Six Self-Care Behaviors to Implement in the Workplace

In today's society, work can take up a good part of the day. Therefore, it's a good idea to have some strategies that promote self-care in the workplace.
Six Self-Care Behaviors to Implement in the Workplace
Gorka Jiménez Pajares

Written and verified by the psychologist Gorka Jiménez Pajares.

Last update: 03 June, 2023

On average, you dedicate eight hours to your working day for approximately 50 years. This represents a substantial percentage of your life. Therefore, to make your journey as pleasant as possible, it’s important to take into account certain practices in the workplace.

Self-care at work translates into health promotion. It’s worth remembering the accurate definition made by the World Health Organization: “Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not only the absence of conditions and diseases”. Thus, health also alludes to the fact that we’re capable of carrying out behaviors that promote it.

“It is about developing skills that allow the person to effectively face the demands and challenges of daily life, through adaptable and positive behaviors.”

-Mabel Rocío Hernández-

Woman working
Self-care skills in the workplace guarantee adequate occupational health.

Occupational health

As early as 1950, this body created an exclusive committee for work-related health. Self-care skills are characterized as being present in the daily life of an individual. Following this line of thought, we can infer the fact that these skills can be learned. Self-care skills allude to two facts:

  • Intentional acts that you sometimes perform without questioning them. For example: taking a deep breath when you feel stressed.
  • Deliberate acts on which you’ve previously deeply reflected. These are born from experience since, in the past, you learned that certain behaviors provided you with well-being. For example, going to psychotherapy.

These are the skills that you may have learned in the past and that you can also learn now. They’re voluntary and must be carried out calmly in the here and now.

Six self-care strategies in the workplace

The objective of self-care at work is multiple. It focuses on the restoration and strengthening of mental health, as well as the prevention of any disorders. Here are six helpful strategies.

1. Know how to deal with stress and tension

Stress is one of the great epidemics in today’s society. At work, factors such as an excess of tasks or ambiguity in the role you play can be sources of intense stress. You can find refuge in simple techniques like the 3×3 breathing method :

  • Breathe in while counting to three.
  • Hold your breath for another three counts.
  • Finally, exhale for three more.

You can translate the three into whatever suits you best: three seconds, three finger taps, or three steps.

2. Become aware of your own emotions and feelings

Knowing more about your emotional universe is extraordinary. A step further would be to understand the message that the emotion you’re experiencing is trying to convey to you. It’s a matter of emotional self-awareness. For example:

  • The emotion of fear is usually associated with dangerous stimuli. If there are dangers and you recognize them, you can develop more precise coping plans.
  • If you feel angry, perhaps it’s because something or someone is crossing certain boundaries that you’ve set. In this case, you should communicate to them that their conduct is far from correct and that they must modify it.
  • Guilt is often related to a lack of coherence. If you feel guilty, you should stop and reflect on the dissonant element that caused it and act accordingly to reduce it.

Therefore, you should use your emotions or make a list of them. They’ll open the doors to your world of feelings by allowing you to name what you’re feeling.

3. Enhance your empathy

The ability of empathic individuals to tune into the thoughts and feelings of other people is a great strength. In fact, it’s a great life skill in general and in the work environment in particular. That’s because it allows you to figure out how the lives of others resonate under the umbrellas of their minds and bodies.

Try capturing the emotional background of the message being transmitted to you. For example, ask yourself, what are they feeling now? In effect, try putting yourself in their shoes.

4. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is linked to assertiveness. Being assertive is a capacity that you can develop. It consists of transmitting a message (what you think), an emotion (what you feel), and a consequence (what you want), in such a way that it’s not offensive to the other person.

For example, when faced with a work task that’s been assigned to you that’s really the responsibility of another person, you can say: “As you’ve asked me, I’ll do it. However, in the future, I’d appreciate it if you ask the right department (message) because it’s not one of my responsibilities and I’m already feeling overwhelmed (emotion) and, I probably won’t perform it well (consequence)”.

Two female coworkers talking about giving and receiving advice
Assertiveness is a fundamental self-care skill for promoting communication at work.

5. Enrich your interpersonal relationships

Social support is one of the great promoters of health and protectors against disease. Knowing that you have support for the kinds of work situations that exceed your coping capacities is extraordinarily liberating.

Having extensive and nourished social networks in the work environment is a great treasure and should be taken care of. Always remember that, for a relationship to be maintained successfully over time, the relationship must be bidirectional. For example, you do something for them today and they reciprocate tomorrow.

6. Innovate and encourage creativity

Innovation is the source of everything. Since you were born, you’ve been adapting to a variable and changing environment and making use of creativity. Being creative means creating something new where nothing existed before. For instance, when you implement a new strategy that promotes your occupational health, you’re doing something innovative.

You might wonder what other new behaviors you can implement as well as the six we’ve mentioned. In fact, they can be as simple as using a screen protector or listening to music in your spare time. They could also be more complex. For example, visiting a health professional when situations overwhelm you and you don’t know how to deal with them.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Espinoza Saldarriaga, G. (2021). Estrategias de autocuidado para disminuir el estrés laboral en docentes del Instituto Superior Pedagógico Hermano Victorino Elorz Goicoechea Sullana, 2020.
  • Hernández, M. R. (2015). Autocuidado y promoción de la salud en el ámbito laboral. Revista salud bosque, 5(2), 79-88.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.