Are you taking care of yourself?

4 minutes to read

When was the last time you took a moment for yourself? When things are busy work-wise, it’s important to set aside some time to slow down and tune the world out. You’ll find it not only makes you happier at home, but more productive at work too.

The Danish even have a work for it, ‘hygge,’ which goes some way to explaining why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.

But how should you spend this time? We asked around the office for a bit of advice and we’re very pleased to present Key’s 12 ways to take care of yourself! Use our ideas to inspire your own list. Why not start by doing one thing every day?


Be it your desk, your car or your email inbox, it’s easy to let clutter build up until it’s a nightmare to find anything at all. Take ten minutes and clear out as many sweetie wrappers/tissues/unread messages as you can. If you’re anything like us you’ll feel a whole lot lighter.

Take a walk

Make a point of going for a little half-hour walk over lunch. You’ll appreciate the chance of scenery, it’s a nice way of building exercise into your day and you get a break from a stuffy office. Studies suggest it can even improve motivation and help you feel more relaxed for the afternoon ahead.

“I like walking because I get some fresh air, see a bit of scenery and get my heart rate up for a while. It recharges my batteries for the rest of the day.”

– Ellen McVean, Senior Support Engineer

Listen to music

Create a playlist of your favourite songs and listen to it every day – on your commute, while doing chores, whenever suits you! It’ll make you more cheerful and full of energy, and since it may even help to boost productivity, you’ll have the washing up done in record time.

“I do a lot of things to chill out, but the best thing of all is dancing with wild abandon and singing badly.”

– Geraldine Garry, Employment Administrator

Hang out with your pet

Who can argue with this one? There’s nothing like hanging out on the sofa with your favourite feline, or throwing a tennis ball in the park a few dozen times for your endlessly energetic pooch.

Hang out with your pet

Have a look at our IT Infrastructure Manager Chris with his lovely pups, then try and tell us that’s not the face of a content man

Take care of a plant

Alternatively, if you don’t have a four-legged friend in your life, why not buy a plant? They’re much more low maintenance than a pet, they brighten the place up, and some of them even work for their supper by cleaning the air in your home.

Colour in

Yep. Colouring-in is back. Adults all over the world are returning to the childhood activity that works wonders for letting your brain switch off while your hands get to colouring.

“I colour in every evening in my geometric shapes colouring book. It’s a great way to practise mindfulness, but I have to actually set a timer because otherwise I’ll zone out and just keep colouring until bedtime.”

– Marie Edwards, Employment Administration Team Leader

Phone a friend

We honestly didn’t intend to invoke sudden Chris Tarrant flashbacks, please forgive us. But it’s always enjoyable to pick up the phone and shoot the breeze for a half an hour with your nearest and dearest.

Learn something new

Apps like Duolingo, HowStuffWorks and Udacity let you teach yourself a brand new skill in manageable chunks, all from your phone. So, why not? Alternatively, you could always take an evening course on how to make yourself happier, complete with the blessing of the Dalai Lama


Hey, if it works for Russell Brand and the US Marine Corps, it’s worth a try. Practising mindfulness through a few minutes of meditation every day can help make you more aware of your thoughts, feelings and surroundings. Also, predictably, there’s an app for that.

“I use the Headspace app as part of the ’21 days to happiness’ plan by Shawn Achor. It’s a great way to wind down at the end of the day before bed.”

– Sara Jackson, Operations Manager

Make soup

Is there anything better than a massive bowl of homemade soup? No. The answer is no, there’s nothing better. To get you started, here’s a tried-and-tested recipe for broccoli and stilton soup, from Employee Care Advisor Martin McCormack:


Knob of butter
1 x onion
1 x leek
2 x cloves garlic (crushed)
1 x broccoli
1 pint of chicken stock
Half a block of Stilton
250ml of double cream
Black pepper


1. Melt the butter in a large pot
2. Add the onion, leek and garlic. Cook on a medium heat until onion and leek are soft
3. Add the broccoli
4. Pour over chicken stock and boil until broccoli is soft
5. Use a food processor to blend ingredients together
6. Add the Stilton and cook over a medium heat until Stilton is melted into the liquid
7. Pour in the double cream and simmer for 10 minutes
8. Season with pepper
9. Bada-bing, bada-boom

Plan a trip

Whether it’s next year’s summer hols, a weekend in the countryside or a visit to a museum – it’s always nice having something in the diary to look forward to. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to find out how far away the beach is…

Read a book

Grab your favourite paperback, pour a big mug of tea, wrap yourself up in a cosy blanket and have a biscuit. Need we say more? Okay, have two biscuits.

“Reading the Outlander series was pure escapism for me – being the mother of two noisy boys, it was and still is my way of relaxing.”

– Lynne Syme, Service Support Coordinator

And here’s a printable, shareable reminder of these ideas:

12 ways to take care of yourself

 (download a pdf)