It’s time for a Monthly Memo guest columnist, and why not bring in a professional? My daughter Katie Rose helps people after receiving her Masters in Counseling and Family Therapy at Regis University in Denver. Here are her thoughts on finding your way in today’s workplace.
As a clinical therapist, I often preach “Boundaries! Self-care! Take time for yourself!” However, I recently found myself adopting a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality in the workplace. It can be difficult to set boundaries with bosses and coworkers for fear of looking lazy or underqualified. However, your mental state directly affects your work. If you are burned out and exhausted- people will notice! Here are some tips for advocating for yourself at the office.
Setting a boundary isn’t the hard part- it’s upholding the boundary.
It’s easy to say, “I’m not doing any work after 5pm.” But how often do we find ourselves checking our phones and answering calls well into the evening? The more you do this, the more it will become the expectation of you. Be very specific about when you are available- and stick to it. If you are fearful of retaliation- check your job description. Is your expectation to be on-call 24/7? Does your pay reflect that? If not, it’s time for a different conversation.
Delegation is your friend.
If you are feeling overwhelmed- ask yourself, “am I letting my pride get in the way of asking for help?” Chances are your coworkers are happy to take a few tasks off your plate for the time being. Showing vulnerability and asking for help will help create a more supportive culture in the workplace- and you can return the favor when you’re ready! It’s called a team for a reason.
Additionally, delegation can extend to your personal life. If work is stretching you thin, it’s okay to order some Uber Eats or get a nanny for the night. Sleep and rest are not the same thing- just because you’re getting your 8 hours of sleep doesn’t mean you’re protecting yourself from burnout. Everyone needs a night to binge watch on the couch here and there.
Talk to someone.
Some might say I’m biased- but I believe every single person needs therapy. Yes, including you. You may think, “I don’t have anything life threatening going on, I can handle this on my own” or “I talk to my spouse and friends, isn’t that enough?” Truth is, your support system has bias into your life in a way that a therapist doesn’t. The decisions you make directly affect the people in your life, and they’re going to lean a certain way. Additionally, your friends may not want to hurt your feelings. As your therapist- I don’t care if you like me, that’s not my job.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a spa day.
There are eight dimensions of wellness. Physical, spiritual, psychological, environmental, financial, occupational, emotional and social. I encourage everyone to take inventory of their life in all eight dimensions. Do you find any of these are lacking? For instance, you might be achieving great financial success- but you’ve completely isolated yourself from your friends and family. Maybe we back off work for a bit and spend time with our loved ones.
As many of us go back to the office, it can be difficult to define new work-life boundaries. Remember- you are not your job. If you quit tomorrow, they will replace you- but you are not replaceable to your loved ones. If your job cares more about a deadline than your wellbeing, they might not be worth 40 hours of your week. You can’t pour from an empty cup!
If you need resources for finding a therapist, go to psychologytoday.com.