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10 Self-Care Rituals You Can Do Right at Your Desk

 Rituals to do at your desk
Rituals to do at your desk

Everyone is talking about self-care, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. Often people think self-care is all about taking a relaxing bath after a long day or spending money on an expensive facial or other service. In actuality, self-care is any action you take to ensure you stay healthy and functioning regardless of what’s happening in your life. Even more importantly, self-care needs to take place all the time, not just when it’s most “convenient” for you.

Don’t have a lot of time to recharge? Try one or more of these quick self-care rituals at your desk whether you're in the office or WFH for a quick refresh to help you chase (or achieve) gr8ness.

1. Do a 60-Second Cleanup

Maybe you don’t have time right now to do a deep clean of your entire work space, but set a timer for one minute and stack any loose papers, throw away old takeout (no, you’re not going to eat that Mexican food from yesterday), and put away those stray supplies and clutter. You’ll feel more organized in seconds. 

2. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Don’t have time to run out to lunch? Keeping a few healthy mix-and-match options like superfood granola (ahem, we’ve got the tastiest stuff on the market!), bananas, and peanut butter at your desk can make all the difference. 

3. Keep Comfortable Clothing on Hand

There’s nothing more distracting than wearing the wrong clothing for your office environment, so have a cozy sweater nearby for when your workplace feels like a freezer, a lighter work-appropriate shirt if your office feels like a sauna, and comfortable shoes you can throw on if you just can’t handle heels, boots, or other formal shoes all day. 

4. Set a Timer for a Three-Minute Stretch

You don’t need to go full-on yoga, but stepping away from your screen, closing your eyes, and stretching your hands over your head and from side to side while you stand up can go a long way. And if you want to get some social time in, grab your desk mate or cubicle buddy and encourage them to join. 

5. Practice Good Eye Screen Health

Like most 21st century workers, your eyes are probably fatigued from the amount of time spent staring at screens. Make sure you’re practicing the 20-20-20 rule, where you look 20 feet away from your screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You’d be surprised how much of a difference such a simple exercise makes.

6. Keep a List of Inspiring Words and Images

Have a favorite quote or a photo from a time you felt most relaxed? Keep them close to your desk on a sticky note or in a frame so that motivation is always close by. For example, our founder Erica’s mantra is, “Always stay #hungryforgr8ness!”

Here are a couple of our other favorites:

  • “To be great is to be misunderstood.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great.” - Cher
  • “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” - Oprah Winfrey

7. Stay Hydrated

When your day goes completely off the rails, one of the first things you probably lose track of is how much water you’re drinking. Keep a water bottle or cup on your desk so that you feel driven to drink throughout the day to stay on top of your hydration.

Another pro tip: Consider investing in a water bottle with time marks for how much water you should drink at each hour. It makes the process of staying hydrated a lot easier — and more fun.

8. Take Unnecessary Meetings Off of Your Calendar

You can do everything right when it comes to your physical well-being (like eating nourishing snacks and cleaning your desk), but if your work schedule itself is too much, there’s only so much quick physical environment fixes can do.

Take a look at your schedule and ask yourself: Is there at least one meeting I can remove from my calendar today? Maybe there’s no reason for you to check in with your boss this afternoon, or your team is ill-prepared for that brainstorming session you were going to do at the end of the workday.

Real talk: Most meetings can be switched to email or are just entirely unwarranted to begin with. Take them out!

9. Set Boundaries With Nearby Co-workers

One of the most important things you can do with your colleagues is set boundaries for when they can expect you to be social and when they need to let you get your work done. Maybe there are visual cues (“If my headphones are in, I’m in the middle of something”) or verbal ones (“I’m in the middle of a deadline, but let’s sit together at lunch”). Either way, trust us: You’ll be so happy you said something. 

10. Set Blocks of Time to Respond to Emails

Feel like you’re drowning from your inbox? You’re not alone; the average worker spends 28% of their week answering emails. Instead of staying online at all times, consider setting aside specific hours that you’ll dedicate to just answering email.

For example, maybe you check your message for 30 minutes at 8am, 12pm, and 6pm and spend the rest of the day getting your actual work done. And a word of advice: Hard as it is, we’d also recommend turning off email push notifications on your phone. You really don’t need to hear that ping noise every three minutes. 

The Bottom Line:

Feeling your best at work doesn’t have to be a chore, nor do you have to take out huge chunks of your day to rest and recharge. Set that timer for five minutes and get your self-care on!

Looking for more ways to incorporate self-care into your everyday? Check out our Top 7 Inspiring Podcasts or our Top 6 Must-Read Health & Wellness Books to motivate you on or off the clock!