Wellbeing while at work

Looking after our wellbeing is not something we only do outside work hours. There are lots of simple practices we can incorporate into our work routines to pay attention to our wellbeing throughout the day.

The idea of work-life balance seems to make us feel that ‘life’ and ‘work’ are somehow separate. But work is a part of our life, and often it's really enjoyable when we have a passion for what we do and when we consider our colleagues as friends.

This is exciting, because it means we can also care for ourselves as part of our mahi, rather than outside of our mahi – though both are beneficial! And it’s refreshing to consider our wellbeing in terms of being a joint responsibility between us and our employer, and it should be. If we have positive wellbeing it's likely we’re more productive, healthier and less stressed.

Simple ways to support our wellbeing at work

Whānau supporters have lots of care responsibilities as well as time in the car, office or with whānau. It might not feel easy to find time for wellbeing, but if you enjoy your work most of the time, then that can be a support to you. Here are some other simple ways to support our wellbeing while at work.

Being outside

Sometimes we don’t always think to meet whānau at their local playground or park, or sit in their backyard, rather than the couch, but these are great options to support everyone’s wellbeing. Or maybe just try taking your breaks outside whenever you can. 

Here’s why being outside even for these quick moments makes a positive difference:

  • being in nature helps us to relax and reduce our stress. The theory is that it’s because we are returning to our natural habitat
  • it supports us to concentrate and pay more attention, because interestingly it makes us feel less tired
  • we feel happier and more positive, perhaps because we see outside time as an ‘experience’ to be enjoyed or remembered.

Beyond the wellbeing benefits, being outside is a great way to model to whānau how they can also manage their stress, enjoy nature, utilise community facilities and play with their tamariki.

Nurtured by nature | American Psychological Association(external link)

Being with supportive colleagues

We know that feeling connected to others is really important for our oranga, so when we have some great colleagues who we enjoy being around, we should make the most of this by:

  • seeking them out during breaks, rather than staying in our office
  • calling them from the car while on breaks or driving between visits
  • finding ways to connect through shared kai events, meetings or training
  • offering to work across projects with colleagues which will support your connection and your mahi at the same time!

Being mindful

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and paying attention to what’s around us, without judgement. That means we don’t have to invest in a yoga mat to benefit! The growing research around mindfulness shows that it helps to reduce stress and the time we spend chewing over problems in our minds. It also supports us to focus and manage our emotions. All incredible outcomes!

How might we practise mindfulness at work? 

  • Eating kai is a great time to take a mindful break. It may be moving outside to eat and noticing what’s around us, looking up to the sky and observing the clouds or taking our time to enjoy our kai and tasting every bite!
  • Starting our day with karakia or allows us time to tune into the moment and purposefully reflect on the words, what we’re noticing, and set our intentions for the day. Starting hui in the same way also supports this, and we may choose to end our working day with whakataukī as well. In this way we snatch a mindful moment and add a clear full-stop to our mahi.
  • With whānau we might choose to spend some of our time playing with their tamariki. Having a few toys or resources in our kete will support this, or take them outside. Play is an awesome way to support us being present, and it's fun!
  • We can also practise mindfulness with whānau to demonstrate how to do it and why it's beneficial. Or bring some mini-meditations into hui to support the team.
Hikitia te Hā Yoga (transcript)