This week's guest blog is by Abi Wright, who explains how maintaining good posture can help you to feel calmer and more confident when you're returning to the workplace.
There is one habit that nearly all women share and that is the habit of making ourselves smaller. It’s something that is conditioned in us from a young age and it can have a huge impact not only on our posture, health and happiness but also on how we’re perceived. It wasn’t until I was in the position of returning to work after a maternity leave that I realised just how much this habit was impacting my confidence and presence and therefore impacting the ease of my return.
Being a posture specialist I’m only too aware that as women we need to start owning our space more in order to be seen and heard. This is especially important if you’re attending an interview, a networking session or starting at a new organisation. If we become aware of our posture, making a few small changes can be a huge support when returning to work.
There are three tips I want to share with you that have helped me time and time again. They are simple and you can begin to use them straight away.
1) Look up. Your head weighs approximately 11lbs, similar to the weight of an average cat, so if there happens to be one close by pick it up. It’s heavy, isn’t it? If you find yourself looking down, then the weight of your head will start pulling your shoulders forward and will impact your posture and presence. It will also hinder your breathing so you won’t feel as relaxed. If you walk into a room looking up, your posture will be better and you will have presence. You will feel more confident - and if you can see everyone in the room, it means they can see you.
2) Love your armpits. This might seem an odd request but bear with me. If you find you’re making yourself smaller and feeling tense then the likelihood is you’re squeezing your arms in and your armpits have no space. This quite simply means you can’t breathe fully because the movement of your ribs is constricted by your arms and so your lungs can’t fully inflate. If you bring awareness back to your armpits and allow space to be there then not only will you fill your full width and own your space but you’ll also be able to breathe so you’ll feel calmer and more confident.
3) Ground both your feet evenly on the floor – don’t put more weight on one than the other or sway between the two. When you allow both feet to release down you will naturally have better posture and feel more present and grounded.
So I invite you to give these simple tips a try and see how you get on.
One final thought I want to leave you with is to consider how to enter a room. This can massively impact what follows – whether it’s an interview, meeting or networking session – because we can make a first impression in as little as seven seconds. So, walk into the room looking up, breathe into your width and ground yourself through your feet.
Something that has really helped me is my ‘entering the room’ theme tune. We all have a song that makes us feel really energised when we listen to it. Well find that song and listen to it or sing it to yourself before entering the room. I promise you will notice a big difference.
By allowing yourself to stand tall and to own your space not only will you feel more confident and in control, but others will perceive you to be these things too. You deserve to stand tall. You deserve to own your space. And you deserve to be where you are. So hold your head high as you play your theme tune and step into the room. You’ve got this.
Abi Wright is a Posture Specialist and Alexander Technique practitioner with a background in business, performance and wellbeing. She goes into organisations working with the female workforce to increase confidence and visibility through posture. She is also passionate about raising awareness around the importance of women owning their space within the workplace and society www.inspiringmargot.com
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