Why Self Care is the Best Care at the Office

<em>Encouraging employees to take a break during the work day has a positive effect on company culture.</em>
Encouraging employees to take a break during the work day has a positive effect on company culture.

As an office wellness instructor, my priority is teaching people tools to be the best and most productive versions of themselves during the workday. With over five years of teaching corporate clients yoga and meditation, it’s clear what makes an office wellness program effective and sustainable: A culture of self care.

There is no one-stop solution for emotional fatigue at work. Recently, a new client was very excited to bring meditation into their office monthly, as a way to help employees. They have an unusually stressful work environment, reporting crime and terrorism to local authorities via data mining tech. They are constantly exposed to shocking and scary news, and have a very important job to notify authorities, globally, as quickly as possible. There is no time to take a break, and employees must come in before work to take advantage of their meditation benefit.

Although a monthly meditation or yoga class would certainly teach employees skills to ward off the emotional stress of the work day, the structure of their job simply wouldn’t allow for them to properly take a break to utilize the skills on a daily basis. How can a company like this make the most of starting an in-office wellness program, if they truly want to see results?

It’s simple: Encourage a culture of self care. Here’s how:

Encourage break-out groups:

Work with your wellness instructor in creating a consistent, regular practice at the office, through break out groups. It’s easy to assign a leader who can help form a weekly meditation club before or after work, in addition to the services of a professional. With their guidance, employees can take charge and figure out how to consistently practice, without disrupting the workflow.

Reward self practice:

It may seem silly, but doing something like a contest is an easy way to get people practicing on their own, on a regular basis. For example, perhaps the company will reward every person who meditates three times per week or more, on their own time. Perhaps it’s more of a competition, where the participant who logs the most meditation minutes that month wins a prize. The point is, rewarding and recognizing people, while building a self care routine, will have a positive impact on company culture.

Keep culture consistent:

There is nothing worse than spending months building a culture of self care in the office, only to have it destroyed when company priorities shift. Commit to wellness long-term. If there is a financial reason why the company can no longer hire a professional to lead wellness sessions, make sure that break-out groups continue. Change can ignite real stress, but if wellness and self care is a priority at the office, it can help smooth transition.

Lauren Coles is the founder of a corporate wellness company in New York City, and creator of Office Yoga Teacher Training. With a Master’s Degree in Education, she works with specialized populations, including office workers, urban adolescents, and people with disabilities. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, Complex, and Entrepreneur.

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