“If you are seated next to a small child or someone needing assistance, secure your own mask first…”
Flight Attendant Speech
Whether you work from home or not taking care of YOU is paramount to a work life balance.
I was recently reminded of this.
A few weeks ago I planned an artist date with myself. The Savannah Book Festival was in full swing and for me there is nothing more inspiring than listening to storytellers. BUT… my husband was leaving town for a gig and I felt like I needed to turn this into a family outing.
So there I was sitting in the back pew of a packed church listening to Hoda Kotb tell us stories from her book Ten Years Later. I’m trying to be engaged. P-Funk is doing her best to be cool, but she doesn’t seem to be feeling well (she’ll complain of an ear ache in about 8 hours). There wasn’t actually a seat available for Jeff, so he’s walking around outside. We’re texting back and forth because Peyton can’t decide if she wants to be with me or him.
It was the exact opposite of what I had in mind. Normally I would have been hyper alert and overflowing with ideas… but instead I was slightly defeated. AND I had done it to myself.
I shouldn’t have let guilt take away a perfectly good opportunity to recharge.
I’m not saying we don’t know this, or that we sometimes forget. What I’m not so subtly hinting at is that we often make choices that put our needs and our well being behind EVERYTHING else.
This is self limiting behavior. It reinforces thoughts that your needs are not as important as others in your life.
This is why Flight Attendants remind us before every flight to take care of ourselves first and then help those traveling with us. It’s instinct to help, but sometimes reaching out before we’ve reached in doesn’t allow us to help at all.
In our busy multi-tasking lives we need to make time to recharge. We can’t give everything to everyone, continue to put ourselves last and expect success and balance.
And one more thing. It’s not selfish to think this way.
Working from home allows me to manage and own my schedule. But it’s easy to get tied to a million projects. My work day runs from 8am to roughly 6pm. Inspiration to write usually hits me about 10pm. Which can make for some long nights and early mornings.
I remember reading Julie Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, years ago where she talks about this very thing. She called it artist dates. Purposeful dates you make with yourself to recharge and experience inspiration.
And there in lies the key. Do it on purpose. I fill my days (and sometimes nights) with things I like to do. Personal development and training – part of my work day, lunch dates and networking – part of my work day, testing new ideas and development – part of my work day. All of these things inspire and pull me forward.
I’m not a flaming extrovert. I don’t need to stand out in a crowd but I’m often energized by it. So my recharge time doesn’t usually reflect solitude activities. In fact there is nothing that fills my reserves more than a deep, inspiring, and funny conversation.
So I’m curious. Do you make recharge dates with yourself? Have you ever let guilt or fear sabotage a date with yourself?
I would love to hear about your journey. Please share in the comment section below.