The back-to-business energy of autumn usually brings heavier workloads—not to mention seasonal health stressors like allergies, the common cold, and the flu.
If you’re already feeling the strain of your autumn workload, try these tips to nurture your wellness routine for healthier practices both in and out of the office.
7 manageable wellness practices
Mental health issues are the leading cause for disability and illness in the world, and employers are taking notice. More organizations are taking steps to promote employee wellness to improve organizational culture and productivity. But the reality is that employers can only do so much—as an employee, you are in the best position to practice everyday habits that will help you feel and do your best.
You likely already have some wellness practices in place, but your routine could probably use a boost in particularly stressful times. Give these seven manageable, no-nonsense wellness practices a try:
- Create a morning self-care ritual. Self-help guru Louise Hay famously said, “How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life.” The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it, so it is worthwhile to make time for activities that set you up for success. Before work, you could work out, meditate, read for pleasure, or cook a healthy breakfast. Choose activities that you can commit to, make you feel good, and promote a positive mental attitude.
- Eat mindfully. Making food choices at work is usually about convenience, which despite your best intentions, may lead to more caffeine and junk food than you would like. Instead of buying your meals every day, pack a healthy lunch and snacks at least once per week and see how you feel. Your body—and wallet—will thank you. PIf you want to know how you can improve your eating habits, try using a free food diary app like MyFitnessPal or LifeSum.
- Find what moves you. We all know that exercise is good for us, but many of us struggle to make it a consistent habit. The key here is to find an activity you actually enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do activities just because they are popular, and don’t just fixate on weight loss (even if that is one of your goals). Focus instead on doing something good for your body and mind.
- Work with—not against—stress. Our culture loves to complain about stress, but unfortunately, that does nothing to alleviate it. Instead of complaining or resisting stress, it may be more helpful to acknowledge and accept it, so that you can find a productive way to work through it and move on. This could mean exercise, talking to someone you trust or a therapist, or engaging in a fulfilling hobby.
- Be a better sleeper. It is too common to brag about getting only a few hours of shut-eye per night, but there are serious physical and emotional consequences to not getting enough sleep. Regulate your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time daily, including the weekends.
- Schedule your annual checkups. Nobody likes going to the doctor or dentist, but preventive care is vital for your wellness. Make time to attend your annual physical appointment and semi-annual dental cleanings, as well as any other specialists you may be in the care of.
- Spend time with your loved ones. This is an easy practice to take for granted, but it is an undeniably powerful force in your wellness. The more time you spend in the company of loved ones, the greater the natural boost to your mood. And feeling happier can alleviate stress and fortify your immunity.
Design your own wellness routines and rituals
Figuring out which of your wellness practices to deepen and which ones to introduce into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. Answer these questions for yourself:
- What wellness routines and rituals do you currently practice? Of those, which ones make you feel really good?
- What is one thing you’re not already doing that you’ve been putting off doing?
- What is one thing you’re not already doing that you wish you had time for?
- How much time do you have to commit to your wellness every day/week?
- Is there any way to rearrange your schedule—or cut out unimportant activities—to make more time for yourself? (For example, could you go to bed earlier if you shut off your TV earlier?)
The foundation of your wellness is a series of simple, accessible tips you can subscribe to and tailor to your own specific needs and goals. Focus on making changes one at a time. And don’t be afraid to try different things and mix-and-match what works best for you.
Have some tips for staying well at the busiest time of the year? Let us know on social media.
Nisha Kumar Kulkarni is a writer and creative coach in New York City. She helps women living with chronic illness and mental health challenges to pursue their passion projects without compromising their health.