During our working week, many of us feel under pressure to be constantly performing. As a business owner and an employee, I have fallen into the trap of feeling that I need to constantly push myself and work myself even harder to achieve my best results. I have also experienced the negative impact that putting too much pressure on myself can have.
I now understand the importance of taking the time to invest in my own wellbeing whilst I am at work. I believe that simple changes can make us more productive and improve our performance.
I have created 5 Pillars of Resilience and Wellbeing covering Connect with yourself, Outlook on life, Nurture yourself, Engage with others and Reach for your dreams. From these pillars, here are a few of my top tips for looking after yourself at work, whether that is employed work or as a business owner.
1. Invest in some ‘me’ time
A simple step for having better selfawareness is analysing your strengths and weaknesses against what your objectives or business priorities are. This will help you identify any development areas for yourself or highlight where you need external support. You can assess your strengths and weakness at any time (don’t just wait for an annual appraisal!) and all you need is a pen and paper to capture your thoughts.
Sometimes we can have blind spots so investing in tools such as 360-degree feedback or personality profiles can be a great way for you to take a step back and look at yourself objectively.
2. Make plans and practice gratitude daily
At the end of each working day spend some time to reflect on that day’s achievements and one thing that you are grateful for (however big or small).
If you are grateful for something someone else has done for you then tell them - it might just make their day. This will only take a few minutes and the feel-good factor you get from it will make it more than worthwhile. You could even take it a step further and write a thank you card. Never underestimate the impact that these small gestures can make to people.
Before heading home, spend a few moments to think of your tasks for the next day. Plan to do an important task first thing, before anything else and ideally even before checking your emails! Don’t procrastinate and put it off until later in the day. If you complete that important task first, you will feel more motivated and be more productive for the rest of the day.
3. Weave mindful activities into your day
Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, encourage innovative thinking and help you feel more in control – all things I am sure most of us would like in our lives.
Two-minute mindful breathing exercises are a great way for you to refresh your mind and can be weaved into even the busiest of schedules.
Activities that you would normally do anyway can also simply be done more mindfully. How about a mindful cup of tea? Or applying some hand cream mindfully? All you need to do is tune into your senses – what can you smell, feel, taste and/or hear as you are doing these things? Take notice of what is happening in that very moment.
4. Really listen
When we are in a conversation, we are not always actively listening. We may make assumptions of what words mean, interrupt someone when they are trying to explain something, or be thinking about the hundreds of tasks we have on our own ‘to-do’ list.
Active listening requires you to really focus on what is being said and how it is being said. Taking the time to process this and check in with the person, asking relevant questions if you need to, so that you really understand what they mean.
The benefits are two-fold as the person you are listening to will feel valued and you will get the best out of the conversation as you have fully understood their perspective. This will ultimately strengthen your relationship with that person.
5. Create a vivid vision
Visualise where you want to be at work in a year (or 5, 10 or 15 years). What will you be doing? What are your success factors? What outcomes would you have achieved?
Make it vivid and immerse yourself in the detail of what your life looks and feels like. You may even wish to draw it or find quotes that will inspire you to achieve it.
This vision is what will keep you moving forward when you hit the bumps you will inevitably come across at work and filter down into planning your monthly, weekly and daily activities. Make sure your vision is somewhere you can see it every day.
These tips are relevant to employees and business owners. For those of you running your own business, why not be a resilience and wellbeing role model and lead the way in creating a positive working environment which encourages everyone to be the very best versions of themselves.