As we turn our attention towards the Autumn and for many, a return to our physical office environments, we find ourselves once again adjusting to new routines. With many organisations choosing to adopt new hybrid working models - balancing family commitments and self-care can feel a little overwhelming. Implementing boundaries with your time has never been so important. This month we will be looking at how we can use self-awareness to make informed choices. Now is the time to feel empowered, and take ownership of our own wellbeing to find a balance that works for us, so that we have the tools, motivation and energy to perform to the very best of our ability. It will be important now to consider what self-care and 'recovery' activities you have put in place over the last 18 months that you'd like take with you into your new 'norm'. A part of this process will include self-reflection (be conscious in this - don't view your pre-pandemic life through rose tinted glasses). Once you know something is unhealthy or unhelpful - you of course are responsible for your choices - which choice will you make? Be the change you wish to see.
Avoiding Burnout: Why 'No' is the New 'Yes' As social creatures, our psychology dictates that we want to be part of the herd and preserve our existing relationships. We want to fit in and we want to be liked. This is why - despite only being two letters - saying 'no' can feel really hard. For many of us, saying no doesn’t just feel awkward. It feels completely wrong. But according to sources including the Harvard Business Review, it can also cause physical and emotional burnout, which directly affects our cognitive functioning and levels of performance. As we start to pick up the pace and return to our physical workspaces - especially as many of us will continue to work from home more frequently - our social obligations are likely to move up a gear. But accepting every invitation to after-work drinks, overdue lunches, belated gatherings and the pressure to keep the social promises that we've made during the course of the pandemic can place a huge amount of unnecessary pressure onto our ability to enjoy our work and social lives again. However, our Founder Stacy tells us that there's good news for people pleasers: Saying no is an emotionally intelligent skill that you can sharpen. The more you expose yourself to saying no, the more natural it’ll feel. Click here for 7 tips on saying no more effectively. For more information on how and when to say no, check out this article from PsychCentral, which we hope will be of great benefit to you as we make the progression back into our social circles.
Perfectionism: Strength or Weakness? A study from researchers at Oxford University affirms that perfectionism meaningfully and consistently predicts several 'beneficial' workplace outcomes. For example, perfectionists are more motivated on the job, work longer hours, and can be more engaged at work. However, the results also indicate that perfectionism is strongly and consistently related to numerous 'detrimental' work and non-work outcomes, including higher levels of burnout, stress, workaholism, anxiety, and depression. Perfectionists are also more likely to set inflexible and excessively high standards, to evaluate their behaviour overly critically, and hold an 'all-or-nothing' mindset about their performance ('my work is either perfect or a total failure'), and to believe their self-worth is contingent on performing perfectly. These thought processes, feelings and behaviours can be directed internally, but also externally - projecting your standards and expectations onto others. It is therefore helpful to consider how this may feel for those working alongside you - especially if you are a leader as this can be unhelpful. As we start to re-enter our workplaces, schools, universities and social circles, now might be the 'perfect' time to identify and manage perfectionistic tendencies that you might possess yourself, the habits of others, and how these behaviours can affect our performance if they go undetected. If you'd like to access a measurement scale to do this, check out the Hewitt & Flett Perfectionism Scale here.
Put your Sunday Night Anxiety to Bed with Podcasts We've all been there as the end of the weekend approaches. Despite your best attempts to push away thoughts of the week ahead – to 'make the most' of your time off and forget about work for a little while longer – it somehow finds a way in. We’re talking, of course about Sunday night anxiety – and it's surprisingly common: Research into the phenomenon published in 2020 found that 81% of us experience elevated anxiety in anticipation of the return to work. This figure is expected to increase this month, as many of us return from the summer break, and into various new unknown versions of 'normal'. A form of anticipatory anxiety (a type of anxiety characterised by an overwhelming feeling of dread about something that is due to happen) about the week ahead, especially in response to the idea of returning to work, Sunday night anxiety can be really disruptive for those who suffer from it. Find out how we can alleviate Sunday night anxiety by reading these tips from Dominique Antiglio, Author of The Life-Changing Power Of Sophrology. It might also be a good time to take a break from those True Crime podcasts you've been listening to, and take a deep breath into a more relaxing genre. Here we have the 10 most streamed meditative podcasts for sleep and anxiety according to Spotify. For added daily good vibes, you can also check out Spotify's Daily Wellness playlist - a mix of wellness recommended podcasts, songs, and moments created based on your own listening habits that's refreshed for day and night. Enjoy!
Our Book of the Month is 'Reasons to Stay Alive' by Matt Haig The Number One Sunday Times Bestseller - and rightly so. Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, This book provides a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive. Much more than just a memoir - it is a book about making the most of your time on earth. In his own words, the author comments:
'I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest: Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'
The Performance Club wish you all the best with your transitions back to the workplace - whatever these might look like for you and your teams. World Mental Health Day is fast approaching and will take place on October 10, 2021. If you would like to work with us or use our psychological expertise to enhance organisation and individual mental health, performance, and wellbeing in your workplace please get in touch with us here - we'd love to hear from you. Wishing you a happy and positive start to the Autumn!
Kind regards, Stacy Thomson Founder of The Performance Club sent on behalf of all of the team