July 16, 2023

Yes, You Should Put You First

By: Center For Accounting Transformation / news-and-updates

Build a better business culture by prioritizing personal resilience and self-care with yourself and your team.

In an era of demanding work environments and hectic lifestyles, personal resilience and self-care have become vital components for maintaining mental and physical well-being. Acknowledging the pressing need to address stress and work burnout, a June webinar hosted by the Center for Accounting Transformation brought together experts in the field to share valuable insights and practical strategies for stress reduction and building personal resilience. The virtual event proved to be a transformative experience, equipping participants with the necessary tools to navigate the challenges of modern life with greater ease and balance.

Moderated by Donny Shimamoto, CPA-CITP, CGMA, “Stress Less and Live More” included panelists Amber Setter, PCC, the chief enlightenment officer and executive leadership coach for Conscious Public Accountants; and Sarah Elliott, PCC, CPA, an executive leadership coach and cofounder of Intend2Lead.

“If we ourselves are burnt out, we can’t help anyone,” he said. “So it’s important that we take care of ourselves.”

Shimamoto, the managing director of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies and founder of the Center, launched the program by assuring attendees that everyone experiences burnout. “You see all of us sharing, leaders within not just our profession, but also within our organizations,” he said. “And we have to be the role models as we move forward…These are things that we have to share.”

Understanding Stress and Work Burnout
Elliott offered a comprehensive overview of stress and work burnout, as well as signs, including physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

“I think we tend to think burnout becomes normal, because so many of us are suffering from these symptoms,” she explained. “So I think it’s really important to define it, know what it is, and to look for it within ourselves.”

She added, “The thing about burnout is it is a progressive disease. So think of each of these symptoms on a sliding scale.” Elliott explained burnout can start small, but can then build, causing problems along the way.

Participants learned that stress arises from various sources, including heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and interpersonal conflicts. Recognizing burnout signs early on is crucial to implementing effective interventions.

The Power of Self-Care
The three emphasized that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for maintaining personal resilience. Self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, and journaling, were highlighted as fundamental practices for reducing stress and promoting well-being.

“Journaling, I found, is a really good way to do self-reflection,” Shimamoto said. “I’m the type of person who, when something happens or I do something wrong or something I feel bad about, I keep replaying it in my head and go, ‘How could I have handled that better? What could I have done?’ I would find it just kept going through my head. So, journaling was a really good outlet for me.”

Setter added that self-care is achieved much easier when activated as part of a ritual. “What is a small change that I’m going to do consistently and reliably? So for me, I go to Monday night yoga. I don’t have to think, ‘Should I go to yoga today?’ No. It’s that commitment to myself. I go to yoga. I get a great night’s sleep.”

Setter added, “And then I get up really early on Tuesday morning and I journal.”

“Imagine you could just get in a drone and pull back the lens and look down on your life and yourself,” she explained. “That process of journaling, I believe, really helps in that regard.”

Setting and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation were stressed as key elements of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Establishing—and Maintaining—Boundaries

The panelists also agreed setting clear boundaries between work and personal life were key to self-care, as well.

Elliott said when working with clients, it is a consistent problem with professionals.

“It’s shutting off from work, right? So often, we may finish work. We walk away from the work,” she said. “But we’re carrying it with us up here, right?”

Elliott continued, “How can you mentally, physically, and emotionally shut down from work?” She suggested bookmarking your work, reviewing the agenda for the next day’s work, and creating an “instead of” plan.

“Think about ahead of time, ‘What will I do instead of work? So it’s six o’clock or five o’clock or four o’clock, whatever the heck time I’m going to shut down from work. What will I specifically do instead? Am I going to go somewhere? Am I going to connect with someone am I going to take a walk?’ But have a plan because otherwise, we kind of tend to stay in that mode of being that we were in all day,” Elliott explained. “You are the only one who is responsible for your boundaries.”

Building Resilience

The webinar delved into strategies for cultivating personal resilience to better cope with stressors. Participants were encouraged to develop a growth mindset, viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and growth rather than setbacks. Practicing self-compassion, cultivating social support networks (including the Center’s Personal Resilience space in the Center Community), and engaging in positive self-talk were recommended as effective ways to enhance resilience.

Furthermore, the importance of fostering a sense of purpose and aligning personal values with professional goals was emphasized to promote long-term resilience.

Creating a Supportive Work Culture
Recognizing the crucial role organizations play in fostering employee well-being, the webinar also addressed the importance of creating a supportive work culture. Employers were encouraged to promote work-life balance, offer flexible working arrangements, and provide resources for stress management and mental health support. Encouraging open communication, implementing wellness programs, and recognizing employees’ achievements were highlighted as strategies for reducing work burnout and fostering resilience within the workplace.

Shimamoto offered, “As a leader, it’s even more important for us to model this type of behavior. And we have to—even more than the others—show that it’s okay to do these things.”

“If we ourselves are burnt out, we can’t help anyone,” he said. “So it’s important that we take care of ourselves.”

The webinar on personal resilience and self-care provided a comprehensive and insightful exploration of stress reduction and work burnout prevention. Attendees left with practical tools and strategies to implement in their daily lives, enabling them to navigate challenges with greater ease and resilience. By prioritizing self-care, adopting stress reduction techniques, and promoting a supportive work culture, individuals can reduce burnout, enhance their well-being, and ultimately thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

This webinar is now available on demand at the Center’s website, www.improvetheworld.net.

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