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Why Self-care at work isn't selfish

What's the definition of self-care?

Taking care of your physical, emotional and social well-being before that of others. We tend to think of it as selfish, when it's actually what people require in order to do their jobs well and be healthy. The sayings "you can't pour from an empty cup" and "put your oxygen mask on first before you help others" ring loud and true in the public arena. How much do you pay attention at work? I'm constantly having conversations with business owners AND employees who tell me their jobs are "highly stressful", "go-go-go" and "that they don't have time to even stop for lunch."

Any well-being options we discuss are to give them an hour's "peace" from their busy jobs. What if that break wasn't the one peaceful moment of their day but the reminder that every part of their day needs to have calm pockets- so that they didn't leave their stressful jobs for a well-being session, but went back to jobs that they didn't even call stressful because they approached their tasks with positivity, focus and efficiency? Many businesses fail to realize that self-care can be a strategic and integral part of modern business plans. Research suggests that adding self-care approaches and employee wellness programmes to your company operations can improve productivity, teamwork, and innovation.

91% of workers at companies that support well-being efforts say they feel motivated to do their best.

American Psychological Association

How can we create space for self-care at work?

According to research by The Energy Project, 79% of US workers don't get enough sleep, and 69% have trouble focusing and are easily distracted. This undoubtably impacts work performance and job satisfaction. There's plenty of advice out there for individuals on how to self-care, but very little for businesses or people wanting to create the right environment in their workplace. Yes it's vital to look after yourself so that you can lead and manage from a positive, engaged place. Yet a business has a huge responsibility and an opportunity to create an environment that supports, encourages and celebrates self-care. So as a business or someone who cares about their workplace, what can you do to create an environment where self-care is the norm? It starts with creating the right environment and giving staff permission and space to look after their needs first.

What does a supportive self-care environment look like?