Top Tips for Self-Care at Work | #BookBreak

Top Tips for Self-Care at Work | #BookBreak

Welcome back to Book Break!
This week, as you may know, is Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for this year is stress. To help with this theme, I’ve got a fantastic
book to talk to you about called A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental
by Natasha Devon. This one is a literal A-Z from anxiety to
zero f***s given. The reason I wrote this book is because
people still don’t really understand a lot of
the terminology and the illnesses and the conditions
and what they are. So this is essentially my attempt to get everyone
on the same page — literally. So in this episode of Book Break
I’m going to read Natasha’s chapter on S is for Self-Care. And then I’m going to try out some of her
tips And hopefully I’ll never be too stressed in
the workplace again. What Natasha makes clear in her book
is that stress is just an inevitable part of our daily working lives. It’s something we can all relate to,
it’s something we all have to deal with, but even though it’s not inherently bad,
we do all have our limits. And a really good way of looking at it
that Natasha talks about in her book is that we all have a stress container,
and everyone’s containers are different sizes. And that might be due to your personality,
or due to things that have happened to you before in your life. And when every little source of stress in
your life is adding, so whether that’s – you wake up and the house
is messy or you have a nightmare commute on your way
to work or you get to work and you have a ton of emails
to deal with, at some point it’s going to overflow. So some people can handle loads and loads
of stress before their container is full,
and some people might have a slightly smaller one that fills up a bit faster,
but either way, everyone does have their limit. And once our stress container is full, it’s
then really hard for us to see clearly, it’s really hard for us to do our work,
we just feel stressed and anxious, we might be in fight or flight mode,
so what we need is a tap on the containers so that we can release some of that stress,
and stop it from ever overflowing. So, that’s kind of the basics of the stress
container metaphor that Natasha talks about. But you’ve got to be really careful what you
use as your tap, because some of the really common ones might
not actually be that good for you. So it’s pretty common to get home from a difficult
day at work, and think that you want a glass of wine,
that’s definitely something that I do, or you might indulge in some unhealthy foods! And again, there’s nothing inherently bad
about having your wine, or having your treats, if that’s the decision that you’ve consciously
made to have. The problem is when we start defaulting to
these, let’s be honest, not very healthy habits as the only way we know how to release stress. When we start using unhealthy things on a
long term basis, the problem is we end up just adding more
stress back to our stress bucket. And you can see what a mess that made! So, what is the answer? Luckily, Natasha has given us some great self-care
tips to stop our stress containers from bubbling
over. The first, as you’ve no doubt heard before,
is exercise. But when you’ve got a busy work schedule,
I know you might feel too exhausted to hit the gym at the end of the day. So, how about waking up just twenty minutes
earlier and going for a run before work? Or, you could simply skip the tube and walk
into the office instead. And, instead of eating your lunch at your
desk, as we’re all guilty of doing,
take some time away from your screen, get some fresh air, and go for a stroll. Or you could even look for a local lunchtime
yoga class. And on those days when you really are just
too busy to get away, there are some exercises you can do at your
desk. Another great way of releasing stress is to
channel your creativity. Reading and writing are my favourite ways
of being creative, but music and the arts can be a really good
way of expressing yourself on those times when words – dare I say this
when I work for a publisher – sometimes don’t quite cut it. At work, it can be as simple as taking a few
minutes with your earphones in to listen to your favourite song. Or you might look for an after-work art class
a few nights a week. And, you can actually make your work itself
more creative by hosting brainstorms with your colleagues,
and experimenting with tackling old problems in a new way. Now you’ve probably been waiting for me to
mention mindfulness, which is one of the most famous forms of self-care.
All mindfulness actually means is a state in which you’re not
dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future,
you are just living in the present. And luckily, mindfulness is really easy, and
productive, to achieve in the workplace. Take a few minutes during the day,
especially if you feel your stress levels rising,
to take stock of your surroundings. Notice the feel of your body in the chair,
the feel of your feet on the ground. Notice the sounds of the office, and notice your breathing in and out, without
trying to control it. You don’t have to do deep yoga breaths. Just be. And of course, one of the best things you
can do for your stress levels is to get enough sleep. So switch off your phone nice and early. Reading is a much better late-night activity,
and Instagram will still be there in the morning, and aim to get about 7-8 hours of sleep every
night. Probably the thing that I find most effective
for emptying my stress bucket is getting out of the house,
even when I really don’t feel like it. Say it’s my only day off that week,
your instinct is to kind of hunker down, with your duvet, watch an entire series of
something on Netflix. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all,
if that’s what’s going to relax you. But for me I sometimes find that that can
add to my anxiety, because I’m just sort of sat there with my
thoughts, and I’m someone who has quite a lot of nervous
energy. So I like to get out and go for a walk. Find somewhere green. Go and spend some time with nature,
with trees, with grass. And that fresh air and exercise is, you know,
one of the top things you can do to create endorphins and empty your stress
container. You are a more effective employee,
you’re more effective for your business, if you take regular breaks. That’s your processing time,
that’s when you’re going to get your most innovative ideas. We’ve all had our most brilliant ideas at
2 o’clock in the morning. There’s a reason for that:
that’s when your brain is working stuff out. So I think bosses need to drive the message
home that they know that this is going to make their employers more professional, not
less. So what self-care routines do you have in
your day? Do leave a comment below with what you find
the most helpful, because then we can all find these really great tips and tricks for
us all to try out. And next week on Book Break, we’re going to
be talking about the books behind Benedict Cumberbatch’s new
role, Patrick Melrose. So do hit that subscribe button to make sure
that you don’t miss out on that. See you next time!

Comments (7)

  1. Yaaaas! Such an amazing video with messages we need to bring more and more into the collective consciousness πŸ˜€ Something I do when I'm stressed is talk out things that have been filling my cup, I suppose I could say! with my boyfriend or close friends, and it helps me process everything and put it in perspective. πŸ™‚ Thanks for making this video, Emma! x

  2. The different sized cups are such a helpful way of explaining stress, and the suggestions are fabulous. Sitting in traffic, which is the reality of my daily life, causes my stress cup to explode. Two things that help me are preparing myself mentally before I get in my car and making sure I leave enough time that I don’t have to worry about being late. If I should happen to arrive early, I think of it as found time to read or listen to music. And having audiobooks and music to listen to in the car are also super helpful.

  3. wow congratulations Emma! great subject, great video! I used to take all sorts of dancing classes but not anymore, I should start again soon :p

  4. Oh my gosh skittles and wine combo.. at first I was like.. NOOOO!! But then I was like.. you're my hero.
    Haha OK no really – this book sounds great! You're doing so well Emma!! Loving you on Book Break!

  5. Really impressive video – well done!

  6. I really need to put more effort into doing this.

  7. I use my bullet journal. I keep some adult colouring pages in their, a mix of coloured pens, and some postcards/tape and pictures so family so I can take an art therapy break in work. I always listen to music when I work, and never work for at least half an hour of lunch.

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