jobs as they can effectively manage their time and commitments.

6. Reduced absenteeism and turnover

Prioritizing self-care can lead to fewer sick days and lower turnover rates. Healthy and satisfied employees are less likely to miss work due to health issues and are more likely to stay loyal to companies that prioritize their wellbeing.

7. Improved relationships

Taking care of yourself can positively impact relationships in the workplace. When employees feel good physically and mentally, they tend to have better interactions with colleagues, fostering a more supportive and collaborative environment.

Overall, integrating self-care practices into the workplace culture not only benefits individual employees like you, but also has a ripple effect on the entire organization, leading to a more positive and productive work environment.

Categories of care: The 5 types of self-care

Physical self-care

This involves nurturing your body through proper nutrition, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and medical check-ups. It encompasses activities that enhance physical wellbeing, such as yoga, jogging, balanced dieting, staying hydrated, and taking breaks to stretch during work hours.

Emotional self-care

Focusing on emotional self-care involves acknowledging and managing feelings. Techniques like journaling, practicing mindfulness or meditation, seeking therapy or counseling, engaging in hobbies, or spending time with loved ones can help regulate emotions and promote emotional well-being.

Social self-care

Cultivating healthy relationships and fostering connections is an integral part of self-care. This includes spending quality time with friends, family, or supportive communities, setting boundaries in relationships, and recognizing when to seek social support.

Professional self-care

Balancing work commitments and personal life is crucial for overall wellbeing. Prioritizing tasks, setting realistic goals, delegating when necessary, and taking breaks to prevent burnout are essential in professional self-care. Additionally, continuous learning and skill development contribute to professional growth and satisfaction.

Spiritual self-care

This dimension involves nurturing your spirit and finding a sense of purpose or meaning. Engaging in activities that align with personal values, such as meditation, prayer, nature walks, volunteering, or practicing gratitude, can enhance spiritual well-being.

These categories aren't mutually exclusive, and a holistic approach to self-care often involves a self-care checklist that's a combination of these dimensions tailored to individual preferences and needs. Regularly practicing these strategies can promote a balanced and fulfilling life.

Here are 50 ways that you, your team, and your company can improve general wellbeing on all fronts. 

50 self-care tips and workplace wellness ideas for you, your team, and your company

Self-care tips for you

1. Meditate in between major tasks

All brain breaks are valuable, but taking the time to meditate, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can really improve your emotional wellbeing. Apps like Insight Timer and Headspace can help you clear your mind when you need to.

2. Detox from social media

Social media isn’t all bad, but an estimated 210 million people are addicted worldwide, and teens who use it frequently are demonstrably more likely to display symptoms of depression —especially if they’re female. Consider a detox to remind your brain what’s really important and escape the dopamine abuse cycle that leads to social media dependence.

3. Get a massage

No matter what industry you work in, massages help you ease whatever physical tension you might be holding onto. And if you have a more rigorous job, then they help you take care of your body. Relax those muscles.

4. Invest in a standing desk or pad

While sitting might not be the new smoking, doing so for more than 8 hours can increase your risk of chronic disease by 10 to 20 percent. Try out an adjustable standing desk to mitigate the negative impact of excessive sitting and stay awake through the afternoon slump. In jobs where you stand all day, ask your employer for a pad to place beneath your feet.

5. Take exercise breaks

Exercise not only facilitates better physical health, but it’s also proven to help emotionally and mentally thanks to the release of endorphins. Try walking around the office or the block for 10 minutes when you feel overwhelmed or tired to improve mood and focus.

6. Take breaks in general

One 5 to 10 minute break every 90 minutes can help your brain rest and rejuvenate, providing major focus benefits. Use that time to do something that distracts you from your job—listen to music, call your grandma, whatever.

7. Keep healthy snacks nearby

Grazing throughout the day is crucial to keeping your energy up. A balance of healthy fats, carbs, and protein will improve your mental acuity and help you avoid crashing while you’re working.

8. Fight eye strain

Tools like Time Out, Flux, and Pangobright can help reduce the strain caused by long computer sessions, and you can always try blue light glasses. Eye strain from too much blue light can cause fatigue and headaches, so tools that reduce it or remind you to take breaks are key.

9. Keep a journal

This should be separate from your planner and notepad and should serve as a place for you to write out any inevitable negative emotions that might arise. This can help you identify common stressors and common patterns so you can begin the process of coping with them properly.

10. Drink from a reusable water bottle

This is an easy, convenient way to up your water intake—and a good reason to stretch your legs in the middle of the day. Stay hydrated, but be sure to wash the bottle often to prevent bacterial buildup.

11. Bring in a small plant for your desk

It’ll brighten up the your cubicle decor, add some oxygen, and could even improve your mood, according to a University of Texas study that found the colors blue and green can improve feelings of wellbeing and contentment.

12. Take the stairs whenever possible

Obviously this is a lot tougher if you’re on the 15th floor (unless you run marathons) or you’re always on your feet, but even just climbing a few flights of stairs can help get your heart rate up and bring up your energy for a while.

13. Get more sleep

We all know we need to do it, yet it’s all too easy to sleep less than the recommended seven to eight hours. Get as much as you can so you can feel better, and your ability to focus and work efficiently will be improved tenfold.

14. Meal prep

Cooking nutritious meals in advance will save you money and reduce stress throughout the week. And it’ll ensure you don’t just grab something quick and convenient that’ll make your energy spike and drop.

15. AND go out to eat or order takeout 

If you’re in a role where you provide for people every day (restaurant industry, working moms, caretaker), treat yourself to a nice meal out. It’s relaxing to have someone take care of you for once. You deserve it.

16. Try some breathing exercises to relax

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, deep breathing can help. Try these to unwind and combat anxiety.

17. Make your lunch break an actual break

If you work in an office, it’s important to step away from your desk and change up your surroundings for the sake of mental health. You’ll come back even stronger and more efficient.

18. Bike to work, if you can

If your commute is short enough to make this feasible, it can be a great way to get exercise and reduce your carbon footprint.

19. Build a support system outside the workplace

It’s good to have strong relationships with coworkers, but you need to have people outside your job who you can vent to for the sake of work-life balance. (Just make sure to reciprocate and encourage them to vent back!)

20. Reduce your caffeine intake

Far easier said than done, but it’s doable if you do it slowly. If you drink multiple cups of coffee, cut it down cup by cup. Eventually, try switching to black tea, and ultimately green tea, which has low caffeine levels and has many health benefits.

21. Make sure you can communicate freely with your boss

Hopefully your boss is already reaching out to you, and you feel comfortable speaking candidly with them—especially if any health issues or stressful situations arise. If you don’t feel like you can communicate with your boss, it might be time for a visit to HR or find a manager or peer you can talk to openly.

22. Take up hobbies, if you have the time

It’s really more a question of having the energy between long days of work and daily life, but hobbies truly can improve your mood significantly.

23. Work on posture

Tools like these can help you improve your posture, which helps maintain a better spine, prevent injuries, and even improve your mood.

Self-care tips for your team

24. Celebrate your coworkers’ wins

It’s not hard to recognize someone’s work and life achievements. Whether you compliment a coworker on their killer presentation or congratulate them on finally buying a house, a little acknowledgement goes a long way.

25. Schedule walking meetings

Unless the team needs to work on laptops during meetings, it doesn’t take much to move the typical meeting outside. Walk-and-talk meetings can help the team get some fresh air and some endorphins before heading back to the office.

26. Order a team lunch

Break bread with your team to boost morale. Improved morale means stronger wellbeing and happier employees; what more could you want?

27. Form recreational teams

Team-building activities like these can help you and your coworkers develop strong rapport and develop a healthy group dynamic. Recreational sports (or table sports) kills two birds with one stone, helping you and your team stay active while having a good time.

28. Plan a team retreat

If your team’s feeling particularly stressed, a retreat will help you decompress in a group setting.

29. Host a potluck and recipe swap

So long as a balanced number of people are contributing, potlucks and recipe swaps can be a great way for your team to get to know one another. Try encouraging employees to bring in dishes that tie to their backgrounds—a favorite family recipe or a dish with cultural significance.

30. Start group or one-on-one feedback sessions

Management should focus on cultivating open, communicative relationships with employees. Listening to employees talk it out in group or individual sessions can help managers understand the atmosphere of the workplace and adjust it to best fit team needs.

31. Schedule a happy hour

Fun, relaxing activities can liven up a workplace, creating a friendly atmosphere that keeps everyone’s spirits up. Not sure about alcohol in the workplace? Check out InHerSight’s guide to deciding whether to drink at work or our list of events that aren’t happy hour.

32. Introduce safe support groups

These can ensure employees grow comfortable, develop trust with one another, and feel supported at work in any challenges they might face. They don’t have to be about solving problems, and they definitely shouldn’t be mandatory. But they should be available.

33. Provide surprise snacks in the break room

Everyone loves a treat. Every once in a while, bring in doughnuts or other snacks. Don’t forget to provide healthy snacks, too. Fruits, veggies, and trail mix offer a welcome break to the constant sugar rush.

34. Facilitate mental health awareness discussions

Maybe your employees don’t recognize when they need time off, or maybe your managers need educating on how to help direct reports needing support. HR can lead the charge in ensuring this discussion is sensitive and focuses on reducing stigmas.

35. Plan a game or field day

A good few rounds of capture the flag is not only a fun way to get active and reconnect to childhood, but it also increases feelings of wellbeing between team members. Not sure your office wants to sweat out the stress? Try playing games like Boggle to encourage lighthearted competition.

36. Put up colorful art in the office or break room

Art can help improve the overall feel of a space, and bright colors can improve morale and liven up the space. Plus, if you’re looking to create a more inclusive atmosphere, art is a good place to start.

37. Institute summer Fridays or freebie days

Taking off early in the summer months can improve work-life balance and ensure you and your team get the Vitamin D you need to thrive. If you’re not on a typical 9-to-5 schedule, try giving employees a surprise paid day off; a little free time goes a long way.

Self-care tips for your company

38. Look into Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

A good EAP provides mental health screening, counseling, and referral services to promote wellness. If it’s tailored to employee needs, it can go a long way toward improving wellness in the workplace.

39. Provide mental and physical health assessments

HR should help implement assessments with the utmost sensitivity and care because, when done haphazardly, they can quickly lead to a culture of exclusion and discrimination. That said, thoughtful and unpressured employer-provided assessments can help employees identify any possible issues early on. After that, it’s up to individuals to make decisions about their health and care.

Read more: 6 Companies with Self-Care Initiatives We Can Get Behind

40. Implement flexible hours

A rigid schedule isn’t for everyone. Giving employees the freedom to adjust their start and end time, even if it’s just by 30 minutes, demonstrates trust while easing stress. Further, remote work opportunities can be crucial for busy parents, employees with long commutes, or anyone who’s experiencing a tough life situation and needs to work from home.

41. Rethink your dress code

Getting rid of your dress code at work might not be possible, depending on your career field; employees might need to wear business attire or a uniform every day. But encouraging employees to present themselves as who they are—piercings, tattoos, hairstyles, jeans on Fridays—fosters inclusion.

42. Offer free flu shot clinics

The last thing anyone wants is an outbreak at work. A clinic at work is an easy way to get everyone vaccinated and get ahead of the flu.

43. Boost awareness about the nurse hotline included in health insurance

This assumes that your company provides a comprehensive health care plan, which it absolutely should. You shouldn’t need to go through WebMD and be told you’re on the verge of death when you’re not feeling well; most good plans include a 24-hour nurse hotline for trustworthy advice. Make sure your employees know what’s available.

44. Negotiate gym or yoga discounts

You can’t always provide an on-site workout facility, but exercise is important to many employees’ personal lives, and memberships can break the bank. Providing vouchers or discounts eases their expenses and encourages them to take time for themselves.

45. Offer paid time off

Everyone needs a break sometimes, and paid time off can provide employees with the stress relief they need to return to work refreshed. If you’re a manager, remember to take time off, too; when you go on vacation or take personal days, you show your employees it’s okay for them to as well.

46. Offer soft skills development training

Helping your team develop strong communication and problem-solving skills will ensure they’re able to successfully navigate workplace relationships and difficult situations. This is key to promoting emotional health.

47. Create welcoming environments for collaboration and innovation

Encourage employees to participate in judgement-free brainstorm sessions or to test new ideas without worrying whether they’ll fail. Celebrate off-the-wall thoughts and failures because they’re at the heart of creativity.

48. Create educational workshops about “life” responsibilities

When employees have the information they need to make wise decisions in, say, finances, they’re set up for future success and are less likely to develop stress in that arena. Plan workshops that help employees navigate their lives outside work.

49. Encourage employees to take sick leave and personal days

Sick leave prevents the spread of illness in the workplace (something we all learned to value even more so during the pandemic). Some people can’t afford to go without pay, so providing a few sick days will ensure employees can recover at home without having to worry. The same goes for paid personal days: An employee might not have a cough or virus, but a day to recover from burnout can be crucial to continued employee engagement.

50. Limit overwork

Working for too many hours is proven to be highly harmful to employees’ health. Establish a culture that encourages time off and building a life outside of work. Healthy people work more efficiently and, more importantly, are happier. Happy people equals a happy office.

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