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How self-care can increase productivity and prevent burnout

Professionals in fast-paced and demanding work environments tend to experience burnout due to increased and prolonged exposure to stress. One of the simplest solutions in addressing and combating stress and other related issues is by encouraging self-care—thereby ensuring a stable, if not increased, productivity and improving the work environment.

Wellness Daily explains why self-care should be encouraged in the workplace and how it can positively affect employee and company productivity.

Are 'self-care' and 'self-love' the same?

Self-care literally refers to the act of taking care of oneself while self-love refers to the act of loving oneself. Self-care requires a person to actually take the time to care for all aspects of their own wellbeing, including paying attention to their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.

Self-love and self-care can be taken separately because there are individuals who can fully love themselves even without making an effort to care for themselves and address their needs—and the reverse is also true.

Some self-care basics include eating healthy, practising mindfulness, meditating and acknowledging one's feelings without judgement.

How can 'self-care' increase productivity?

Prolonged exposure to stress negatively affects the way a person responds to the situations in both their workplace and in their personal life. Chronic stress can affect a person's health and reduce their energy, motivation, efficiency and productivity while increasing their errors, frustration, irritability and absenteeism. 

People who are better at taking care of themselves receive physical, mental, spiritual and emotional benefits that result from self-care and these include a healthier lifestyle, increased focus and resilience.

As people become better at addressing their needs in all aspects of their lives, they also experience a boost in their wellbeing. This helps increase their resiliency to fight off the impact of stress on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Benefits of self-care

Consider the benefits of self-care practices listed below:

Healthy diet and regular exercise
Eating right and exercising regularly help keep our bodies in top condition and fight off preventable diseases that may have lethal consequences, such as diabetes and various metabolic disorders.

Enough sleep
Having enough sleep helps our minds feel refreshed and focused and gives us a better capacity to handle daily mental stress.

Meditation can boost mental and emotional resilience because it requires a person to stop their thoughts from wandering and recentre themselves without judgement when faced with stress.

For instance, in times when nothing seems to go right, frustration is high and deadlines are tight, meditating for a few minutes before taking on new challenges and individual tasks can be helpful. Meditation can also help an employee organise their schedule and thoughts and find ways to tackle and accomplish each task one at a time to produce better outcomes instead of addressing tasks in bulk with poor results.

Why is self-care important?

Self-care basically requires an individual to focus on their wellbeing by taking care of themselves physically, emotionally and psychologically without self-judgement—much like mindfulness. 

In some cases, self-care can include stepping back from a work situation that is causing stress or is not working out well for the individual. Sometimes, it's as simple as learning to say "no" to protect oneself from toxic people and situations.

Self-care at work is particularly important because it's where most professionals spend a large portion of their day continually exposed to varying levels of stress.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain