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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

Do you suck your thumb at work?

Do you suck your thumb at work?

Ok, so obviously it is a rhetorical question since I don’t know any adults who suck their thumbs and the idea of putting your hands in your mouth in the workplace literally makes me want to puke.

But what I am really asking about is self-soothing.

Yup- as adults.

We all know how important self-soothing is for infants and toddlers but somehow, we don’t think about it for ourselves… and there are plenty of occasions at work that merit soothing behaviors.

After all, it is exhausting to be stressed, overwhelmed, and agitated while trying to get a job done.

If sucking our thumbs at work is out (not to mention disgusting and not self-soothing in the least) what CAN we do? What can help us down-regulate our central nervous systems in times of stress?

Don’t worry, I have the answer, but first I want to add more fuel to the fire.

When was the last time someone at work told you sincerely that you are doing a really good job and you believed them?

My guess is, it doesn’t happen often enough. Let’s face it, when everyone is busy and trying to get things done, verbalizing appreciation often gets left undone.

And while it would be great to feel appreciated at work, what I really want to know is

…when did YOU last tell yourself that you are doing a good job?

So often, I hear people defending how much they are doing to administration or management (or to anyone who will listen) but how often do you defend the quality of your work TO YOURSELF?

Do YOU truly appreciate the work you are doing?

Here’s the problem, on top of the insult of other people potentially not appreciating us, we compare ourselves to the work we COULD be doing in a different set of circumstances rather than appreciating ourselves. It’s a lose/lose situation!

So, I am here to tell you to knock it off. Just like we tell our kids not to compare themselves to others, don’t compare yourself to some standard that is not attainable. Look at the good you are doing with the less than perfect circumstances. Believing that you should be doing more adds to agitation and overwhelm.

NO ONE COULD DO BETTER! (That’s what we would say to administration so let’s be consistent in our messaging and say it to ourselves.)

I challenge you to take a good, hard look at all the things you do in a day, all the people you touch, all the fires you put out.

And then I challenge you to take a minute and appreciate yourself.

Write on the top of your assignment sheet, or your computer screen, or your hand “I am doing a really good job.” You don’t need someone else’s approval; you need your own.

It is amazing how soothing that one sentence can be. It can literally change your whole experience at work…

not to mention it is much more sanitary (and less awkward) than sucking your thumb.


P.S. If you literally can’t see work getting better without the whole system changing, reach out. It IS possible and I would love to help you get there.

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