Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’ve seriously lost your mojo? Well… Same. That’s why we’ve come up with the ultimate guide for you to find your confidence again!
Feeling down in the dumps and like things just aren’t going your way can have a ripple effect. When one thing hasn’t worked out and then another and another, it can quickly pile up until you’re left feeling completely defeated.
Once you’re in a bad headspace, it can be pretty difficult to pull yourself out of it and focus on all the things that are amazing in your life and all things that you’re great at.
We know it can be tough sometimes but this ultimate guide will have you hyping yourself up again in no time!
Why it’s important to focus on your confidence
Having self-confidence gives you the ability to take on the day and kick butt!
When you’re confident, you are more likely to move forward with people, relationships and opportunities. You won’t second guess yourself and move away from potential experiences.
And when things don’t work out the first time, your confidence will propel you to try again.
How to hype yourself up
1.Be kind to yourself
First things first, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re allowed to have days where things don’t seem to be going the way you want them to. It’s okay to have a day where things honestly just suck.
BUT, just give yourself that one day. Then get back to being the amazing, strong and motivated person you are!
Remember to change your inner dialogue to celebrate yourself rather than tearing yourself down.
2. Create a to-do list
When you’re in a funk, simply doing things can seem too difficult. Start your days with a to-do list. The list can include things like “do laundry” or “write in my journal” rather than just work items.
Your to-do list can evolve into a little schedule for the day. You’ll be amazed at how motivating it is to cross things off the list as you go about your day. This will also help you establish a maintainable routine and give you control of your life.
3. Get active
Don’t get us wrong, getting active doesn’t mean you need to sign up for a gym contract and start working out 6 times a week.
But it’s important to keep your body moving. Physical activity is good for both your body and mind. Start by going for daily walks to get yourself out of the house. Or take a moment to do a home workout (depending on the weather, you could do this outside too).
Find ways to move your body in ways that work for you!
Do you, boo! Comparison is the thief of joy and with social media, comparing yourself to others is inevitable.
Don’t focus on what others look like, what they’re doing or where they’re going. Focus on yourself and your own progress. Every individual is on their own path but at the end of the day, life is a journey, not a race. You have time to do all the things you want to do.
If necessary, unfollow those that you compare yourself to on social media and work on being genuinely happy for those around you when they achieve things.
5. Create the ultimate ‘hype’ playlist
This is our favourite step! If you’re having one of those days when things just aren’t going your way, use your hype playlist to bring you out of your funk.
Lizzo has some incredible hype tracks and so does NF if you prefer rap. Find the songs that make you feel invincible and play them as loud as you can and on repeat. Maybe even bust a move while you’re at it!
Get that new haircut you’ve been mulling over or treat yourself to new hair colour or highlights. Maybe add something new to your wardrobe or try out a new look.
When your confidence is low, changing up your physical appearance and seeing yourself in a new light can really help. Building on your inner self-esteem is often complemented by a revamp of your appearance.
The combination of working on yourself inside and out will catapult you into a whole new direction!
7. Be your own hype man/woman
Don’t wait around for people to tell you that you’re doing a great job. Tell yourself! Be your own hype man especially when it feels like no one else is going to hype you up.
You’ve got this, you know you do!
Here’s the thing…
We have very little control over how others see us or what they think and say about us. But you can change your own narrative on how you see yourself and how you talk to yourself and there’s no better time than when you’re feeling less than great about yourself.
The only thing we have control over is ourselves and often, others treat us the way we carry ourselves. We attract situations that mimic our beliefs about ourselves and what we think we deserve. If you truly want the life you crave, it starts with seeing yourself for who you are and who you want to be. It’s about the baby steps you take that lead you to exactly where you want to be.
Negative habits can creep into our lives and our routine, and before we know it they become part of our default behaviour. Often we know better than to make that extra cup of coffee, stay up late watching TV, engage in office gossip, or make unhealthy food choices. But we struggle to do better and know exactly how to turn our good intentions into our reality.
We are all only human, and can’t be expected to make perfect choices everytime. But if you are honest with yourself, and know there are some positive shifts you would like to make for your own physical and mental well-being, then read on. As Magaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital puts it – ‘engaging in habit changes for self-improvement is key to vitality and well-being at all ages’!
The good news is that you are the author of your life. Your life is made up of the choices you make, and you have the power and ability to bring about positive change. Change begins with you and you can start today.
Here are our 7 steps to change unhealthy habits:
Identify the habit(s) you want to change
It all starts with awareness. Take the time to review the areas of your life as an observer, and notice the behaviour you want to shift. It can be anything from wanting to spend less time on social media, to engaging in more positive self talk, or even prioritizing physical health through more regular excercise. Be kind to yourself during this process. There is no need to feel ashamed, or to beat yourself up for not being where you want to be. Jot down a few of the changes you wish to make, and be proud of yourself for taking this first and important step towards change.
Identify your triggers
Every action is initiated by a trigger. For example, if you’re standing in front of the fridge looking to eat yet another snack, pause to notice why you’re there/what has triggered you being there. Are you really hungry, or are you actually enjoying taking a small mental break from work? If you’re constantly reaching for your phone to surf social media, what causes this impulse – are you simply bored and looking for some entertainment? Becoming aware of your triggers can help you pause before you act, and you may find it easier to consider other, more positive, options.
Replace the negative habit for a better one
In this above example, instead of reaching for more food, you could opt to drink a large glass of water instead, or walk outside for a 10 minute mental break. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, try engage with a colleague in the office. These simple shifts will make you feel more energized, focused and connected, which are all hugely beneficial. Ask yourself – how do I really want to feel, and what (better) choice can I make to take a step towards this?
Change the narrative
Instead of justifying your negative habit, try and flip the script of you inner dialogue. For example, instead of pouring that extra glass of wine, or eating an unhealthy dessert saying ‘I deserve it, it’s been a stressful week’. Affirm to yourself ‘I love feeling in control of my health. I love feeling good, and right now I am satisfied just as I am’. It may feel un-natural at first, but when you start to feel good, it will get easier to shift to the healthier choice, and you will enjoy a positive cycle of thinking – feeling – and being.
See yourself throwing away the twisp or buying healthy food or waking up early. Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break, visualize yourself conquering it, smiling, and enjoying feeling good. By holding this new identity in your imagination, the easier it will be to show up as him/her – bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.
Small steps are still progress
Let go of the ‘all or nothing” mindset. If you set out to do 1 hour of exercise, but have a work deadline that you need to prioritize – set aside 15 minutes to workout. You will feel less guilty about skipping it all together, and will reap the positive effects from reinforcing the habit regardless. Small steps in the right direction, is still progress.
Give yourself time
In our culture we want to see instant and immediate results. However lasting change takes time. Commit to the process, and offer self compassion when you slip up. Remember that everything in life is a choice, and every moment is a chance to choose again. Life is yours for the taking, so set your sights on your goals, and enjoy the journey on your way there.
Change is a constant in today’s work place but that doesn’t make it any easier for us humans to deal with. When facing change employees look to their leaders to see them through, and as leaders we have the opportunity to make change positive for our people. Workers may be loathed to leave the familiarity of their daily routine and comfort zone, and be hesitant or fearful that they will not be able to cope. It is with a positive attitude that leaders will persuade staff to embrace change and gain much.
“A LEADER IS ONE WHO KNOWS THE WAY, GOES THE WAY AND SHOWS THE WAY”-LAOTZU.
Change is complex and challenging but a work place that does not evolve cannot be competitive, successful or thrive. Change under the correct leadership can be the catalyst to innovation, improved organizational functionality, increased competitiveness, higher financial performance and greater customer satisfaction. For employees change under correct leadership can enhance skills development, performance and personal growth. Positive, innovative and visionary leadership result in sustainable change.
The role of leadership in organizational change
“OUR CHIEF WANT IS SOMEONE WHO WILL INSPIRE US TO BE WHAT WE KNOW WE COULD BE”-RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
More than ever, the role of leadership is of tantamount importance. Organizational leadership plays the key role in the evolution and growth of a business. A good leader helps employees face and embrace the challenges of change, while working towards organizational goals in a worthy way. The strategic role of a leader in change can include: allocation of resources; alignment; vision; deciding on the future focus of the business; gaining commitment and motivation from the team; and achieving sustainable growth. Successful change is reliant on effective and intelligent leadership. A leader’s foot prints should be everywhere.
Since 2019, COVID changed the way we live and work. Even without a global pandemic other organizational changes could be things such as different reporting lines, restructuring and changes in the number of employees. Many structural changes are being implemented as companies adopt a hybrid workplace where employees rotate in and out. This has, and will, transform a company’s culture, engagement and the way business gets done. Demographics have also changed with innovations in health care resulting in an increased multigenerational workforce. It is essential to adapt and be innovative in creating productive and united teams. There is also a focus and prioritization on diversity and inclusion in the workplace to combat discrimination and cultural bias.
Technological advances, changes in legislation, shifts in customer expectations and service, business decisions and diversification, all bring change that need to be responded to by leaders and their strategic initiatives. A “positive change strategy” results in rewards being reaped despite organizations being in uncharted waters.
Positive benefits of change in the workplace.
With change, you must anticipate that people are going to resist. As humans, we are wired to resist change, preferring the status quo, routine and a sense of security. A change results in psychological and physiological reactions in people. The unknown is uncomfortable, and our brains will tend to seek familiarity. If employees are not supported in change it can lead to demotivation, resistance, resentment, loss of talent, job insecurity and poor performance.
It is the leader’s role to make, implement and drive successful change. Change can have a positive impact by adding value or transforming situations and people. Research indicates that an adaptable individual can flex their personality to continue to perform in a changing context. Adaptable employees can tap into the behaviours and mindsets needed to be both disciplined and creative, thoughtful and expressive, spontaneous and logical. These characteristics of being agile, flexible or versatile bring benefits not only to themselves, but also to the whole team. Critically studies show that adaptability is something that we can learn, develop and grow.
So what can you as a leader do to make your people, teams and business adaptable and flexible? Some key behaviours to implement successful change for leaders should be:
Have a vision and innovative approach:
Having a clear vision of where the organization is heading, aligning the team and clearly mapping the destination clearly gives direction and motivation to your people to face and conquer the challenges of change.
Communication is always key. Without clear communication and repetition of core messages, many will struggle to positively involve themselves in change. Communication elicits better employee engagement and relations. You need to communicate the WHAT and the WHY of the change.
To be truly authentic is to behave in a way so that needs are met. It’s a dance between staying true to values while being flexible and malleable. By leading with clarity and authenticity you can build a strong work culture and climate.
Celebrate small wins:
Leaders who celebrate and appreciate goals achieved by their employees and subordinates motivate their teams. Frequently give recognition and rewards, to maintain enthusiasm and boost confidence.
Be proactive about change:
As a leader you have to always be fit for the future, the onus is on you to be a forward thinker. Develop a futuristic mindset that scans the horizon for change. One needs to be proactive and preempt the changes before they occur. Looking back and applying past experiences and predicting the future shifts will put you on the front foot. Keep current, fail fast when appropriate and recover quickly.
Collaborate and include employees in change:
As a leader you need employees to trust and respect you so you can inspire and motivate. Scout out the innovative thinkers in the organization and collaborate with them including them in change plans. Empower the employees to act consistently with the new vision and help sustain commitment to it. Encourage them and adapt your strategy to suit your employee’s needs.
Find change agents and champions:
Change agents can be internal such as managers or employees. It is the individual or group who takes the task of initiating and managing change in an organization. As a leader you need to identify change agents as they are vital to successful transformation. The following traits are desirable in change agents: experience, expertise, access, flexibility, representative characteristics, enthusiasm, organizational knowledge and influence
Foster psychological safety:
Leader-Member relationships are key to the success. Trust is earned and as leader you need to attract employees and subordinates. A supportive management style, not a dictative style, would give the desired result. Grow your empathy by putting yourself into other’s shoes. People working in psychological safe environments feel: included, accepted and respected. When people are respected they give more than their hands or the day to day grind, they are invested and give their minds and heads as well.
Create mechanisms for support and feedback:
Throughout change make employees feel supported. Make time for open discussion of problem areas, things that are going well and honest questions. Offer formal coaching and access to counseling. Informal support may involve a cup of coffee, regular check ins, practice active listening and have an open door policy. Be available, be approachable. Effective feedback is critical and helps people grow, adapt, and become better versions of themselves within change.
Reinforce job security:
When things change people feel insecure, leaders must reassure them that their jobs are not under threat. Job security is knowing that your job is safe and having the assurance that you will be able to work in your current employment for the for seeable future. As an employer you can increase job security for employees. Encourage learning and development, upskilling, lead with pragmatism and resilience.
If you are a leader that understands the need for and benefit of change and the value of your people, you will be the organization that stands above competition and you will succeed in the ever changing environment of business. Take bold steps and foster your ability to be an agent of change. This is an ever green skill you can develop for yourself and your organisation.
In a world as unpredictable and crazy as ours, it’s easy to forget to be grateful. We go about living our lives the same way each day but did you know that actively practising the art of gratitude can change your life?
Actively expressing gratitude has been proven to improve levels of anxiety, depression, stress and it changes your way of thinking where you no longer dwell on the negative but start to focus on the good in your life. However, having an attitude of gratitude is more than just saying “thank you”.
What is the art of gratitude?
The art of gratitude goes hand in hand with living a more mindful life. When you focus on being mindful, you are trying to be more present in all that you do. By being more present, you slow down your daily routine and you’re more cognizant of your life and the people around you.
When you practise the art of gratitude, you also slow down and focus on the good in your life and the good in the people you surround yourself with.
The art of gratitude, at its core, is simply living a happy and fulfilling life. It’s where you regularly take the time to be thankful for all that you have, to thank those around you and share in the abundance of life. The more you do this, the more good you start to attract and by just practising gratitude, you are planting the first seed of positivity.
This isn’t a difficult task. There are no major changes you need to make. The main thing is to slow your day down and focus on what you have to be thankful for. You can do this by;
Create a gratitude journal, nothing fancy, a notebook will do just fine.
Every morning or every evening, hide your phone away for a little while and sit in a calm and happy space (my favourite is outside on the patio with a cup of Rooibos tea). Now take the time to reflect on your life, the people in it, your achievements and write down a list of things to be grateful for.
Some examples could be; your furry companion, your health, the job you have or even that you made it out of bed that day (this is a very important one if you’re going through a tough time).
You can list as many things as you want to but we recommend at least listing 3-5.
Saying thank you
This sounds obvious but have you ever held a door open for someone or let them into your lane during heavy traffic and not been thanked? It’s not the best feeling.
Now you don’t have to throw a parade for every person that does something nice but simply acknowledging that someone helped you goes a very long way. Take the time to actively thank those who have made your day a little easier.
If you have a friend or family member who has been a ray of sunshine in your life recently, send them some flowers or even a text letting them know that they’re appreciated.
Making others feel good has a direct response to how you feel.
Having daily affirmations
You can use your gratitude journal or simply do this in front of the mirror but as much as you’re grateful for all that you have, you need to be equally grateful for all that you are.
In the same way that you’d take some time to write in your journal what you’re grateful for, take the time to pause and be grateful that you are you.
Similar to being mindful, meditation and focusing on your breathing is a great way to practise being grateful.
During mindful meditation, you are focused on the present moment without any judgement and often during this time while you focus on your breathing you think of a word or a phrase like peace or happiness. With the art of gratitude though, you can focus on what you are grateful for and let those beautiful thoughts manifest in your subconscious.
Planting seeds of positivity and letting them flourish into multiple facets of gratitude can transform your life in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of those ways;
Gratitude shifts your focus
You begin to see the positive rather than the negative and as you begin to master the art of gratitude, the negative in your life won’t have a great hold over you and you will navigate your way through it better.
Being grateful makes you feel happier
The more grateful you are, the more you start to realise how good your life actually is.
You’ll be less materialistic
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have the drive to acquire all that you want in life but you won’t be as focused on getting the next best thing. You’ll be satisfied and grateful for what you have been blessed with.
You’ll be less likely to experience burnout
As you use mindfulness and the art of gratitude to navigate your way through life, you’ll begin to live a slower-paced life that will feel more manageable. You’ll begin to prioritise important tasks and work through them in a much calmer manner.
You’ll improve your physical health
You’ll start to sleep better and feel more in tune with your body and its needs, encouraging you to be more physically active (through yoga, going for walks etc) and have more time to focus on your and your needs.
You’ll begin to develop patience, humility and wisdom
As you slow down and focus on the good in your life, you’ll begin to feel more at peace and more inclined to enjoy the smaller things in life and all it has to offer.
The art of gratitude is another way of practicing self-love and getting more out of this life. Life gets busy and with all that we have faced during the pandemic, it is so important to actively seek the sprouts of positivity all around you.
As women, we are in between trying to balance careers, children, families, social lives and so on. And because of how busy life gets, it can be hard to remember to look after your own health on top of it all.
This is why creating healthy habits for yourself through eating healthily, exercising and meditation is so crucial because you need the energy and ability to tackle your everyday. Over and above creating healthy habits, it’s also very important to ensure that you have regular health checks. The reason why health checks are so important is that they can improve your quality of life, prevent complications and detect potential problems early, which can ultimately save your life in the long run.
So the question is: What health checks should you be getting?
1. Pap Smears
As you enter adulthood you should be going to get regular Pap Smears. According to WebMD you should go for the test “every 3 years from ages 21 to 65”. The purpose of this exam is to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may turn into cancer later.
A mammogram is a screening for breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast between plates so that X-ray images can be captured. According to nationalbreastcancer.org “women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years”.
3. Blood pressure
Having regular blood pressure tests should happen throughout your life. According to heart.org, “blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range”. To maintain a healthy blood pressure range you need to follow a healthy diet and incorporate regular exercise into your life.
4. Skin examination
Regular at home skin examinations should happen every month. You need to start getting in the habit of scanning your skin for any new moles or start pointing out changes to existing moles as they can be an early sign of skin cancer. According to cancer.org “finding it early when it’s small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat”. If you have a family history of skin cancer it’s best to go for regular check ups with your doctor or dermatologist.
5. Dental checks
From the moment you get your first tooth and through your whole life you should be going for regular checks with your dentist. According to nhs.uk “people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often”. This way you can spot early signs of decay and any other problems.
We hear words like self-care and self-love a lot lately. These words are thrown around so often that they begin to lose their meaning and we start to feel overwhelmed with what we’re supposed to do.
Is self-care eating that extra-large slab of chocolate you’ve been eyeing or is it taking a day off of work to recharge? Let’s unpack what self-care really is, the different types of self-care and why it’s so important to actively practise self-care every day.
What is self-care?
Self-care is far more than you may have originally thought. It’s not overindulgence, it’s not about being selfish and ignoring all your responsibilities, there’s a little more to it. Self-care is about taking care of yourself holistically.
It’s looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally so that you are healthy in mind, body and soul to accomplish everything you need to and so that you can dominate each day.
In order to achieve optimal self-care, there are 5 types of self-care that you should focus on.
Different forms of self-care
The first step to self-care is looking after your body. Now, this doesn’t mean working out for 2 hours 5 days a week. It just means that you will make healthier choices so that your body can run efficiently.
It’s important to remember that there is a connection between your mind and your body. In order for your mind to be healthy, your body needs to be healthy too and vice versa.
This is often something we don’t think about as self-care but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how important social self-care is.
This involves having healthy relationships with friends and family. It can be easy to let close relationships slip, life gets busy and it can be exhausting trying to keep up. This is made even more difficult by a pandemic that limits your social interaction.
It’s important to set aside time to maintain your relationships. Take a couple of minutes out of your day to check in with your friends, set up a video call or meet for coffee (when it’s safe to do so). There’s no right or wrong amount of time to spend with friends and family but it’s important to nurture these relationships.
Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Just like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your mind.
Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind active. Find things you love to do like reading or even downloading apps that focus on keeping you mentally fit.
Another way to take care of yourself mentally is by journaling. You can start by writing what you’re grateful for each day and some self-affirmations. This will help you develop a healthy inner dialogue.
Spiritual self-care is unique to everyone but it definitely aids in your self-care process. It involves finding something that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning and connection with the universe.
You can do this by meditating, focusing on your religion and praying or discovering your own spirituality.
Your emotional self-care is so important. It is vital to find ways to handle difficult and uncomfortable feelings and emotions.
Do you feel your emotions or do you have a habit of ignoring them? Confronting your emotions is necessary for your overall self-care so they don’t fester into something far worse.
Find ways to process your feelings by maybe chatting to a friend you trust, going to therapy or writing your feelings in a notebook every day so you can process what you went through that day. Have a look at how you can live a more positive life here.
Why is self-care so important?
As we said, self-care is not laying on the couch all day binge-watching series, self-care is putting your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing above everything else.
We live fast-paced lives and it’s so easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle so you really need to slow it down. Start living a more meaningful life and be more cognisant of what you’re feeling every day and make sure you are actively looking after yourself. You deserve it!
This is a life we should fall in love with not simply begrudgingly go through it.
Sometimes you need a little help recognizing when something isn’t good for you, especially when emotions are involved. Here are some red flags that your relationship might be toxic and how you can care for yourself
As human beings we are wired for connection, we come into this world ready to connect. Relationships are such an important part of the human condition we tend to take them for granted. We all have an inherent desire to connect with others. Relationships are the glue that holds us together during stressful times, add meaning to our life, create stability, increase our emotional stability, allow us to learn and grow, give us a way to understand ourselves and add to our feelings of meaning in life.
Healthy relationships are vital to having healthy emotional and mental health, just as toxic relationships can erode our sense of wellbeing. In fact, poor social connection and loneliness can be as detrimental to your life expectancy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So while you are focusing on eating well, moving well, practicing self-care and pursuing a health work life balance, you could be undoing all your hard work by staying in a toxic relationship.
The thing is it is not always easy to recognize when a relationship is toxic, especially with emotions involved. And relationships always have a context you need to negotiate and a dynamic you need to understand. A healthy or toxic relationship can be with a significant other, a family member, authority figure, work colleague or friend. A toxic relationship can be familial, friendly, romantic or professional. As part of being well, we at Wellbe want to encourage you to practice self-care in all facets of your life, including your relationships.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is any relationship which results in either party feeling unsupported, experiencing excessive negative implications and conflict and where one party seeks to undermine the other. Disrespect is usually a key feature. Yes, every relationship will go through ups and downs but what makes a toxic relationship different is that the negative impact outweighs the positive, causing emotional, physical and mental harm to either person. When one person in the relationship consistently undermines or harms the other, whether it is intentional or not, a relationship can be considered toxic. In fact, you may realize you are perpetuating the toxic behaviors without even being aware. Often times a toxic relationship may not even be a fault of either person, but rather because of an incompatible pairing. For example, a people pleaser might end up with someone who is stronger and more controlling, causing a toxic situation where the one person consistently sacrifices their needs to gain the approval of the other.
The other thing is, people who are toxic in a relationship may have very good reason to be, but that does not make the relationship ok. Essentially despite the cards you have been dealt, there are things you need to let go. Often times those who are abusive, toxic or bully others are modelling this toxic behavior on past experiences they have had. Sometimes the toxic individual is someone with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or past trauma. Perhaps, the person on the receiving end of the toxic behavior will have experienced it in their childhood, causing them to accept the same themes as acceptable in their later relationships.
It is important to note that a toxic relationship may be an abusive relationship. And abuse is never ok. If you suspect your relationship is abusive you should reach out to someone you trust or get professional help.
What are the red flags of a toxic relationship?
When you hear the term toxic relationship, your mind probably jumps to a situation which is violent, abusive or involves harassment. The truth is most toxic relationships are subtler. Sometimes the warning signs can be missed and we end up staying in them for longer than we should, compromising our wellbeing. Here are some red flags to look out for in your relationships.
How does the relationship make you feel?
Reflect on how a relationship makes you feel, if any of the below describe how you feel most of the time in a relationship it may indicate it is toxic:
Consistent unhappiness: any relationship which makes you feel anxious, sad, frustrated or angry could be toxic.
Negative shifts in your mental health, personality or self-esteem: any relationship which makes you feel depressed, anxious, perpetuates an eating disorder, makes you feel worth less than you did previously or causes you to change and withdraw from your usual personality.
Negative impact on other relationships or how you spend free time: any relationship which causes you to withdraw from relationships that usually bring you joy or if your relationship makes you feel guilty for pursuing things which usually give you joy.
Feelings of guilt: if another person consistently makes you feel guilty or ashamed of who you are, what you enjoy or your lifestyle it may be toxic.
A worse version of you: if you find that you are becoming a version of yourself you no longer like and consistently display your worst character traits, it’s time to consider whether this relationship is healthy.
Drains your energy: sometimes after spending time with certain people we feel drained and exhausted, often avoiding that person if we can. This is a telltale sign that the energy in the relationship is likely toxic.
Do you recognize any of these toxic behaviors?
Perhaps it is easier to identify a toxic relationship by looking out for behavioral red flags. The toxic relationship could be characterized by of the following patterns of behavior:
The other person only calls you or spends time with you when they need something
Time spent together is always focused on them or conversation centers around what they want to talk about
They put you down or make fun at your expense in front of others
You always leave time spent with them feeling negative, drained or worse about yourself
They are aggressively competitive towards you, often jealous and controlling
They bring drama into your life and behave in a way that makes you uncomfortable
They often disrespect you, forget to include you or exclude you from things
They gaslight you, making you question your feelings or perspectives
You have to walk on eggshells around them
How to practice self-care when you are in a toxic relationship
Depending on who the relationship is with, it can be very difficult to resolve, fix or end the toxic relationship. We want to encourage you, that part of caring for yourself is finding a happy medium between having healthy boundaries, healthy self-esteem and having healthy relationships. In fact, there is never a situation where it is ok to compromise caring for yourself to meet someone else’s needs. It brings to mind the lyric from a Jason Gladwin song that goes, “I set myself on fire to keep you warm”, and that is not ok.
It is important to remember that there is a difference between toxic relationships and abusive relationships. There is never an excuse for an abusive relationship. If your relationship is drastically impacting your self-esteem, isolating you or causing severe physical and mental distress, we recommend you contact a professional and seek help.
In a toxic relationship, whether you can fix the relationship or not, actually depends on both of you. The other person must also be willing to change and heal the toxic patterns. Here are some things you can do to ensure you take care of yourself:
Accept responsibility for your part in the relationship and letting the toxic behaviors become a pattern.
Set healthy boundaries by recognizing when things make you uncomfortable or feel bad a make a point pushing back.
Learn to be assertive in a polite and kind manner letting the other person know when they are doing something you do not want to accept.
Don’t dwell on the past, start to focus on building new and positive patterns in your relationship.
Find support through a friend, support group or even therapy as sometimes you just need someone to encourage you and figure out why you let yourself get into this toxic pattern in the first place.
Practice healthy communication with a focus on how you speak to one another, tone of voice and your body language.
Heal individually to heal the relationship together, as we mentioned there is usually a reason people act the way they do and sometimes you need heal yourself before you can function in a healthy way in a relationship.
A word from WellBe&Co
Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities, organizations and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves, both physically, emotionally and mentally.
Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.
Blend all ingredients together (*batter should resemble thick-ish pancake batter). If batter is too runny, add in a bit more coconut flour). Heat a large non-stick fry pan on medium-low heat and add oil/butter Pour batter into the heated pan – you can either make 1 large pancake or a few smaller ones. Cook for +/- 2 mins on one side (or until lightly golden), then flip and cook for another 1-2 mins. Serve warm with toppings of choice.
What is professional success, how can you get it and how to boost your feelings of accomplishment?
We all have goals and desires, things we want to achieve, work towards and aspire to. For many, being successful in their profession means reaching a goal, accomplishing something, achieving a level of status or expertise in their profession or just feeling good at what they do. The thing about being successful is not only about the things you measure and see but how you feel about those things.
Success is a very personal thing, and sometimes despite what it looks like to others we just don’t feel successful. And how you define and see your success is important. It influences your drive, motivation, your choices, priorities and ultimately what you pursue. So it kind of makes sense that to be successful and feel successful, you need to first know what success is to you.
Another secret of professional success is that success generally begets successes. When you feel like you have achieved something noteworthy, your reward center in your brain is activated, releasing all those feel good hormones, which in turn re-energizes, motivates and inspires you towards more success seeking behavior.
Clarifying your perception on professional success
Professional success really is personal, relative and contextual. Often the problem with our current mindsets and definitions of success is that we are subconsciously influenced by society and adopt external perspectives on what we define as our professional success. In fact, it is naïve to believe you have reached your current perception of success objectively and independently. For example, the unrealistic comparisons we make with others’ career posts on linkedin or any social media platforms makes us feel that perhaps we are not achieving at the level of others. Sometimes these unrealistic comparisons mean we see our peer group as earning more, achieving more and getting more status than us on a frequent basis, eroding our feelings of success.
Your current physical and mental state can also make you feel unsuccessful. Our body’s energy levels impact our decision making. Numerous studies have shown that your physical body shapes your mind. A hungry, tired or depleted person is more likely to come to a negative assessment of their professional success than someone who is rested and experiencing balanced blood sugar. Similarly, someone who is pessimistic or in a negative frame of mind, perhaps from sustained stress at work or the pandemic, is more likely to not feel successful than a person who is in mentally healthy space.
Another thing to consider is how you are measuring your success, you may use measures of success which are stacked against you, making you feel like a failure again and again. What do we mean by this? A great example is you might be measuring your success purely on your annual income instead of your work life balance. So you earn less than your friend in their job but they work at least 60 hours a week compared to your 40. Similarly, research by Lean In shows women are less likely to receive a promotion to manager than men, which implies if you are a woman measuring your success by an increase in seniority of position instead of an increase in your expertise or achievements, you will feel unsuccessful despite the odds being stacked against you and your professional performance.
So an important starting point to boost your professional success and feel fulfilled is to clarify your perception. Awareness is key to achieving your success. A great way to do that is to reflect and build your understanding, try working through these example questions to craft a professional success vision for yourself:
What do I value about my work?
What do I value about myself at work?
What are my unique strengths I bring to the table?
What are deal breakers and dealmakers for me in my profession?
What am I proud of and why?
Boosting your professional success
Now that you have insights into your perception of success, let us look at ways you can really be and feel successful. Maybe you find you’re doing everything you can to be professionally successful but you just do not feel successful. While some small mindset shifts and focus areas will ensure you’re more successful, half the reason you are pursuing professional success is to feel good about your work, yourself and what you can accomplish. Here are our top eight suggestions to boost your success, letting you really feel and live the successes you envision:
Be aware of your strengths:
Being aware of your unique talents and strengths definitely allows you to seek out and identify opportunities where you can leverage these. You can also make sure you develop the areas of yourself to compliment your strengths and grow your success.
A major difference between mediocre and successful people is assuming responsibility. It is not about taking things personally but rather taking responsibility for the part you play, in both positive and negative happenings and assuming responsibility for all your actions.
Set stretching goals and standards:
That is the thing about being successful, it requires you to reach a little higher and try a little harder. You need to take time every now and then, perhaps quarterly, to assess how far you’ve come and what you could do to raise your standards. As we always say, there is no learning without a little stretch, just like you cannot build fitness without effort.
Know your personal brand:
You will need to know your personal brand. Just like companies are spending time and money on differentiating themselves with their brand, so too do you need to brand yourself as a professional. Your work and professionalism is your brand and you need to ensure it is desirable, consistent and aligned to your professional goals.
Build networks and relationships:
Just as important to what you know is who you know. Not only can networks and connections open doors for you, you will also need human to human support in your professional sphere. Think collaboration, brainstorming or just some positive affirmations from those you work with.
Be curious and learning obsessed
You’ve heard it a million times, but that doesn’t make it old hat – change is the only constant. You cannot stay on top of your game and be successful unless you constantly unlearn, relearn and innovate. Seek new skills, experiences and opportunities in everything.
Be aware of imposter syndrome
According to Harvard, Imposter syndrome affects high achievers more. It is the feelings of self-doubt you get around your abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, like you do not deserve to be there and despite evidence to the contrary that you are not competent. Knowing when imposter syndrome is creeping in can help you keep it in check.
As we mentioned, your success is contextual and affected by your environment. Make sure you look after yourself both physically and mentally to give yourself the best shot at being successful.
Boosting that successful feeling
We all know that feeling of achieving something we have been striving towards. While you are pursuing this super successful profession and achieving goals left, right and center, it is important to make sure your success is sustainable. Sure success, like anything, happens in peaks and valleys. There will be times when all the hard work you’ve put in will culminate in a successful project or some noteworthy accomplishment and recognition. And in other instances you might feel like you are stagnant without progress. It is important to boost your successful feelings and remain motivated and engaged in your pursuit, after all good things take time and effort.
Specific brain chemicals are responsible for some of those positive, good vibes we feel when we achieve something. Dopamine, which makes us feel really good, is highest when we are about to achieve a goal rather than when we actually achieve it. The expectation of success triggers a good feeling, releasing energy and renewed attention as well as the tendency to seek things out. You can encourage this feel good moment even more so by stopping once in a while and reflecting on the progress you’ve made and how far you’ve come. Savor that moment just before you knock the ball out of the park.
Spend time reflecting and taking stock of your successes. In society today we are so wired to look towards the next big thing, we often forget to pause and notice what we have just accomplished. Make a habit of consciously pausing on the high points of your professional journey and remembering them often. If this feels too prideful for you why not try it as a gratitude journal.
Finally, and we cannot stress this enough, celebrate the small and big wins. Just like running a few seconds faster per kilometer is you moving towards your next pb so is your boss asking you to take the lead on a meeting or trusting you with a decision. It is easy to only focus on the big things, and forget the incremental small wins which are additive to and crucial in our successes. Celebrate these small wins with a personal reward, a humble brag to a close friend or just mentally appreciating them. After all, you need to be your biggest supporter.
A word from Wellbe and Jessica
Through sharing knowledge and experience, we want to help you become your most successful self. In your professional success we believe you can help us build more successful communities, organizations and people. Because when we are the optimal version of ourselves, both physically, emotionally and mentally, then we all thrive.
Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.
The WellBe Team
About Jessica Brownlee
Jessica is an industrial and organizational psychologist specializing in learning, leadership, talent, neuroscience and wellness. A self-proclaimed wellness geek, Jessica writes The Humble Humanologist blog to inspire, motivate and uplift others on their work and wellness journey. She is her own boss, running a consulting company, Psychology360 (www.psychology360.org) and consults globally to some of the leading organizations. Jessica also strives to find balance and is an avid yogi and yoga teacher (who is yet to master a hand stand).