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Occupational Self-Care - Finding Balance in Your Work-Life

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

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In our blog post, 9 Types of Self-Care we went through 9 of the most common self-care types, and one of them was Occupational Self-Care.

In this post, we will dive in-depth into occupational self-care, and explore what occupational self-care is, what are the benefits, and what kind of activities occupational self-care can include.

A person on a laptop practicing occupational self-care.
Occupational Self-Care is one of the 9 types of self-care.

What is Occupational Self-Care?

Occupational self-care means taking purposeful and mindful steps to maintain your well-being and equilibrium while carrying out work- or school-related duties.

It encompasses a variety of approaches, actions, and habits aimed at enhancing physical, emotional, and mental health while coping with the demands and difficulties of one's job or profession.

This form of self-care acknowledges that work-related pressures can significantly affect an individual's health and overall quality of life, and highlights the significance of taking proactive measures to address these effects.

To sum up, occupational self-care means everything related to being as happy and healthy in work-life as possible.

Flowers, coffee and keyboard on a work desk.
Occupational Self Care means prioritizing your well-being in your professional life.

What are the Benefits of Occupational Self-Care?

Practicing self-care in your occupation has numerous advantages that enhance your overall health and performance on the job. These benefits are beneficial not only for you but also for the entire workplace.

Let's explore some of the many benefits that practicing occupational self-care offers!

  1. Reduced Stress and Burnout: Prioritizing self-care helps you manage and reduce work-related stress, which is the leading factor contributing to burnout.

  2. Increased Productivity and Performance: When you are well-rested, less stressed, and emotionally balanced, you are more likely to perform at your best. Occupational self-care can lead to increased focus, creativity, and productivity in the workplace.

  3. Enhanced Job Satisfaction: Prioritizing self-care allows you to find a better balance between your personal life and your work responsibilities. This balance contributes to greater job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment, as you can pursue your passions outside of work.

  4. Improved Relationships: Occupational self-care frequently involves the implementation of healthy boundaries and the fostering of open communication within the workplace. This can result in enhanced rapport with coworkers and clients, fostering a more optimistic and encouraging work atmosphere.

  5. Prevention of Mental Health Issues: By engaging in self-care practices that reduce stress and promote emotional well-being, you can decrease the risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

  6. Career Growth and Development: Participating in professional growth and ongoing education constitute fundamental elements of occupational self-care. Allocating resources to improve skills and explore learning prospects can pave the way for career progression and heightened job contentment.

  7. Enhanced Resilience: Through self-care practices, you can develop greater emotional resilience, which helps you cope with challenges and setbacks in the workplace more effectively.

  8. Positive Workplace Culture: When employees make self-care a priority, it sends a clear message that their well-being matters in the workplace. This helps foster a culture that encourages a healthy work-life balance, leading to improved morale and a more positive atmosphere for everyone.

  9. Role Modeling for Others: Through the practice of occupational self-care, you have the opportunity to set an example for your colleagues, motivating them to make their well-being a priority and embrace healthier work routines.

Examples of Occupational Self-Care

Let's dive into some concrete examples of occupational self-care and discover some helpful tips on how to practice it in your daily life!

1. Taking Enough Breaks

Taking short breaks and ensuring downtime during the workday is vital for sustaining both physical and mental well-being.

Sitting or staying in one position for a long time can make your muscles feel stiff and cause physical discomfort. And if you focus on one task for too long, your overall performance may decrease.

Taking breaks is essential to give your brain a chance to reset, which leads to improved concentration and renewed energy when you return.

You can set an alarm to remind you to take for example a 5-minute break every hour.

A blackboard with text 'break' on it.
Taking enough breaks is an important part of occupational self-care.

2. Being Mindful of Ergonomics

It's crucial to be aware of ergonomics when it comes to taking care of yourself at work. Ergonomics involves designing equipment, processes, and workspaces that suit you and your needs, and it's essential for ensuring that you can work effectively, comfortably, and most of all, safely.

Ergonomics isn't just about preventing physical ailments, it also improves productivity. A properly organized workspace that is ergonomically designed minimizes unnecessary movements and strain, allowing for more efficient task completion.

An ergonomic work station.
Ergonomics is a crucial part of occupational self-care.

3. Proper Time Management

Time management is both a tool and a philosophy that empowers you to navigate your professional responsibilities with balance, efficiency, and reduced stress.

Properly managing your time can have profound effects on your job satisfaction, performance, and overall well-being.

Time management is not just about squeezing more tasks into the workday. It's about optimizing the work process in a way that respects your well-being, ensuring that there's harmony between professional responsibilities and personal rejuvenation.

4. Skill Development

Developing skills is a way of building self-esteem, resilience, and adaptability in a constantly changing work environment. The capacity to learn and improve new skills should never be underestimated.

Having the ability to learn and improve new skills not only makes you more competitive but also adds a layer of security. A varied set of skills can act as a protection against uncertainties like market downturns or technological disruptions.

The act of learning, regardless of what is being learned, can also be very therapeutic. Consistently striving for knowledge or improving your abilities can instill a sense of achievement and forward momentum.

A person studying and developing skills.
Developing your skills can be very therapeutic.

5. Knowing Your Worth

It is important to understand your own worth and rights within the professional world. This understanding helps align your self-perception with the tangible and intangible value you bring to an organization or profession.

Understanding your worth is intrinsically tied to self-esteem and confidence. Professionals who are aware of their value tend to set healthier boundaries, advocate for themselves during salary negotiations, and are less likely to endure situations where they're persistently undervalued or mistreated.

6. Knowing When to Move On

Recognizing when to move on from a job, role, or professional situation is an essential aspect of safeguarding your well-being.

All jobs have their challenges, but it's important to differentiate between short-term obstacles that can be overcome with determination and long-term systemic issues that could ultimately harm your sense of fulfillment, happiness, and mental well-being.

7. Regularly Reviewing Goals

It is essential to regularly review your goals as a part of occupational self-care. This acts as a guide and a way to measure your progress on your career journey.

In this ever-changing professional world, personal growth plays a significant role in shaping aspirations. Revisiting and recalibrating your goals is essential to ensure you stay aligned with your purpose, values, and overall well-being.

A work desk with a paper with text: Dream big, set goals, take action
Remember to review and update your goals regularly.

Key Takeaways in Occupational Self-Care

So let's wrap it up. Occupational self-care means that work is not just about earning money, but also about how you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically while doing your job.

Practicing occupational self-care is akin to giving yourself a daily high-five.

By balancing your hard work with a healthy dose of self-love, you can excel at your job while maintaining a positive mindset.

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