Creating a Culture of Self-Care in the Workplace

Here’s how you can help normalize and encourage self-care in the workplace.

a man sitting on a bench holding a tablet

The Calm Team

4 min read

Visualize a moment of self-care.

Chances are, it didn’t take place at work. Self-care time has traditionally been reserved for outside work hours—something like a morning jog or an evening bubble bath.

But self-care is changing. It’s becoming clear that weaving moments of self-care throughout your day is more beneficial than grinding through a hard day and leaving the “you” time for later.

In other words, it’s more effective to consider self-care a regular part of your routine than a complete departure from it. This sort of integration can help ensure ongoing good health (both mental and physical) and help you better manage your stress and build resilience.

Because here’s the thing: work is invariably intertwined with our life routines. We spend roughly a third of our lives at work, so shelving self-care for “later” just won’t cut it anymore. And we’re seeing the result of putting self-care off: burnout has become a growing problem. Self-care alone won’t solve burnout, but having it recognized as a priority within your organization can make a huge difference when it comes to building happier, more sustainable workday routines for yourself or your employees.

Here are some of our top tips for introducing a culture of self-care into your organization and your own work life, whether you’re an employee, a manager, or an HR professional.

Foster good habits

  • Have walking meetings. Encourage people to get out and about for meetings and calls. They’ve been scientifically proven to promote outside-the-box thinking, and they also promote health—both mental and physical.
  • Encourage people to log off and shut down. You want people to know they’re not just able but expected to maintain a healthy work–life balance.
  • Discourage eating lunch at the computer. Lunch is the perfect opportunity for people to get a bit of a mental break, whether by getting up and going for a walk or by simply focusing on something besides work.
  • Practice what you preach. You can set a good example for others on your team and in the organization by living by your own self-care rules! Manage your time, take breaks, go for walks, and let people know it’s okay to make their needs a top priority sometimes.

Respect people’s time

  • Build pauses into the workday. Calendars overfilled with meetings don’t give people the time they need to think or process at optimal levels. By working little breathing spaces into the workweek, you can encourage better work habits and allow everyone to reach their full potential. (How about 50-minute meetings as the default?)
  • Set communication time boundaries. Encourage employees to set boundaries around their time. While large, multinational companies will naturally have employees in different time zones, you don’t want anyone to be trying to work across zones in a manner that extends their workday to the breaking point. Similarly, while some people will need to send the occasional after-hours email or other message, it should be generally accepted—and explicitly noted—that people aren’t expected to answer immediately.
  • Allow for flexibility around and during the workday. People are far less likely to succumb to stress if they know they have the freedom to step out, tend to children, walk the dog, or do other important personal things without worry.

Practice mindfulness

  • Practice gratitude in your words and actions. And be sure to encourage the habit throughout your team and the wider organization. You want to build a supportive culture where people openly celebrate each other’s wins and support each other through hard times.
  • Support employees in their mindfulness journeys. Provide them with helpful tools or sessions that encourage them to slow down and breathe (Calm is great for this!). You could have group yoga sessions or even just introduce regular five-minute meditations.
  • Introduce wellness “check-ins.” Actively encourage employees to self-assess their mental well-being on a weekly basis, and have a system for them to report any concerns they have to line managers either through dedicated meetings or by expanding existing work check-ins to include this topic. Sometimes people need a reason to allow themselves to slow down and consider how they’re doing.

But most importantly…

Help others by helping yourself first

It’s easy to understand the need for self-care, but it’s a fact that those who look after others—such as HR professionals—tend to overlook themselves in the process.

To be at your best, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. We created a Self-Care Guide for HR Professionals to help you create your own personal self-care plan.

Basically, what we’re trying to say is…

Self-care is incredibly important. But it can be hard to know where to start when you want to encourage your employees to engage in it, as it’s such a personal thing.

That’s where tools like Calm Business come into their own. With a diverse library of content, there’s something for everyone—from guided meditations, to relaxing music to listen to at work or when unwinding at home, to sleep aids such as Soundscapes and Sleep Stories.

Sign up for our demo and see for yourself why Calm is the mental wellness tool of choice for HR professionals.

Help employees stress less, sleep better, and build more resilience with Calm Business

Book a demo
three iphones with different app icons on them