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Employee Wellness: Choosing Compassion at Work

Group of young multiracial business people are working in modern office. Freelancers in coworking place. Creative and stylish youth.

Have you ever messed up a task at work and ruminated over it? Believe it or not, we all make job-related mistakes; it is a normal part of our human experience but being harsh on yourself and not allowing yourself to let go of mistakes is not helpful for your physical and mental health. Responding to yourself with compassion might not come naturally, yet compassion is a skill that can grow.


What is Compassion?

When a coworker is stressed, you might be aware of their emotions and may offer to help them solve the problem. Compassion is having knowledge of the distress someone is going through and wanting to help. Showing compassion provides an opportunity for personal growth and promotes resiliency or the ability to bounce back after making mistakes.


The Benefits of Compassion

Research has shown that the benefits of compassion include improving psychological health, mental health, relationships, and emotional regulation. A compassionate workplace might encourage employees to stick around longer. It may also reduce work-related stress and provide stronger connections with colleagues. Companies with compassionate leaders may have more productive employees and a safer work culture as well. 


5 Tips for Choosing Compassion

Operating with compassion needs to start with individual employees. Practice showing compassion to yourself with these acts of self-care and see how it impacts you and your colleagues. These 5 suggestions can help you overcome mistakes through a compassion-based approach. 


1. Reflect

  • Reflect on how you speak to yourself by silencing your inner critic. When you make a mistake, look at it neutrally. Instead of saying, “I am so stupid and bad for making a mistake,” choose to think, “I’m learning and growing. This is an area of weakness that I can improve next time.” Practicing positive affirmations is powerful.

  • Reflect through journaling. Writing about your experience can help you understand negative emotions or thoughts, find ways to improve your mindset, and encourage problem-solving. Writing can help reinforce positive affirmations, too. 


2. Acknowledge

  • Acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility. Taking ownership of shortcomings is a more compassionate way to deal with errors than beating yourself up. Be honest and gentle with yourself.


3. Move

  • Move mentally, which means forgiving yourself so that you can shift your mindset after making a mistake. It’s ok to let it go. Forgiveness helps you clear your mental space.

  • Physically move your body by stretching, walking, or breathing. Movement is a form of self-compassion. Taking a short walk during a lunch break can boost your mood and help you move on. 


4. Balance

  • Create a plan for work-life balance. Keep work at work and allow yourself to be fully present at home by turning off emails after work, taking time to rest, or engaging in an activity you enjoy. 


5. Seek

  • If you are still experiencing work-related stress, consider seeking coaching or therapy. Professional help can decrease depressive and anxious feelings. Having someone to talk to can help bring about new perspectives and allow you to dig deeper into self-compassion. 


Compassion Can Change a Company

We spend so much time at work. Wouldn’t work be so much more peaceful if we showed ourselves more compassion? Be patient with yourself. It takes time to remove feelings of guilt, shame, and blame that arise when mistakes happen. Compassion in the work environment is contagious. It has the potential to improve your mindset, health, and work experience. Those effects can impact the entire company. 


Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.  


Written by Larissa DePasqua, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern



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