“Just when self-esteem deserts you, self-compassion steps in and gives you a sense of being valuable… because you are a human being deserving of love in that moment.” – Kristin Neff

The last few years have been hard on all of us. Between COVID-19, the political climate, and complete changes in routine among many other cultural dynamics, we’ve found ourselves more divided than ever. Not only have these factors made it easy to physically and emotionally distance from and disregard others, it’s made it easy to be hard on ourselves. This week, let’s take a look at some small changes to practice self-compassion in the workplace (and maybe at home, too) to make the days a bit easier on everyone!

What Is Self-Compassion?

Self-Compassion /self-kuhm-pash-uhn/ noun: the ability to be understanding, warm, and easy with yourself during times of struggle or self-doubt

Self-Compassion researcher, Kristin Neff has divided the term into three main abilities, self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Let’s take a look at each component:

Self-Kindness – As you might garner, this is the ability to be kind to ourselves. Instead of self-criticism when we encounter a failure or shortcoming, be positive! How would you treat a good friend that’s experienced a failure, and is that the same way we treat ourselves?

Common Humanity – This involves the recognition that we’re all in this together. We all fail. Instead of isolating ourselves with failure, understand this is exactly what connects us to others.

Mindfulness – Be present in the current moment. Validate your suffering so you can begin practicing self-compassion without exaggerating or denying the feelings of your struggle.

Each one of these components has great advantage (even individually) when put into practice. When you’re able to practice all three, we find ourselves happier, more motivated, more likely to make positive lifestyle choices (like exercising and eating healthy), and we also have a better sense of connectedness with others.

Put It Into Practice

This sounds good, right? So, how do we do it? Here are some tangible exercises during your workday to promote self-compassion:

Pick and listen to your favorite song that makes you feel like the best version of yourself – now dance to it! You might feel silly, but it’s sure to decrease tension

Pump Up! This is like your own personalized Rocky routine before tackling big tasks. Make a playlist for each of your different work tasks, your workouts, or your moods.

Give a gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big – a coffee, morning donuts for the office, a book you think a co-worker might like. Giving gifts has the ability to be more rewarding for yourself than the gift recipient!

Ask yourself, “What would a good friend tell me during a tough time?” Or, “What would I tell a good friend during their own struggle?” It’s probably a bit different than what you might tell yourself when you self-critique.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!