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We love the incredibly relatable illustrations that Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy share on their Instagram account, @lizandmollie. That’s why we were so excited to get our hands on a copy of their new illustrated book, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work!
Liz and Mollie are masters at creating a positive workplace environment, and they’re also advocates for embracing your emotions and feeling all of your feels. Liz has designed and facilitated organizational culture workshops for leaders at Google, Facebook, Nike, and Stanford; Mollie is an Organizational Designer at the global innovation firm IDEO, where she works with companies of all sizes to develop good workplace culture.
We asked Liz and Mollie about some of their self-care practices, tools for tuning into creativity, mental health tips, and relationships advice. Here’s what they shared:
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about embracing emotions at work?
Don’t suppress all your emotions at work! If you ignore your feelings, you miss out on valuable data. Take envy, which is often considered a “bad” feeling. Envy tells us a lot about what we value -- if we’re honest with ourselves. Most likely, you’re envious of someone because they have something you want. That understanding might help you narrow down what kind of job you apply for next.
How do you practice self-care while also hustling and following your passion?
Prioritize your personal relationships -- they help you maintain a healthy emotional distance from your job and keep you happy. Sociologists who tracked the day-to-day fluctuations in people’s emotions found that workers are happiest and least stressed on weekends. Nothing revolutionary there. But! The same pattern held true for unemployed people. Turns out that what makes us happy is not just free time, but when our free time aligns with our friends’ free time. In other words, spending time with the people we care about makes us happy.
Do you have any tips for tuning into creativity?
Get comfortable with being rigorously unproductive once in a while. Being at rest for a time is not the same as wasting time: when you cut yourself a little slack, you’ll be more focused and creative when you get back to work. Put your phone on airplane mode for a few hours every weekend, dedicate a weekend every few months to a short getaway, or make Saturday a no-chores and no-errands day.
What are some of your top tools for caring for your mental health in the workplace?
One of our favorite tips is to keep a “smile file.” Create a folder in your inbox or or on your phone. Write down nice comments you receive and save texts or emails from colleagues thanking you for your hard work to this folder. When you’re having a bad day or if you just received critical feedback, look at all the positive things you’ve saved to your “smile file.” This lets you quickly remind yourself of what you do well, and will help you better weather your inevitable gloomy moments.
What is one way to cultivate meaningful relationships and trust with your co-workers?
Be mindful of the small moments that have a big impact on how people feel at work. A few examples: eat together! When we take the time to sit down and share a meal with our co-workers, we like them and our jobs more. Learn to correctly pronounce and spell people’s names. And when someone joins a conversation, take a moment to bring them up to speed.
What’s one message you think the world needs to hear right now?
It’s okay to feel feelings. Humans are emotional creatures, regardless of circumstance. You will have ups and downs at work, even if you love your job, so it’s time to stop feeling bad about feeling bad. Research shows that people who accept their emotions without judging or trying to change them are better equipped to cope with stress.
For more of these awesome tips and tools, check out No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work (available now!)