How to Take Time for Yourself at Work
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How to Take Time for Yourself at Work

We all know breaks are important. Taking them? That’s a whole other story

By Jessie Cook, Local 68 Steward

Ever feel overwhelmed at work? Confused by tasks? Overloaded by your boss? Experiencing pressure from peers to get things done quicker? Or maybe it’s the opposite—slow day, falling asleep, mind not on task, too little to do?

No matter what your current mindset, here are some ways to calm your mind, stay focused, and make it through to the next day!

Take your breaks! They are written into your contract for a reason. Nothing is ever so important that you can’t take your 10- to 15-minute breaks. Maybe you’re in the middle of a task. That’s fine, take it after! But don’t rush through it or not take it at all—everyone needs the reset!

Go get a coffee, check your phone (if allowed), close your eyes if you need, stretch, have a walk, go to the bathroom—anything that isn’t work-related.

Consider microbreaks. What about if it’s not break time and you need a quick minute to reset your mind? There are still things that you can do to press pause on your main job while still being productive.

  • Update your paperwork
  • Perform a material check—do you have the tools/materials you need for the next few hours or days on your job?
  • Do a task check, including what needs to be done, and in what order
  • Check in with your supervisor
  • Play your favourite song
  • Remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet around you

Don’t forget to eat! Healthy snacks and smaller meals keep your energy up, your mood lifted, and you fuelled for the day at hand. No one is in a great mood when they’re hangry! Do your part and don’t be that person!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. (And no, coffee and pop don’t count!) Strive to drink enough water—3.5 litres for men and 2.5 litres for women—each day. Doing so will keep your mind sharp and your body feeling good. And in the heat of summer, especially if you are working outdoors, drink even more water and take your breaks in the air conditioning to cool off.

Slow day? Find ways to keep busy. Make the day pass faster to keep your brain and body focused. Take a minute to clean something, tidy the tool crib, clean the work truck or equipment, or clean up your work area. Give yourself a little “you time,” all the while impressing your peers and bosses!

Jessie Cook has been in the heavy civil construction industry as an equipment operator for seven years. She is passionate about workplace development, safety, and the fair treatment of all, particularly for young women in the trades. She looks forward to her new adventure of motherhood and being able to stay at home with her dog and horse. For more tips from Jessie, follow her on Instagram at @clac_jessie

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