10 Simple Habits to Weave Into Your Workday if Work is Stressing You Out

You’re nailing work-life balance now.

By: Emma Lunsford

If your to-do list haunts you from the moment you wake up to the second your head hits the pillow, listen up! It’s time to reevaluate your work-life balance and incorporate some healthy lifestyle tips. No more sacrificing your well-being all in the name of productivity. We’re redefining what a healthy workday looks like and giving you simple wellness habits for your workday. These tips will not only make your day more productive, but they will also help you feel better in the process. Win-win.

RELATED: 15 Life-Changing Productivity Boosters

10 Wellness Habits to Bring Ease to Your Workday

We often wait to pull out our jar of stress-busting tricks until we’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. And while it’s great to utilize these tools, we tend to forget that stress-busting hacks can benefit us daily — not just during crunch time. In fact, having healthy daily habits in place can reduce the occurrence of these stressors overall. And, the more you use these tips, even on the more relaxed days, the more resilient you’ll become! Integrate these tips into your daily routine and watch the magic happen!

#1 Start Your Day With A Morning Routine 

For many, the very first thing we reach for upon waking is our phone. We then scroll through social media and check our flooded email inbox, sending our bodies into a state of stress in the process. That my friends is how you’re setting the tone for your day. What happens next? You likely ruminate over your to-do list and rush out the door to work without that nourishing breakfast or calming meditation you had planned. The result? A more stressed, scattered, and maybe even fatigued you. 

You can see how this cycle could become problematic — your nervous system hasn’t even had a chance to recalibrate from the spike of cortisol that woke you up in the first place. This means you’re probably starting work in a really stressed state when your cortisol levels are the highest.

The good news? It’s a simple fix! Use a morning routine to buffer between when you wake up and start working. Before you give your energy to anyone else, make your morning about you. Fill up your own cup with things like a healthy breakfast, journaling, listening to calming music, or going for a walk. A morning routine is seriously a small (but mighty way!) to turn your whole day around.

#2 Have Something to Look Forward to After Work

Oftentimes we can feel like we’re in the same, neverending rut: wake up, work, go to sleep. Repeat. It’s great to be a go-getter, but it’s really important to have a healthy work-life balance with activities outside of work that bring you joy. Try to set healthy boundaries and plan something to look forward to after work. This could be a workout class, dinner with a friend, or exploring a new part of town. It’s fun to have something to look forward to, and it can boost both your mood and productivity. Win!

#3 Have a Dedicated Lunch Hour (or however long you have) 

How often have you scarfed your lunch down in between meetings without even enjoying a bite? It may seem like an efficient idea to eat lunch while driving or responding to emails, but it can actually lower your productivity overall. Distracted eating usually leads to either undereating or overeating since you’re not paying attention to your hunger cues. 

Even just taking ten minutes aside to mindfully enjoy your lunch gives you a much-needed work break and promotes a healthy digestive system, one that gives you lots of energy to get stuff done.

#4 Take a 5 Minute Meditation Break Each Day

Despite what your boss, your co-worker, or our fast-paced society tells us, busy isn’t better. We often think it’s better to push through the day and work as hard as possible. But this isn’t a sustainable approach. We challenge you to work smarter, not harder! One way to do that? Incorporating simple wellness habits for your workday like a 5-minute meditation. You’ll be way more productive if you take regular breaks, and we all have five minutes to spare. Browse the meditation category in the FitOn app for plenty of free, quick meditations that are perfect for a mid-day work break.

#5 Repeat an Affirmation 

Wellness habits for your workday aren’t about going from super stressed to totally zen in 0.3 seconds. We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right and focus on how we “should” be feeling or how we “should” be taking care of ourselves. This only makes us more stressed with unrealistic expectations. Allow yourself to feel stressed. Stress is a normal human emotion that we all experience. So if your day doesn’t go as planned, don’t get lost in a spiral of negative self-talk. Instead, slowly direct your thoughts to something that feels even just a little bit better. 

You can use affirmations like:

I am allowed to feel my feelings, for that’s how I remind myself I’m human.

I am allowed to make mistakes, for that’s how I learn.

I am allowed to have wants & needs, for that’s what makes me who I am.

I am allowed to take breaks, for that’s what makes me productive & happy.

#6 Spruce Up Your Workspace 

One of the best stress-busting hacks that’s also highly productive? Organizing your workspace! When you’re stuck in a stressful work cycle, sprucing up your workspace can energize things in a totally different way. Clearing clutter has been shown to alleviate stress and even boost productivity. So, go ahead and add some plants to your desk, organize those files, and do a little cleansing and clearing.

#7 Check-in With Your Breathe Throughout The Day

Our breath is one of the greatest indicators of stress, and it’s also one of the easiest ways to relieve it! Every hour or so, set reminders to come back to your body and notice how you’re breathing. Is it quick and shallow? (stress alert!) Or full and deep? If you’re stressed, allow yourself to take 5 minutes to focus on your breath: inhale deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then exhale out your mouth for 4 seconds. Repeat until you feel your breathing relax. And if you only have time for a few breaths, that’s great too.

#8 Keep Blood Sugar Balanced With Nourishing Snacks

Blood sugar may seem like a trivial thing, but we’re willing to bet your co-workers (and maybe even your boss) would disagree when you’re in one of those *moods* thanks to feelings of hanger. Plus, balancing your blood sugar is a huge part of staying energized and productive. 

Blood sugar spikes and dips often lead to extra stress — not to mention needing to take a nap during every afternoon meeting or rely on that afternoon cup of coffee. Take care of your body by eating nourishing, blood sugar-balancing snacks that are rich in protein, fiber, and nutrients. 

Some ideas? 

  • A DIY trail mix made with a mix of nuts and seeds
  • Fruit and single-serve nut butter packets 
  • Greek yogurt with berries 
  • Hard-boiled eggs with a side of veggie sticks, guacamole, or hummus

#9 Get Outside For a Break When You Can

Sometimes a bit of fresh air is just what you need. It’s easy to feel cooped up next to your laptop all day, and every once in a while, it’s nice to remind yourself that the world is actually a lot bigger than your office. The sky is gorgeous. The sun feels amazing. And the ground is here to support you. So if you have 10 minutes, take it outside, take a deep breath, and bring some calm into your day! 

Even on the busiest of days, there are ways to sneak in wellness habits for your workday that involve you + nature. Schedule a walking meeting or walk to get your lunch. 

#10 Establish Work Boundaries & Stick to Them

This is especially important if you work from home, where you’re constantly remembering work to-dos. You want your home to be cozy and safe — not a source of constant stress. Thankfully, you can use boundaries to maintain some balance. You can decide not to check your email after a certain time or turn off your notifications. You can also create no-work zones to keep some spaces free of work stress. Protect your peace (and mental health) — keep your bed, couch, and kitchen work free!

The Stress-Busting Habits to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Wellness habits for your workday are about putting yourself first. And the beauty of putting yourself first? You have more to give. The more you fill up your cup with positive work habits, the more productive you can be. Remember, it’s better to take a quick break than to push through!