How do you characterize self-care? The actions a person takes to promote self-compassion can be different for everyone, but the benefits remain the same. Research by Dr. Kristin Neff shows that nurturing yourself sets the stage for better health, makes you more emotionally stable, fosters resilience, and better equips you to care for others.
In addition, the benefits of practicing self-compassion cross over into work. Organizations that focus on compassion have increased employee retention, reduced stress, and team members with stronger interpersonal relationships who are willing to cooperate and work together.
Think of self-compassion as an act of generosity, not only to yourself but also to those around you. Here are four ways to starting practicing self-care right now:
1. Change your narrative.
What is the story you tell yourself? We can be our own worst enemy and are often harder on ourselves than others.
But a key to success—and compassion—is how you talk to yourself.
Your inner dialogue impacts your motivation, attitude, and confidence. Negative self-talk destroys your energy while positive self-talk boosts it. Begin by focusing on your strengths and capabilities rather than your weaknesses. Here are some more tips to changing your inner narrative.
2. Assume positive intent.
Giving others the benefit of the doubt has amazing power. Many people have an automatic tendency to assume negative intent when they are wronged or when an error is made. When you assume negative intent, you often feel frustrated, defensive, and annoyed… limiting your productivity and effectiveness.
But assuming positive intent is a powerful leadership move.
This shift in mindset improves productivity, increases trust, improves listening skills, and makes you a more effective leader. And you’ll save yourself the angst!
3. Take intentional breaks… without technology.
Taking breaks helps your brain and can prevent decision fatigue, improve emotional and physical health, restore motivation, and increase productivity.
But the most important element to your breaks? Ditch the technology. Staying too focused on your screens during down time can sap your energy, productivity, and even kill your creativity.
Being intentional with your breaks is important in order to recharge, prioritize tasks, and “fill your bucket” by nourishing your body and mind.
4. Create a workspace you love.
Your workspace is an extension of your self-care and self-compassion. It should be an enjoyable space that garners productivity and creativity! After all, the average person spends 90,000 hours working in their lifetime.
Make sure you have the necessary tools to be successful and surround yourself with items that make you happy and bring you joy, even amidst the deadlines!
Oh, and get a plant—research shows employees are 15 percent more productive with a house plant present!
Are you curious how self-compassionate you are? Check out this assessment by Dr. Kristin Neff and see where you can improve. Chances are, we could all increase our self-compassion and give ourselves a little grace.
Michelle Kelly, CEO (Chief Enjoyment Officer)