6 Ways to Practice Self-Care During the Workday

Like many of my generation—because contrary to popular belief, millennials actually work extremely hard—I nearly succumbed to imposter syndrome during the earliest years of my career. Every day seemed to plunge me into a deeper spiral of anxiety that I could be doing better, despite the fact that I was already going above and beyond my job description. And as I continued to put in more energy, more hours, and more of myself, I naturally began to lose my grip on everything outside of the office walls.

My social life went first: I was so burdened to my email that when I was out with my friends, I wasn't actually there. Then my closer-knit relationships began to suffer, and finally, my health. It wasn't until I realized that I wasn't just unhappy but teetering dangerously on the edge of a nervous breakdown that I knew it was time to reassess.

When I moved from New York City to Los Angeles for a new gig and a new life, it was with a silent vow that I would finally put myself first. The transition wasn't easy—it took some time to internalize the fact that prioritizing my mental and physical health made me a better employee, not a slacker. But by adopting new rituals that forced me to step away from my computer and find some balance, my work performance continued to soar even as I fostered a new group of friends and felt truly rested and content.

It's a lesson that has only been magnified by the incredibly turbulent (and often depressing) state of the world: that in order to be the most productive members of society, we need to ensure that we are at our sharpest and healthiest. That, by the way, is what self-care truly is—not the status symbol into which the mass-marketed wellness industry has manipulated the term. It's a gut-check to ensure that we can effectively negotiate our world (and address anything that might be standing in the way of that).

With this all in mind, I asked my colleague and peers which self-care rituals and practices they adopt during the workweek to keep them at their sharpest and healthiest. Keep reading for our best suggestions.