Creating wellness in our lives is simple, but not always easy. Our work life is often overlooked when considering self-improvement. Developing a plan to incorporate wellness into our work requires time for self reflection.
Find a quiet space and make yourself comfortable. Take out a pen and paper and set aside an hour or two to contemplate the following questions. Write down any thoughts that come to mind without editing them.
- Am I doing work that matters to me?
- What do I set aside to work on career activities (Example: family activities, health care, exercise, spiritual practices, etc.)
- What part of my work brings me deep satisfaction?
- Do I have the tools and education to do my work well?
- Why did I choose this work?
- What do I want to achieve professionally this year?
During your reflection, you may have come to some conclusions about changes you may need to make in your career path. If so, begin working on a plan to shift your career in the direction that you want to move, but continue to work to improve wellness in your current situation.
Personal Occupational Wellness Plan
- Plan your day the night before
Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, had it right when he encouraged the habit of “Begin with the end in mind.” In an era where technology is a ready distraction, having a plan to accomplish daily tasks and minimize disruptions from email, telephone calls and drop-in visitors. Take 5-10 minutes before you leave for the day to review your task list. Note 3-5 priorities for the next day. Then review your appointment schedule and carve out time to complete your most important tasks.
- Reset your workspace before you leave work
Clear off your desk, straighten furniture, wash your coffee cup. Place items where they belong so that when you enter your workspace in the morning, it is fresh and ready for action.
- Start the day with a ritual
Create a morning ritual for work. A simple ritual would be to sit at your desk with your cup of coffee or tea, turn on the desk lamp, take three deep breaths and repeat your affirmation for the day, take three more deep breaths before turning on the computer and viewing the first order of business.
- Complete a priority task first
Schedule some time at the beginning of your day to complete at least one of the high priority tasks that you identified the night before. Checking that item off the list right away increases motivation and frees up mental energy.
- Take breaks throughout the day
First, eat lunch every day away from your desk. Even if you don’t have enough time to leave the office, take your lunch to the employee lounge. This reduces the temptation to continue to work through lunch and provides an opportunity to interact with coworkers.
Second, take mini breaks every hour. Americans sit too much and it is hard on the body and bad for health. Stand up and stretch for one minute or walk to furthest restroom. Refill your water bottle in the employee lounge or take a quick walk around the building.
- Fuel your body
Pack healthy snacks to nosh on throughout the day. Keep packets of nuts, protein bars, and dried fruit in your desk for quick boosts of energy. Keep a water bottle on your desk to refill throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- Leave on time
In truth, very few things can’t be left until the next day. When you reach the end of your scheduled work day, take a few minutes to plan for tomorrow and reset your office, then turn off the lights and leave the office. Spend the evening building relationships, engaging in creative endeavors, exercising, writing, reading, and whatever else brings you joy.