As we emerge from the challenging pandemic to some sense of normalcy at both work and in our personal lives, it’s an ideal time to check in on how we are speaking to ourselves. Many of us had extra time alone with ourselves during the pandemic and while some people seemed to flourish, many of us struggled with added loneliness, stress, grief, and anxiety. Often our own internal voice during this time was our toughest critic and harshest judge. The transition back to an office or to a job can be rough right now.
There is no better time to show ourselves some compassion and grace.
The Language of Affirmation
Affirmations are based in a belief that the frequent use of positive words (affirmations) can motivate, build self-esteem and replace negative thought patterns.
If affirming self-talk doesn’t come naturally to you, we thought we’d share some quotes from Tess Hayes’ book “May You Shine: Love Letters to the Hurting, Healing, and Growing Heart.” In her intro Hayes describes the intent of her book, “May this book remind you of just how special you are, how wildly capable you are of letting your light shine.”
If you’re feeling like your light has been dimmed during the pandemic, you’re not alone. A CDC study found worsening anxiety and depression, especially for young adults, during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that you could benefit from some positive affirmations.
Hayes shares this wisdom:
“Bathe yourself in self-compassion. Shower yourself in grace…Remind yourself that you are not alone in this journey, that you have never messed up too badly to begin anew.”
After or during a particularly challenging day at work this gentle message from Hayes might be helpful:
“It’s so easy to be hyper-aware of the annoying or difficult parts of your day. It’s even easier to gloss right over the incredible things happening all around you. But there is always a reason to celebrate — if you only look for it.”
Those celebrations can come in all sizes:
* Celebrate getting through the transition from remote work back to your office space
* Celebrate not procrastinating
* Celebrate knowing you lightened a coworker’s load
* Celebrate opting for a healthy snack during that afternoon energy lull
* Celebrate finally getting a good night’s sleep
* Celebrate speaking up in a meeting when you typically wouldn’t have
Want more? Listen to podcast interviews with Tess!
Self-Compassion is for Everyone
Speaking of self-compassion, if you’ve read our blog posts or referred to our 2021 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar, you know we are fans of Dr. Kristen Neff, whose research and guidance on self-compassion, is both inspiring and practical. A good introduction to Dr. Neff is her TED talk and you’ll find many useful resources on her website. Neff has a new book, “Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindess to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive,” out June 15th and we are always eager to learn more from her expertise.
McKinsey & Company’s Author Talks recently featured an interview with Neff in which she discusses how “women can balance tender self-acceptance with fierce action to claim their power—in the workplace and beyond.”
This quote from Neff sums things up perfectly,
“With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” Try being a better friend to yourself!
We are also fans of Barb Schmidt. We first discovered her gentle yet thought provoking posts on her aptly named Instagram account @peaceful_barb. She is the co-founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life (another good Instagram account to follow). Her frequent messages are an excellent reminder to be kind to ourselves – complete with strategies and quick tips that always seem reasonable and do-able. In fact, we’ve clicked play on their tips on ways to say no without actually saying no several times. Her book, “The Practice” is a fast read and is full of helpful insights to help you, as the book cover suggests, manage stress, find inner peace and uncover happiness.
Schmidt wrote this about affirmations in her book,
“With all the negative chatter going on in the mind, sometimes an affirmation is exactly what is needed to get the mind to change course. In order to calm down, the mind might want that added verbal assurance that everything really is fine.” She shared her affirmation for stressful situations: “Barb, you are strong and capable; all is well.”
Next time you catch your internal voice and thoughts being especially critical, demeaning, unforgiving or sarcastic, take a deep breath and without scolding yourself for thinking that way, move on to a more gracious and kinder manner of self-talk. You wouldn’t talk to a colleague, friend or loved one that way so try to get out of the habit of speaking to yourself like that.
Affirm your worth, celebrate your resiliency and remind yourself of all of the amazing things you have to offer this world — in both your work and personal life.
Share Your Kindness with Peers
We are all in this transition together. As we ease back into the workplace, be intentional with your kindness and compassion with staff and peers. Don’t expect everything to be the same overnight. Fact is, it won’t ever be the same. Together, though, we can work to make it better. Download our Calendar Guide to celebrating employees year-round for inspiration on how to re-start.
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