Let's face it — work can be stressful, especially when you're doing a job you don't necessarily love. However, you can take steps to ensure your ability to thrive in the workplace.

According to workplace wellness coach and happiness scholar, Dr. Kortni Alston, thriving in the workplace starts with cultivating wellness in your personal life.

"When I'm talking to most people about workplace well-being, a lot of it has to do with the everyday stressors that we have, like trying to work through the pandemic and other things happening in the world. I also found myself facilitating training sessions relating to racial stress during this time."

The pandemic also shifted people's work lives, with many professionals changing careers, starting business ventures or quitting their jobs altogether. No matter what stage you're at in your career, getting your personal life in order is the first step to thriving.

If outside stress is affecting your fulfillment at work, Alston recommends these three tips:

1. Have a self-care squad

Your relationships play a big role in your success and having people who hold you accountable for self-care can help you be happier at work.

According to Active Minds, a mental health nonprofit, self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and includes taking care of your mind, body and soul by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. 

"My self-care squad is incredible," says Alston. "It really helps in terms of dealing with burnout and dealing with different life stressors."

Your self-care squad can include family, friends, mentors, and even coworkers you have good relationships with. When identifying people to be in your self-care squad, make sure they're non-judgmental and dedicated to supporting you on your personal journey.

2. Remember the 4 P's

Having a routine, either in the morning or at night, to set yourself up for the workday can help combat stress and make you feel more prepared.

According to Alston, your routine should consist of these four Ps:

Pause: Take the time to think about what you hope to achieve at work, and how you'll balance that with your personal life.

Plan: Write out what actions you're going to take to make your achievements a reality. 

Process: Recognize what's working and what's not working, and make adjustments to your plan as needed. 

Pace: Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be human. Recognize progress doesn't happen overnight, and give yourself grace. 

3. Practice mindfulness

According to Alston, "being mindful in our lives is just as important as being mindful at work." The Greater Good Science Center describes mindfulness as "maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens."

Meditation is an effective way to get in tune with yourself and your needs and can even make you more productive in the office. Simply pausing and practicing breathing exercises for a short time out of the day can help boost your performance. 

Though it may seem a little uncomfortable at first, Alston reassures that practicing mindfulness and meditation is something everyone can do.

"Just pause and give yourself that time for recovery, give yourself that time to slow down and give yourself that time just to be present."

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