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Why it’s important to make time for self-reflection

October 2, 2023
Jo Gray

This week - the 2nd to the 6th October - is National Work Life Week, a campaign led by the charity, Working Families, to get people talking about wellbeing at work and work-life balance.

National Work Life Week is an opportunity for employers to reflect on their business’s way of working and their own personal leadership style; are their employees able to switch off after work, spend enough time with their families and work flexibility where they need to? And if not, what changes can be made?

This kind of self-reflection in the workplace is really important. It allows time for leaders and managers to pause, listen and analyse their employee’s experiences so that they can learn from them and put adjustments in place to improve their team’s work life.

The happier that employees are, the better they’re likely to perform. It’s estimated that 13.7 million working days are lost in the UK each year, due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression. So, taking the time to prioritise your team’s wellbeing and reduce stress in the workplace is a win-win for everyone.  

While National Work Life Week is a great chance for employers to practise some self-reflection, employees can benefit too. Research shows that employees who spent 15 minutes a day reflecting about the lessons they learnt performed 23% better than people who didn’t. Similarly, a study of UK commuters who used their commute to think about and plan for their day were happier, more productive and less burned out.

Self-reflection is an essential and powerful tool for growth and development, both inside and outside of work. It gives you the chance to look at your actions, challenge your assumptions and consider what worked and what didn’t, so that you can do better next time.

It can also help you to establish which direction you’d like to take your career in and the areas where you’d like to develop. Perhaps you’re enjoying certain aspects of your work more than others, or you’re struggling to get out of your comfort zone. By taking the time to analyse why this is, you can work out where to direct your focus.

Taking the time to reflect can improve your wellbeing and relieve stress. Instead of allowing your worries to spiral, by reflecting on the situation, you’re taking action to come up with next steps which will help you to feel in control of the situation. If you find yourself unable to stop worrying and stuck in a negative thought cycle, reading this might help.

Ready to practise self-reflection? Here’s how to get started:

  1. Decide what you would like to reflect on

    First, you need to identify the questions that you want to ask yourself. For example, if your self-reflections are work-based, perhaps you’ll ask yourself some of the following:

    - How are you feeling about work?
    - How could you work more effectively?
    - Are you supporting your team members? If not, how could you do this?
    - Is there a task you’re putting off doing? If so, why?
    - Is there an area you’d like to develop in? If so, what moves should you make?
  2. Choose your method of self-reflection

    You may want to go for a walk on your own and just take some time to think, you could talk your thoughts out with someone or write them down in a journal. There’s no right or wrong - it’s what works best for you.
  3. Add self-reflection into your routine

    Although any form of self-reflection is a positive thing, you’ll see the best results if you practise it regularly. This is also the best way to improve and develop in the long-run; the more self-reflection you do, the more you’ll expand your critical thinking skills. Perhaps you could dedicate a certain part of your day to self-reflection, like the end of the working day.
  4. Put your learnings into practice

    Let what you’ve learnt from self-reflection inform your future mindset and actions. This will help you to grow and move forwards with purpose.

ieso offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you challenge negative thought patterns and give you tools to stay in control of your mental health. Find out more about what we do on our website.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.

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