Stop to smell the flowers

Not everything in life is linear. Many instances and incidents are connected in some way or the other.

Question is, are you aware of this part of your life? Do you keep your arms open to welcome these incidents that can lead to a beautiful journey…or, are you the one who is afraid to keep the door open lest a storm comes in and creates an upheaval…?

The problem arises when we are so focused on the end result that we overlook the journey completely. In that process, we do not stop to enjoy the beauty of things that flower around us. Nor do we earmark dedicated time to be grateful for what we have.

Instead, we bicker about things that are still nebulous. We complain about what we do not have. We compare with others, and we compete rather than collaborate.

In the professional workplace, this is very common to observe. The journey to moving up the career ladder can easily get marred by incidents of pulling colleagues down, or taking the whole credit, or by not sharing information and knowledge.

The journey

I really envy children. When you look at them you can see them living in the moment. Playing with abundance. Asking questions. Being curious. Feeling their own feelings and expressing those shamelessly. As adults, we mask our feelings and emotions under the cloak of being ‘responsible’, ‘grown up’ and somewhere down the line, we detach ourselves from reality.

The pandemic unexpectedly created a level playing field for everyone around the world. The ‘lock down’ experience was universal. Everyone of us went through months of isolation, desolation, fear, scare and learning to navigate a new ‘normal.’ We realised work from home was not a demon to be derisive of. We learnt to adapt and adjust. All of a sudden, there was time to pause. To reflect. To slow down. To brush off the cobwebs from the brain. To revive old hobbies and passions. To understand the value of small breaks and rejuvenate ourselves. The time to enjoy that journey – one day at a time and live in the moment.

Self- care

Amidst all of the above, what has clearly emerged is the importance of ‘self-care.’

What is self-care? It is the courage to look within and acknowledge what is affecting you and more importantly, how you respond and what can you do differently. Self-care is about listening to your emotions and feelings. Acknowledging them. Accepting them. And finally, working with them for a fuller, emotionally richer you.

When you pay less attention to your own feelings, you will find anxiety and disillusionment to be your constant companions. You will be seized by moments of helplessness and will find it easy to drown yourself in this wallow of self-pity.

Self-care begins by learning to say no where required and having the courage to say yes when needed. Many of us accept all the work that comes our way just because we are afraid of saying no and afraid how that will be construed. Will our importance of our own self be taken as ‘acting pricey’ or be thought of ‘does not want to collaborate’…point is, the other person will not know unless you share and express your concerns.

Productive workplace

Every organisation desires a healthy and productive workplace. The link between sound mental wellbeing and a successful organization is well established. A healthy workplace encourages openness and helps colleagues to cultivate trust and respect through sharing of feelings. Work cannot be devoid of feelings! We all bring our energies and passions at work and spend a lot of time in our workplaces. This is the best environment and opportunity to nurture and cultivate your own self.

Taking care of oneself is often the last in our priority list. Revise that list. Bring self-care on the top. Remove time to smell the flowers. Only then will you be able to give your best and the best will come to you. You will see the coincidences and notice how life is circular.

This time do a check-in with yourself to see how you are doing.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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