Oh my goodness, do I have a confession to make... THIS WAS ME (truth be told, it probably still is on occasions).
I wore my “busy badge” proudly while I
- set the 4.50am daily alarm
- dashed from meeting room to meeting room
- scrolled through endless emails, sloshing back luke warm coffee
- pushed a trolley haphazardly round the supermarket in work-heels just before closing
- made social calls on my commute in and out of work to “optimise” my time
- treated my free-time like my work time, with barely a window unaccounted for
- made late evening attempts at powerpoint presentations for morning team calls
- treated “me-time” like a work task, on a mission to “relax and enjoy it” so I could tick it off
- got comfortable with my busy brain and endless lists
- sought to ”add value” to friends and family by running errands, treating them or just listening
So, it didn’t stop at work! Oh no, my busy badge was on display at ALL time’s...
Friends have since described how they would be allocated a 30 or 60 minute slot for a catch up, or how I’d set expectations of when a social event would terminate, even when setting it up (how embarrassing, I’m lucky to still have them).
But still the badge stayed firmly in place, through all sorts of unhealthy patterns of behaviour and conversations with colleagues, friends and family; I found myself regularly JUSTIFYING any downtime or breaks by clarifying how long it was since my last day off. I didn’t seem able to enjoy a Sunday afternoon chilling and watching a film if there was ANY housework or chores to be done. Unless I was being productive, I felt lazy, indulgent and agitated.
Now, I wasn’t entirely unhappy ... I had a good career, wonderful friends, financial stability, aspirations for the future, BUT I was uncomfortable with the “busy language“ I was using, especially as I was (hypocritically) discouraging team members and friends from doing the same! ( I still say it to clients today...”if you’re discussing work hours with friends and it turns out you're the one doing the most - that doesn’t mean you’re winning! On the contrary...”)
Why is it we need to validate RESTING, RELAXING, SELF CARE? The underlying doubts around our self worth are likely to be at the heart of this. Do you feel that you are enough JUST AS YOU ARE. Well, I like myself, a lot as it turns out, so I decided to shift to a path of greater self-kindness.
I studied hard to qualify as a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. One measure of success stood out above the others when I put my business plans and vision together -
“To be able to enjoy having a coffee in the garden at 3.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon“
Sounds specific I know! But it’s really not... I just wanted to feel comfortable, even celebrate, having time to relax and reflect within my work schedule. I wanted a 2pm finish to be met with acceptance and a smile not internal panic that I’m not being productive enough...
I definitely have moments of self doubt. I certainly appreciate a full client diary. But whenever I’m having a coffee n the middle of the afternoon, I have a little celebration 😊
Prioritising your REST, RELAXATION & SELF CARE is not about giving it the same number of hours as work.... it’s about
- treating it with the same respect and importance
- taking it because you enjoy it NOT because you felt you had to earn it
- recognising the other responsibilities get done with greater calm, care, effort and positivity when you get your mindset right