3 Key Traits You MUST Use to Make Self Care at Work Actually Work

Self care at work, or occupational self care, is a means to regularly integrate practices during your work day that demonstrate your focus and attentiveness to your total well being. 

While the content of your job, your work environment, and your interactions with others at work are a part of your world of work, from your vantage point you are the most essential piece of the puzzle.  Only you can take in all the information, requests, responsibilities, and requirements for the job you are expected to perform and at the same time do the best for yourself so that you can productively and effectively get the job done.

When you acknowledge the importance of self care and actively engage in it as a regular practice, you are in the best position to get the most out of your work experience.

Here are 3 personal traits that can make self care at work a regimen that actually works for you:

Work Self Care Trait#1:  Self Awareness

A core component of practicing self care at work is to practice self awareness at work.  Set intentions to have a healthy, productive, successful day at work but when things derail, check in with yourself regarding how you feel and are performing.

Stress is not always an obstacle to a job well done and high-pressure situations are not always the catalyst to chaos.  Many people will profess that they have had their most creative and productive moments when stressed the most.

But it is important to know when your job environment supports you or deflates you.  Or to know when the work that you do suits you or is simply not for you.

When you practice self awareness regularly you not only know when things are going well but you are able to react appropriately and act timely when things are completely off the rails. When you need to recover from a temporary or significant imbalance, you can take proactive action to build yourself back up:

self care at work

  • Take a moment to yourself in a quiet corner, even the bathroom
  • Engage with co-workers that naturally lift your mood
  • Have a quick snack, coffee/tea, or drink of water to boost your energy
  • Change tasks when you feel blocked in one area so that you are still productive yet less stressed

Only when you are aware that you are headed down a bad path can you make the choice to move a different direction.  So use self awareness as a means to keep your self care at work intact.

Work Self Care Trait#2:  Confidence

You may think that you would only invoke confidence when taking on a new job or asking for a promotion, but you may not realize that you have opportunity to use confidence every day.

It is a confident person who feels assured about their job even after making a big mistake.  Or who remembers their self worth despite an angry boss downloading their bad day towards them.

self care at the workplace

Confidence as a form of self care is giving yourself the benefit of the doubt, the morale boost for a job well done, and encouragement to get through tough moments and failures.  It is what lets you walk in the door with your head held high when you have a bad hair day.  And it comforts you when you arrive late to a meeting.

In absence of this fortifying of self, you may allow feelings to take over your disposition and impact your work, your health, and your outlook on the day.  When you lack confidence you can experience:

  • Unhealthy levels of stress when managing new or difficult tasks
  • Anxiety and paranoia over your performance, job stability, and self perception
  • Inability to speak assuredly or relay your thoughts and ideas to others
  • Defeat or a lack of self worth when your work goes unnoticed or unrewarded

While confidence will not always resolve these issues, when you are self confident you rely less on the feedback, input, or actions of others.  Instead, you take your independent opinion of yourself as a priority and act in accordance with your own positive self perception.

Self care is permitting yourself to be self confident and to take on the challenges of your day with trust in you.

Work Self Care Trait#3:  Self Control

Losing your self control is an internal emotional reaction to an outside stimulus that you permit to envelop you and that you share with others.

Emotional response to stimulus is normal and has many positive attributes in daily living.  You could lose yourself to excitement, joy, eagerness, or anticipation. 

But the more difficult side of uncontrolled emotional responses are those that create a spiral of negative behavior.  Shouting, cursing, being excessively aggressive or demeaning toward others can create an imbalanced, tense, and even hostile atmosphere. 

Related Post: How to Survive Working for a Boss You Hate

Practicing self control is another form of self care.  It allows you to transition from acknowledging what you feel in the moment to making a conscious effort not to act on how you feel in a negative way. 

self care at work examples

Active self maintenance in these situations may include:

  • taking a deep breath
  • removing yourself from a situation
  • becoming quiet and reserved for a moment,
  • changing the subject within a discussion or
  • apologizing for a misunderstanding as a means to move on from a stressful interaction

The personal benefit to taking these steps, even when they can be EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT in the moment, is that you do not permit your negative emotions to continue or escalate.  Additionally, you remove the opportunity to trigger others with your actions rendering yourself a victim to being further agitated by another person’s response.

Depending on the circumstance, self control can be a simple redirect or a feat of powerful mental stamina. But in all cases keeping your cool is a testimony to your dedication to your self care at work.  

Self Care Trait Bonus Idea:  Optimism

self care at work ideas

Optimism as defined by Cambridge Dictionary is “the quality of being full of hope and emphasizing the good parts of a situation, or a belief that something good will happen“.

Possessing the ability to carry optimism in all situations at work is the ultimate form of self care that you can provide to yourself.

The obstacles to portraying this trait regularly and consistently often are our ties to reality. The need to frame what we see currently in the box of what is limits our ability to see what could be. And while the current reality may appear as real, obvious, consistent, and true, refusing opportunity for alternative outcomes can cause more harm than good such as:

  • frustration at what appears as an unresolvable situation
  • sense of defeat when facing a lack of career growth or financial mobility
  • low enthusiasm when surrounded by a lack of creativity, innovation, and open-mindedness
  • lethargy when days seem repetitive, long, and filled with never-ending streams of work

All of these situations and more can be met with a different reaction and emotional set point when optimism is a part of your self care regimen.

Optimism gives room for opportunity for improvement, for people to act differently than expected, and for the course of action to move differently within any business. Seeing the bright side of any challenge focuses on the lessons learned, the bonds created through joint struggle, and the birth of new ideas for otherwise insufferable problems.

While having a positive outlook consistently may take real focus, re-enforcement and diligence, it is a worthwhile investment into your self care at work regimen and your total well being.


Self care at work is just as important as self care is in any other facet of life. However, putting the practices in place regularly in what could be a very stimulating environment can be a challenge.

Use the traits of self awareness, confidence and self control that you already possess to support you in your daily focus to maintain your balance and keep yourself lifted. And build the strength and belief that constant optimism can also be a key factor to achieve total well being more often than you do today.

Self care at work is completely possible to exercise on a regular basis if you choose to use the traits that help you make it happen.

Share this post with someone you know it could help today. Or share your unique character trait that keeps you healthy and happy at work in the Comments section below.

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