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How Compassion Can Help Beat Those January Blues

This informal CPD article How Compassion Can Help Beat Those January Blues was provided by Lianne Weaver of Beam Development and Training, a provider of CPD accredited courses designed to help employers and employees take responsibility for their wellbeing.

January is often considered to be a difficult month. The festivities of Christmas are behind us, the days are short and dark, and it might seem like an eternity until there’s another break in the diary.

This year January may be even more difficult than usual for many of us. We may be returning from a Christmas break which wasn’t everything we’d hoped for. We may not feel rested, as we usually might after some time away from work. Instead, it’s likely many of us are exhausted after more than nine months of Covid-related restrictions and the impact they are having on our lives.

What’s more, we know that whilst vaccination programmes have brought a much longed-for glimmer of hope, we go into this New Year with several more challenging months ahead.

With all of this to contend with, January 2021 is the perfect moment to consider how we can promote compassion in the workplace.

The importance of compassion

When we are busy at work – when we have deadlines, performance goals, a packed schedule – it can be easy to overlook how we or our teams are truly feeling. Yet if the past year has taught us anything it’s the realisation that we all have our own personal challenges to deal with at any given time.

If a colleague is struggling for any reason we need to ensure that our leaders and teams are equipped with the knowledge and skills to recognise this and to avoid being critical, impatient or judgemental.

The ability to be compassionate to others starts with being compassionate to ourselves. Self compassion is one of the most important traits we can cultivate to help us overcome imposter syndrome, boost our confidence and to feel more resilient. So often we are critical, judgemental and cruel to ourselves – and we have far higher expectations of ourselves than we would anyone else.

Cultivating self compassion is a day by day process. One of the first steps is to realise it’s ok to make mistakes, to struggle sometimes, and to need help and support. We can also focus on proactively looking after ourselves, and showing ourselves the kindness we might show to others.

Steps to self-compassion

Here are some steps we can all take to improve our self-compassion:

  • Eat the foods that make your body feel good.
  • Exercise so that your body feels strong.
  • Prioritise sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Practice talking about your feelings in an appropriate way for you, whether with a friend, family member, professional, or by journalling.
  • Set boundaries so that you are looking after yourself first.
  • Allow yourself to feel negative feelings. For instance, if something has made you angry, sit there and really process why you’re feeling angry.
  • Question whether what you’re doing nourishes or depletes you. Make sure you build into your routine activities which nourish you, and try to limit those that deplete you.
  • Try meditation. This doesn’t need to be time-consuming; you can start with a minute.
  • Connect with nature regularly.
  • Listen to your inner voice or gut instinct.

Commit to doing just one thing this week to improve your self-compassion – and empower your teams to look after their own wellbeing by asking them to do the same.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Beam Development and Training, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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