What? What does self-care have to do with conflict?
Conflict can stop joy, creativity, innovation, productivity and psychological safety in its tracks. The better you do conflict, the happier, the more productive, and the more satisfied with your life and work you will be. The more you care for your mental, physical and emotional well-being, the better you can do conflict.
What does that mean…do conflict?
Well, we all do it, it’s more about doing it well. Conflict is unavoidable. The way we respond to it makes all the difference. Self-care helps with that. In order to effectively listen, we need to be in a good head space. If you are overly emotional or preoccupied and somebody comes at you, you will most likely react unconsciously. That doesn’t usually end well.
Doing conflict well means responding with a conscious choice about how you want to engage with the other person. Have you noticed that the better you are feeling, the less likely you are to blow up or walk away or give in? Care for yourself, put yourself in that comfortable, happy place. Notice then, you listen better and hear the other person’s perspective. You understand their needs. You assert your own needs in the process.
With everything going on in the world, we are taxed physically, intellectually and emotionally, and it’s important to care for ourselves in all of these areas. Exercise, eat right, relax, enjoy those we are with, meditate, and, as I like to say, “laugh, nap, cry, shower, whatever makes you happy and de-stressed, do it”.
Nothing new in that advice, everyone’s saying the same thing.
It’s all about perspective. How do you want to show up in the world?
Do you want to be someone who yells, screams, blames, complains? Or do you want to be the person who makes conscious choices about how she interacts with others. If you are the latter person, the one who chooses consciously about the next move to make, you most likely do conflict well.
Practice self-care – meditation, exercise, yoga, praying, napping, journaling – whatever makes you feel relaxed and joyful. Try it at least 5 minutes a day to really embed the feeling. Let it be your “happy place”, really resonate with what it feels like to be relaxed and joyful.
Then, the next time you are confronted with a conflict, stop, breathe and remember that feeling before you react to the other person. Instead choose how you want to respond. You may think, “when someone is coming at me, I don’t have time to do all that.” Wrong! What I’m talking about takes seconds, at most 10 seconds, usually less. The more you practice, the more it becomes second nature.
I’m not saying this is easy. It takes practice. The better you care for yourself, the better space you will be in to respond in this way.
So, take care of yourself; learn to do conflict well!