If you put into google ‘wellbeing in the workplace’, it’s likely you will come across a lot of articles talking about the value of self-care. Articles and blogs on the importance of employees taking care of themselves to build their resilience and as a strategy to prevent burnout.
These articles will be packed with top tips about the importance of taking regular breaks. Of going for a brisk walk at lunchtime. They will point to the value of moving and stretching the body and remaining well-hydrated.
The importance of sleep and how to get a great night’s sleep will be outlined together with a bunch of top tips on sleep hygiene.
Some of the articles may delve into nutrition and why eating a well-balanced diet is key to our physical health. They may even explore cold water swimming and how to stimulate the vagus verve.
And while all of this knowledge and advice is great and even better if you actually implement and follow it consistently, this approach to self-care will only get you so far.
That’s because there is something at a far deeper level impacting your well-being and influencing how you show up in each moment that has nothing to do with self-care and everything to do with your core beliefs about yourself. Your identity.
Your Core Belief Structure
The core beliefs which form your identity were created before the age of five years old. Our life experiences, traumas, and events which we had to navigate through in our young minds led to limiting thoughts and assumptions about ourselves and who we are. These limitations we innocently put on ourselves began to form a story and it’s this story which informs our every thought, decision and action.
Rather like an application on your smartphone, the app is only capable of running the programme its been coded to run.
The sad truth is that many people go through life unaware of these inner programmes that are influencing their every move, let alone going as far as to challenge them. And because of this, they live lives full of frustration, pain, struggle, a need to control everything, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and so much more.
We only need to look at the statistics about mental health to get the picture. While the workplace is keen to focus on mental health, no one is talking about the deeper underlying cause – our belief structure.
Take burnout as an example. People can assume that burnout is attributed to an organisation’s culture, unrealistic expectations within the company, a lack of resources, and an increased workload. While these aspects can be contributing factors, can we always pin these on burnout?
Let’s look at 32-year-old Stacey. Stacey works in digital marketing as an account manager. She’s keen and ambitious and wants to show her manager and the other business leaders that she’s got what it takes to go all the way to the top. She’s a higher achiever and is often seen working 12-hour days. At the weekend Stacey struggles to switch off and often feels in a state of high alert. She’s very hard on herself and if she makes a mistake or has challenges with the accounts she manages she gives herself an internal beating.
Underneath the surface, Stacey is always trying to prove herself. She believes her behaviour comes from wanting to do a good job and climb the ranks and is unaware that deep down she doesn’t believe she is enough. In meetings, she is keen to assert her authority and experience, especially with her peers. Stacey also struggles to delegate to her team believing that only she can produce work to the same level as herself, which is often an unrealistic level of expectation. Because of this, she feels a need to control everything which leads to her micromanaging her team at times.
This perfect storm eventually leads to burnout and Stacey is forced to take some time out of the business.
Her G.P. puts her on anti-anxiety medication and her Manager refers her to Occupational Health. Occupational Health talks to her about her long working hours and the need for self-care and how this combination has led to her burnout. This makes sense to Stacey and so she returns to work after a few weeks of getting more rest and taking daily walks at lunchtime and creating time to eat properly. She feels she has got a handle on the situation.
Three months down the line and the daily lunchtime walks have fallen by the wayside. While she isn’t working quite as long hours her previous self-care measures have all but stopped and she is back to setting unrealistic deadlines for herself and her team.
Is the problem burnout?
Burnout is the byproduct.
The problem is that Stacey doesn’t believe she is good enough and to overcompensate she is trying her best to prove herself. And until she both knows and feels and embodies the belief she is enough and of true value as she is, she will be caught in this constant cycle.
As the founder of The Mind Solution, I know this to be true. Partly because of the hundreds of people I have worked with. But also because I was a version of Stacey.
I went through my whole HR career trying to prove myself, never believing I was enough. I was ridiculously hard on myself. I took pride in working long hours because I believed at some level I was showing my boss I was good enough!
I struggled desperately with being vulnerable and letting others see me as being emotional for fear of not being seen as enough, not being seen as perfect.
It was exhausting!
This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping people burn down the limitations in the form of beliefs that they have innocently created and which are the drivers for all behaviour.
I have worked with countless people who have struggled with burnout, adrenaline fatigue, anxiety, a fear of public speaking, imposter syndrome, and performance issues and every single time these by-products have been owing to the core beliefs they have unconsciously held true about themselves.
True self-care comes from what you think about yourself, the identity about yourself which you have created – and which you can recreate with the right help 😊
If you or your team are ready to live a life free from limitations get in touch now!
Sara Maude, a seasoned solution-focused psychotherapist, Transformational Coach, Hypnotherapist, and EFT Practitioner, brings over a decade of mental health expertise to global organisations. She specialises in conducting employee wellbeing webinars and offering tailored mental health awareness training for managers. Sara’s proficiency also extends to wellbeing consultancy and wellbeing strategy, contributing significantly to the enhancement of workplace mental health and overall wellbeing.