Workplace Wellness

I’ve been working since I was 14 years old. I worked for ten years on the retail sales floor before I decided to pursue a degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology to help advance my career in the corporate fashion industry. A month before I graduated Summa cum laude, I bagged my first gig at the corporate level. I manually entered underwear orders for mom-and-pop shops and knew that I could be doing so much more. I continued my employment search and went on to work for 12 years in the corporate fashion industry, doing everything from design and merchandising to financial analyst roles for Fortune 500 companies like JC Penney and Nike. Through it all, I was living with Lupus and prioritizing profits over my personal self-care. My last corporate role was at Nike’s sales office in Chicago; when global layoffs rolled through in 2017, I took the opportunity to start my wellness business. I haven’t looked back since. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, workplace wellness is key to maximizing your personal care and productivity. Keep reading below for my top 3 tips for maintaining well-being while working.

Water and Walk Breaks: I remember when I first transitioned from the fast-paced on my feet design and merchandising roles to my first financial analyst gig. Not only was it mentally taxing to sit at a computer all day, but I also experienced physical pain from being stagnant. My arthritic joints weren’t having it. I started taking water and walk breaks every hour. Water and walk breaks allowed my mind to rest and recharge; they reduced eye strain from staring at spreadsheets all day and gave my legs a stretch even if I was just walking to the water cooler. On one of those walks, I stumbled on the company gym schedule and immediately signed up for lunchtime yoga which leveled up my workplace wellness routine and altered the trajectory of my life.

Utilize Quiet Rooms: Not every company has them, and if you work for yourself, you should think about creating your own. Nike’s territory sales offices and the corporate campus had several quiet rooms for multipurpose use. Each came equipped with a soft chair, dimmable lights, and a refrigerator for breastfeeding moms. You didn’t have to be a nursing parent to take advantage of this safe space. Quiet as it’s kept, one of my coworkers regularly took naps in the quiet room, and he always popped out feeling refreshed for the second half of our twelve-hour days. These rooms could also be used for prayer and mediation or when you need a moment away to gather your thoughts. 

Take Your Vacation Days: For my entire corporate career, I subscribed to a slave mentality; I measured my success through my productivity. I felt guilty when I took my hard-earned vacation days. I stressed myself into thinking there would be more work when I returned, so it wasn’t worth it to take time away. I was wrong. Not only did I need to be taking my vacation days to rest and reset, but I should have slid in a few mental health days too. In the last two years of my corporate career, I discovered that my chronic illnesses qualified me for the Family Medical Leave Act and a few workplace accommodations. I was able to work from home one day out of the week and take intermittent leave as needed. I know we’ve heard it before, but there is no one that wishes they would have spent more time at work on their final days on this earth. Take time away because you deserve it and your health might be dependent upon a holiday. 

Post contributed by Walker’s Writer Jewell Singletary. Jewell Singletary is the founding owner of Gratitude Griot, a trauma-informed well-being-based business, a documentarian filmmaker, and host of Yoga Wit the Ohmies Podcast, a free community resource in which we center Black and Brown professionals that work in mental health and holistic wellness fields. Jewell also acts as an ambassador for Walker’s Legacy and a board member for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers University-Newark

Jeneé Porter

WALKER'S LEGACY IS A GROWING GLOBAL WOMEN IN BUSINESS COLLECTIVE FOUNDED TO ESTABLISH NETWORKS OF EMPOWERMENT AND ACCESS FOR WOMEN OF COLOR IN BUSINESS.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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