by Kat Schulte | Jan 5, 2021
References to “self-care” in popular culture are often actually pointing to self-soothing practices. Both are meaningful, and it is important we know the difference. Popular #selfcare ideas — bubble baths, candles, tea — are self-soothers. They relieve tension, stress, or anxiety in the moment. True self-care, on the other hand, is long term habits that build our resilience against stress and burnout. Self-care is the way we shape our lives so we have the energy we need day in and day out to live the life we want. It is the way we care for ourselves so we don’t hit burnout.
True self-care is utilizing long term habits that build resilience against stress and burnout.
In attempts at self-care we often seek out work-life balance, but this idea of balance creates a false dichotomy. Work is a part of life, and while it can be a grind it can also hold great meaning and value. In their book, Nine Lies about Work: A freethinking leader’s guide to the real world, Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall propose, “Burnout isn’t the absence of balance; it is the absence of love.” Their argument, conveniently backed up by heaps of data, is that infusing our work with activities we love and find energizing is how we care for ourselves and beat burnout. It’s not about working less, but about enjoying what we do while we work.
“Burnout isn’t the absence of balance; it is the absence of love.”
Buckingham & Goodall
Integrating Strengths into work combats burnout.
The key to weaving more love into your work is identifying and integrating your Strengths into your work. The Gallup organization has found, “Workplace burnout is reduced to near zero among engaged employees with high wellbeing who also work in a culture that honors individual strengths,” and by that they mean using our strengths every day. The data is compelling. Workers who report using their strengths every day are:
- 3x as likely to report having an excellent quality of life
- able to complete a 40 hour work week without burnout (compared to 20hour weeks bringing burnout to those who don’t use their strengths everyday).
Weaving strengths into work appears to be a self-care superfood.
Most workers feel empowered to modify their roles to fit their strengths, but few take action.
Most people still don’t integrate their strengths into their work, even when they feel empowered to do so. One study Buckingham and Goodall site from The Global Study of Engagement had some fascinating findings:
- Only 16% of workers say, “I have the chance to use my strengths at work everyday.”
- 72% of workers report, “I have the freedom to modify my role to fit my strengths.”
These numbers tell us a few things: Most workers are at high risk for burnout, many have the opportunity to change, and few do.
We grow what we pay attention to.
With a global pandemic thrusting added stressors upon workers, 16% is too low a percentage to be accessing such a solid self-care shield from burnout. There is more life to be had at work. And the good news is that you grow what you pay attention to. Turning just a bit of intentional attention toward your strengths can develop and equip these strengths to be deeply integrated into life at work.
- This FREE 10-minute practice connects you with your strength so you can do what you do best. Every. Single. Day. You will be guided to more flow and less drag as you sit with gratitude and awareness of your unique strengths
- Our strengths programs invite you to unpack and develop your own unique talents and to learn how to harness the power of your talents for increased effectiveness and flow in all you do.