I’ve got to be honest. The world feels like a dumpster fire. When friends tell me the only thing saving their sanity is internet memes, you know we’re in bad shape. I’d be lying to you if I said I couldn’t relate. Twitter doom scrolling has become my most “relaxing” hobby after a long day.
And yet, we know what heals. Sleep, beauty, connection, movement, nature, breath.
More of that, please.
One thing I can’t stop thinking about: AUTONOMY.
Autonomy (control) is one of the six fundamental domains that can lead us to workplace wellbeing or burnout. According to burnout researchers, Maslach and Leiter:
“Control is the opportunity to make choices and decisions, to solve problems, and to fulfill job responsibilities. A good match [between you and your company] has correspondence between control and accountability. A mismatch occurs when you lack sufficient control to fulfill your responsibilities.”
For women and people who can get pregnant that now lack autonomy over our bodies and reproductive health, for Black and Asian Americans who lack control over their essential safety even at the grocery store, for working parents who lack control over ensuring our school-aged babies won’t get murdered by weapons of war… and, and, and… it’s no wonder we’re all screaming into the void.
(Say it with me now: WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK?!)
It’s no wonder modern life itself is pushing so many into burnout - and that’s before we step foot into our pressurized workplaces.
So, as we continue to fight for autonomy, safety, and progressive policies outside the office, let’s do what we can to make life a reprieve inside the office.
If you hold leadership or power in your role, take note:
- Give folks the freedom and control about how and when they do their work. Let go of “perfect” and “urgent.” It’s all made up. Let that shit go and let people do their best work.
- Offer a safe environment where people can be themselves, bring their fears, heartache, and rage, and be held in a caring community to process all of this and move forward together. Be consistent and trustworthy.
- Talk about wellbeing with your teammates. The best, most fundamental questions: “How are you really doing?” and, “How can I support you?” Be brave, ask and listen. Everything is not fine. Let’s be there for each other.
- Grant decision-making authority to others where appropriate, and let them make the call. You don’t have to be at the center of everything for your business to thrive - in fact, the more you can delegate decision-making down to lower levels of competent talent, the more quickly your results will come. Promise.
- Remember, micro-moments of rest and renewal will save us. Find your medicine. Breathe in new, fresh oxygen regularly. Lose yourself for a moment or two in a beautiful piece of art. Spill your gorgeous, hidden truths to a dear friend. Let go of all that you can.
Free yourself, my dear.
Then, we go back into the arena to fight another day. To create a world that works for all of us, and all parts of us. The world needs you well, sweetheart.