Ever feel like you’re drowning during your workday? Is the stress of work getting you down? Whether you’re a brand new working mama or you’ve been at this working motherhood thing for a while, the advice in this guest post from Shannon Collier, an extremely experienced doula and massage therapist, will help you take a step back and make your workdays more calm and joyful. Her simple ways to love yourself at work will fill you up.
Returning to work after maternity leave is an opportunity to reflect on life’s gifts made possible through YOU! An amazing, unique little human is alive in the world because of you. You have a profession and income that adds value to your life. Fantastic!!! As you return to work, consider these 10 Simple Ways to Love Yourself While at Work, as a way to extend self-gratitude for all you are and do. Thank you, working mamas. You are loved, and the world is grateful for your presence.
10 Simple Ways to Love Yourself at Work
- Enjoy the commute. If using public transit, wear comfortable shoes and exit a stop early. Use this time to breathe deeply, listen to music, or mediate. If driving, clean out your car weekly and spritz an aroma-therapeutic scent inside. Tape an affirming phrase or funny cartoon to your dashboard or steering wheel and repeat after me: “Traffic is temporary.”
- Smile from your eyes. Wherever you are, smile from your eyes – it takes less energy than moving your mouth. Think of something cute or funny about your child. Picture yourself at a favorite vacation spot. Hold that feeling in your heart, and let it light up your face.
- Own your lunch break. Meet a friend for lunch, or use the time for solitude – listen to music, sounds of nature or city life, or go window-shopping. Balance your week between eating healthy and having a treat from time to time. Consider if what you feed yourself shows how you feel about yourself.
- Just be. Find a place at or near work to just “be”, and do not “do” anything for five to ten minutes. Set a timer if you must. Daydream, turn off your phone, ignore your email, or close your eyes at your desk. There is only one you in the Universe, and it is a rare treat to rest in your you-ness. Soak it up!
- Breathe. Your breath is in your control, so use it to your advantage. Even in a contentious workplace, you are not under physical attack; so adjust your breathing as such. Ten deep, even, full breaths shift you from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest”. Download a meditation app and use it before or after meetings in place of worrying or ruminating.
- Honor yourself. You are contributing greatly to your family and the world through care of your child/ren and your work. Do something simple every week to honor your contributions – buy yourself flowers, go for a walk, have a picnic, connect with a good friend, or come up with another self-date idea you would enjoy. You know what you want and need. Make it happen!
- Laugh! Take a comedy break and watch a short YouTube video of your favorite comedian while at work. Just use headphones! Learn to laugh at yourself – at times you will have the choice between laughter and tears. Choose laughter when you can. We are all absurd at times. It is ok to admit and embrace it.
- Acknowledge your skills and values. Reflect on how positive workplace skills and values can enrich your home life and vice versa. What skills do you use at one location that can make the other more pleasant? Viewing work and home life as mutually informing makes personal insights more likely and helps integrate life experiences.
- View your life as a richness of resources. Your cup runneth over, so to speak. Sometimes you may feel as though you have more than you can handle. That is ok. You do not have to tackle everything all at once. Be present where you are, and do the best you can in a given moment.
- Sink into your senses. To ground yourself or for a simple escape, tap into your senses via a small box of “sense-treats” at your workstation. Examples may include: a piece of dark chocolate, a smooth rock, a small scented candle or soap, a bag of coins, and a small photo of your family or beautiful nature scene. Give yourself five minutes to play with these items and return to your work more settled and calm.
These 10 practices can be done separately, or in conjunction with one another. Have fun! Slow down. Let go. Celebrate YOU, mama.
Shannon worked for over a decade as a postpartum doula in the D.C. metro-area. She is a licensed massage therapist, hospice volunteer, homeless advocate, student of spiritual care and ever-growing human. Through Holistic Helping Hand, Shannon helps people gain insight into how personal challenge can be a catalyst for realizing their ultimate potential. Connect with her via firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/HolisticHelpingHand, or on Twitter @ShanMCollier.
Need help making the transition back to work after maternity leave a calmer one? Join the next session of the Mindful Return E-course.