by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP
Can we all agree that the last two years have really thrown us for a loop? Personally, professionally, socially – all a complete train wreck (there are so many other terms I am thinking of right now . . . )
As we make our way into 2022, I am talking to so many companies who are still trying to figure out what the workplace and the workforce is going to look like in the near future. I am also talking to a lot of employees who are looking at things differently as well. They are re-evaluating how they work, how much they work, and where they work.
No doubt, there is much adjusting still to come as we navigate our way through this new work-world territory. In the meantime, what does this mean for you? What do you need to be working on as you make decisions about your work life? As I have always told you, I want you to be as happy and healthy as possible so you can make good, solid, well thought out decisions.
Consider these habits practiced by the happiest workers in organizations:
Practice self-kindness. Most of us are much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. I have conversations often about self-care and self-kindness. It is difficult for many people to take care of themselves without a good reason, usually involving taking care of others. How many times have I said to an exhausted care-giver, “You’re not going to be of use to anyone else if you don’t get some rest and eat properly”? My hope is that someday this person will take care of themselves just because they deserve it, not in order to take care of others. Being kind to yourself also includes self-talk. How do you speak to yourself? Are you supportive when you mess up? Do you build yourself up when you are having a rough day, or do you fuss at yourself? Begin asking yourself, “What would I say to my best friend in this situation?” and try talking to yourself the same way.
Practice gratefulness. I know I’ve told you this so many times. I keep repeating myself because it is so important! Learning to be on the lookout for the good things in your life will help you be more content. According to research, positive people are 31% more productive, make 37% more sales, and are 40% more likely to get promoted. You NEED to become more grateful and positive if you are going to be happier at work. One of the best ways to shift your mindset is to daily write down (journal) three things for which you are grateful. Big things and little things add up to us generally becoming more grateful. Research shows if you do this for 21 straight days, you will literally retrain your brain to be more positive!
Practice forgiveness. This is a topic rarely discussed in corporate America. But it is a topic I regularly discuss with clients. A co-worker wronged you in some way (stabbed you in the back, or threw you under the bus), and now you are bitter and resentful. Which leads you to not want to work with or deal with this person, and as a result you are viewed as a bad team member. Maybe you have every reason in the world to be upset with someone you work with. Don’t let your feelings and actions negatively impact your reputation. What did you learn from what that co-worker did? Did you learn not to count on them or trust them as much? Fine. Act accordingly. “Forgive” does not mean “forget.” Forgiveness means letting go of your anger/bitterness/resentment so it doesn’t weigh you down.
Practice patience. I know it’s counterintuitive, but the crazier things get at work the more you need to slow down. If you get sucked into a spiral of constant emergencies that you think require urgent decisions, you will see a trend of things getting worse, not better. Taking a break to regroup is extremely helpful in chaotic situations. Research has found that people who practice patience actually make more progress towards their goals and are more content when they reach those goals. Learning to be more patient is also associated with being less depressed and better able to cope with stress.
As we cautiously continue moving into 2022, I hope you will evaluate which of these areas could use some attention from you. I promise, you’ll be a happier employee for it!