HEALTH + WELLNESS

Simple ways to manage your well-being at work

Here's how you can mix self-care into your workday so it's not crammed into the six hours you have outside of work and sleep

Three people talk while walking up stairs

Image caption: Two strategies working in tandem: Taking the stairs and talking with friends

Image credit: GETTY IMAGES

If you do the math, there isn't enough time to relegate well-being to after-work hours. Each of us has 24 hours in a day. Subtract 10 for work and your commute, another eight for the recommended number of hours of sleep. Six remain for meals, exercise, running kids from one activity to another, friends, families, pets, and more. Your to-do list consistently exceeds the amount of time you have. Your well-being struggles to make the list.

How can you mix self-care into your workday so it's not crammed into the six hours you have outside of work and sleep? To get some suggestions as part of National Work and Family Month, the Office of Work, Life and Engagement asked Johns Hopkins employees how they manage well-being at work.

Nearly 50 employees submitted strategies, categorized below using the Six Dimensions of Wellness that are a foundational component of the work of the National Wellness Institute. According to the health-promoting organization, paying attention to the six dimensions provides a holistic view of one's sense of wellness and fulfillment.

Here are the strategies your co-workers say they use to support their well-being:

Occupational

  • Prepare for meetings
  • Prioritize to-do list and schedule
  • Streamline administrative tasks
  • Anticipate boss's reactions before acting
  • No work email on phone

Physical

  • Short walks throughout the day (most frequently submitted strategy)
  • Fitness classes and yoga offered by JHU
  • Taking the stairs and longer distances between points A and B
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Healthy lunches and snacks
  • Flu shot
  • Healthy office environment by monitoring humidity, light, germs, etc.
  • Standing desk

Social

  • Lunch or walk with co-worker
  • Team meetings weekly to share ideas and tools, and to acknowledge each other
  • Fun activities for the team such as game night
  • Talking through problems and joys with friends
  • Pictures of family and friends on desk
  • Greet people in the halls with hello/good morning

Intellectual

  • Listen to podcasts that focus on leadership and the workplace while commuting to help build motivation and perspective
  • Support campus life by looking at student poster presentations and learning about an organization
  • Taking advantage of classes that JHU offers its employees

Spiritual

  • Talking with students and reminding yourself that you are part of their success
  • Engaging in volunteer activities such as mentoring high school students or working off-site for Johns Hopkins' Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
  • Staying in a grateful mindset for my employment at JHU
  • Thanking others for their hard work, recognizing that everyone is doing their best, and spreading positivity
  • Knowing that I'm here to make a difference

Emotional

  • Being honest about how I feel without complaining
  • Meditating with the Daily Calm app
  • Taking a lunch break away from my desk to reset and refocus
  • Listening to podcasts during shift
  • Playing music in the background that is calming and enjoyable
  • Having fun because everything doesn't always have to be serious. Laugh!
  • Using deep breathing exercises
  • Making an appointment with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program when needed

Bonus strategy

One simple, and important, strategy is intentionally drinking water throughout the day. Water helps every system in your body function properly. For example, it carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, aids digestion, normalizes blood pressure, and provides energy.

Use this weight-based formula to help figure out how much water should you drink each day to prevent dehydration: Take your current weight and divide by two— drink that many ounces of water a day. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink 65 ounces of water a day.

Don't underestimate the power of drinking water from larger-than-usual or visually appealing vessels. Enhancing the flavor with fruit and herbs also helps some people meet their water goals.

Posted in Health+Wellness