As we begin a new year, promoting a culture of self-care can improve team collaboration, productivity, and performance. While self-care is a powerful tool, it continues to be underutilized in the workplace. Self-Care is a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health as well as overall personal satisfaction. The good news is as a work community, a new tone, pace, and culture can be established. Below are some concrete initiatives that can aid in creating a community of self-care where you work.
- Promote traditional self-care and relaxation techniques. Be mindful of the physical environment around your workplace and how you could invite more joy, fun, and creativity through the use of color, scents, sound, lighting, etc. Some examples include:
- Establish a wellness committee.
- Create a box or basket that includes easy, go-to comfort and care items that help you engage in playfulness, relaxation, and re-energizing.
- Establish a mandala coloring area in your staff break room or kitchen with colored pencils, gel pens, or markers that you and your co-workers can use for a creative break.
- Bring creativity into your agency’s staff meetings by beginning with a meaningful poem, song, story, or image that relates to the organization’s values and mission.
- Increase social support. Social support can be defined as proactive communication, care, and understanding. Workers with low levels of support from family, friends, colleagues, and mentors are particularly at risk for productivity loss and health problems. Start a mentorship program that will allow employees to work with leadership on their managerial skills and initiate team-based activities that encourage camaraderie.
- Shorten meetings. Unnecessary or inefficient meetings are a common complaint. That’s why ending meetings early can make a big difference. Review your team’s meeting schedule regularly and make sure each meeting is absolutely necessary. Ask for team input on meeting agendas and structure. Consider canceling meetings altogether if there isn’t a pressing topic to discuss.
- Set an example by setting boundaries. Do you routinely answer emails after work hours? If so, then chances are other employees do too even if it isn’t implicitly asked of them. Rewarding busyness not only stifles creativity, it can also lead to unintended health consequences and time away from work. Setting boundaries with your own time sets the tone for your team’s habits as well.
This month challenge your department to identify ways to promote self-care activities within your workplace. The results will be worth the time invested. Remember that small changes can yield big outcomes.Tiffany Flowers, Counselor, Synchrony