Self Compassion in the Workplace

Practice Self compassion

Self-compassion, an interesting consideration as we dive into a new year. A new year often brings with it energy for change and goal setting, 

After two years of dealing with the pandemic, trying to make intentions and New Year’s resolutions could feel daunting or overwhelming. Why bother, the rules keep changing and life has been so challenging?

Professor Lesley Lutes from UBCO stated, about 95 per cent of people abandon their resolutions by the end of January. 

When we practice self-compassion, it can help us in a year of ongoing disruptions in our routines or with the burnout that might be experienced. The practice of self-compassion includes speaking to yourself in a calm, comforting manner and recognizing feelings of anxiety, loneliness, sadness and many others, are entirely acceptable considering the circumstances.

How do we show ourselves grace and compassion in the workplace as well as in day-to-day life?Practice Self compassion

In this blog, we’ll be sharing some tips on how you can bring self-compassion into the workplace to become more resilient and successful at your job! We’re also sharing some tips for being a compassionate leader. 

What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion is all about taking action against difficult or uncomfortable feelings to ease pain and suffering, instead of judging ourselves or ignoring the issue. 

Negative self-talk can make situations worse. It doesn’t help us at all. Research suggests  self-criticism predicts depression, loss of self-esteem, and procrastination. Whether your goals are professional or personal, self-criticism undermines them. 

Practicing self-compassion is a combination of mindful awareness, self-kindness, and a recognition of our common humanity. Researcher Dr. Kristin Neff, a professor at the University of Texas, defined it as treating yourself much the way you would treat one of your good friends.

This practice empowers you to be flexible and gives you the ability to identify problems, accept negative feedback from others around you, and change habits that are no longer serving you. 

People with high levels of self-compassion will demonstrate three behaviors. Firstly, they are kind rather than judgmental about their own mistakes or shortcomings. Second, they are able to recognize that failures are a shared human experience. Lastly, they take a balanced approach to negative emotions when they fall short. These people allow themselves to feel bad, but they never let negative emotions take over or spiral downwards.

Below are some ways you can begin to practice self-compassion in the workplace. 

Be your own friend

If you find yourself in a self-deprecating spiral, a powerful exercise to try is visualizing a friend in the exact situation. What would you say to them? How would you respond to them? Take those answers and direct them towards yourself. View the exercise as self-coaching. This requires sticking by your own side when things get tough, don’t abandon yourself. You wouldn’t treat a friend like that would you? So why would you do it to yourself? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Unfortunately it is still seen that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Some might think we need to stay professional and handle everything ourselves. That facade can quickly wear thin and the realization we need the help of our team members takes over. 

Give your team leaders or other coworkers the chance to offer their support. Try to ask for help from a team member you trust or take them up on their offers to help. It might feel awkward or vulnerable to open ourselves up to receiving care from others at first. 

Your co-workers won’t always be around to assist you but asking for help when you need it is a good step to becoming compassionate toward yourself.  You’ll feel better and could even deepen your connections to your team. 

Find a physical soothing technique that works for you

Anchoring yourself in a way that comforts your mind and assists with regulating your physical response to stressful situations. Saying positive affirmations to yourself could also be a technique that helps. Your soothing prompt can be anything from wrapping yourself in a cozy sweater to drinking a warm cup of tea. 

Communicate with your team

Express yourself clearly and communicate openly when speaking to a team member, a supervisor, or a client. Be sure to lend your ear to anyone who trusts you and would like to confide in you. Listen carefully and patiently. 

What are traits of a compassionate leader?

Leaders can foster an environment of self-compassion as well and display compassionate traits to their team. Compassionate leaders contribute to removing barriers and making the workplace environment less oppressive. It also improves employee engagement, job satisfaction, and employee retention.  

They are approachable

Employees feel comfortable talking to their leader. They are also easy to access when their team faces any difficulty at the workplace.

Compassionate leaders focus on solutions

They will tend to explore the causes of personal under achievements or failures of a team as a whole. Instead of criticizing individuals for their mistakes, they look at the big picture and on employing resources to solve the issue.

They are always there to support their team

A compassionate leader is always there to provide guidance and support to their team. They are ready to dive in and help the team and share their part for each success or failure no matter what the situation might be.

Emotions and mental wellbeing influence  productivity in the workplace. Those who are in a vulnerable mental state or struggling with their mental health can work with the same efficiency. When more compassionate leaders grow in the organization, an environment that directly fosters advancement and helps distressed employees to get back their efficacy is created. 

Self compassion is a trait ingrained in people’s minds. But there are different ways to show kindness to others. Displaying compassion requires dedication and action. There are small but powerful actions to take in a daily routine. 

Self-compassion can help us better reach goals and learn from others. If you find yourself being harsh or hard on yourself, remember the self-soothing techniques and show yourself a little bit of self-compassion. You’ll be happy you did and your coworkers will be happy you did as well. 

Do you show yourself self-compassion? 

What does compassion in the workplace mean to you? Leave us a comment below. 

At NexLevel, we’re experts in building healthy organizations through cohesive teams and engaged employees. We will help you and your employees become the high-performance team you’ve always wanted to be by focusing on collaboration, creativity, culture, and connection. 

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