Enclothed Cognition

I work in a company that is fully remote, and one of the things most commonly touted as a perk is the ability to work in an environment of your own choosing. You can work from the sofa or from a desk. You can work with music playing or in complete silence. You can work surrounded by people or you can work 8 hours solo.

But one of the things that comes up most often as a perk, is freedom to dress as you choose. Being free from the judgmental eyes of your differently-dressed colleagues, and therefore free to dress however you choose, can be a liberating prospect.

I tried briefly to dress casually but, having mostly worked in corporate spaces before, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t really preparing myself for work.

Turns out, this wasn’t in my mind. It’s independently observable enough, that it even has a name: enclothed cognition.

As a bonus, the very act of getting ready every day adds to your daily routine which has proven benefits for your mental health, productivity, and probably lots more. ūüôā

The Courage of Failing Publicly

When I was in high school, I once refused to do something that my friends were doing because I knew I wouldn’t like the outcome. When pressed about how I knew and asked “Have you ever tried?” my response was this:

I don’t have time to learn from only my own mistakes.

I’ve never been particularly fond of the notion that in order to know what will and won’t happen one has to personally do all the dirty work of learning.

Knowing this about me, it’s less surprising to hear that I’ve spent a lot of time lately encouraging those around me to “fail publicly”. It’s not an easy call to make, of course. No one likes being wrong, let alone being wrong where everyone can see you. The idea behind it is this: if something doesn’t go as planned,¬†and others can see it, then they can help find a stronger solution.

But there are two chances for discomfort here that I rarely, if ever, acknowledge. Boldly doing something in front of people while knowing that it could go badly is a clear risk. It doesn’t matter what that something is, public imperfection is terrifying. The other discomfort comes after that, though.

Failing publicly has no benefit to us, although it still might to others, if we¬†are not able to learn from it. Growth is never something that comes easy and, if we aren’t open to the idea that something needs to be fixed, personal growth¬†can be stopped in its tracks entirely.

I work on¬†projects that, when done well, are intensely public and open. I have made so many mistakes during my time working on them and witnessed even more than I have made. I didn’t start out with the willingness to share my failings and I think that other people could have learned from me… even if I couldn’t have learned from myself at the time.

So… Note to Self – Do what you can with what you’ve got and let people see where you don’t have what it takes. Someone else might have exactly what is¬†needed to get the job done.

Stressed? Try This.

Today is National Stress Awareness Day and, because I will take any excuse to celebrate a thing, I think we should share the ways we all handle stress in our day to day lives.

I will say right up front that I am no expert, but even non-experts can provide valuable insight. Here are a few of the things I do when I’m starting to feel a little stressed:

  • Take my dog for a walk around the block.
  • Write down something that made me happy today (I use the Happier app, but any recognition of happy things will work).
  • Make sure I’ve eaten recently and, if I haven’t, find a healthy crunchy snack. The crunchy part is important for me, personally,¬†for whatever reason.
  • Remind myself of what I have gotten accomplished today.
  • Turn off all my notifications and take a yoga break.
  • Call/chat with one of my IRL mentors, heroes, or¬†role models.
  • Listen to some rockin’ beats. Maybe even dance a little.

Stress management is an ongoing process, though, and it’s easier to deal with it if you do small maintenance every day regardless of how stressed you feel. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, mentally and physically.

If you’ve got ways that you keep your stress levels low, share them in the comments!