Recovery Position

What kind of first aid is good for when we hit a minor mental or emotional wobble at work?

I did a great course a couple of years ago on outdoor first aid (see this link).

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a piece of learning as much as this for ages, partly because it was so practical and relevant to the outdoor volunteering I was doing at the time.

Looking back over my first aid notes recently and after having had a bit of a confidence wobble about some completely unrelated work, it made me think about how I sometimes recover from those wobbles better and faster than at other times.

I wondered if there was a kind of ‘recovery position’ that would be good first aid for my minor mental and emotional wobbles?

There are all kinds of wobbles we might want to be recovering from at work: confidence crises like the one I was having; relationship fallouts; ego-bruisings of all kinds; the shame of having made a truly awesome mistake or two; the crippling fear of something going disastrously wrong.

It feels like a minefield! – maybe that’s enough of a list for now, but let me know if I’ve missed any of the kinds of things we might need to be recovering from.

Two kinds of approaches seem to be good first-aid for those issues: State-changers and Reframes – read on to find out more.

1. State-changers

These are anything that quickly shifts our mind/body-state, and include things such as:

  • Music – always shifts my mood
  • Movement – getting my body a little warm and loosened-up always helps
  • Journalling – getting it down on paper (even if I then tear it up)
  • Getting a change of scenery
  • Talking to a friend
  • Imagery – for example, looking at some inspiring pictures.

I know there’s lots more – what are your own first-aid state-changers?

2. Re-Frames

These are about finding a new and more resourceful way of thinking about or regarding our situation. There’s a couple of different structures you can use to help find reframes, although it’s pretty easy to do anyway. Here’s a summary using my confidence-wobble example, just to show a little about how one of those structures works:

One way to use Reframes as good first aid
Situation“I’ve had a bit of a confidence wobble about some work”
Reframe it by:For example:
Thinking about others“Maybe I can use that experience to help other people in the same situation.”
Thinking about what type of person I am“I am someone who wants to do things well, so this is going to happen from time to time.”
Learning about what I believe is more important than that situation to me“I don’t want this confidence wobble to stop me, because I believe this is important work, it needs to be out there.”
Reflecting on what I’m actually capable of“I’ve got past this point this before, even if it wasn’t straightforward.”
Finding something I can do about it “I can call a friend, ask for help and see if that changes anything.”
Looking to shift something in the where and when“This often happens when I’m tired; I’m going to take a break and try when I’m fresh.”

It’d be great to know about what recovery positions you use when you hit a bit of a wobble at work – what shifts your state, or what reframe usually works for you?

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach.