It’s April. I don’t know about you, but in my world of work, that means it is The. Busiest. Time. Of. The. Year.
Not even the holidays hold a candle to this time of year in a college PR office. There are end-of-the-year awards, winding down projects, last-minute deadlines, and just a bevy of activity as everyone emerges with the budding trees and blooming flowers. Last week, I was super busy, running from this assignment to that one and then to another. (Don’t feel too bad for me; I really do love being part of this environment.)
The thing is, though, it is super easy for me to let the frenetic pace of my work schedule invade my personal time. At home, I find myself expecting to maintain the same pace. I took a few moments on Saturday morning to veg in front of the TV and was soon apologizing to Larry for taking the break. He said, “It’s okay. You’re tired. You can rest.”
Those words brought tears to my eyes. I wondered for me and I wonder for you:
When was the last time you said that to yourself?
Repeat after me: “It’s okay. I’m tired. I can rest.”
It’s amazing to me how, as women, we expect ourselves to keep going, to keep giving, to keep on keeping on. We’ve got this meeting and that dinner and the other thing. Sure, a lot of times, we’re doing things we enjoy, but I know for me at least, sometimes even those things can become just another thing to check off on a massive to-do list.
I’m a huge fan of to-do lists and certainly don’t mean to disparage them, but it’s okay for us to admit when we’re tired and we need recharging. It’s okay to stop for a moment, an afternoon, or even a weekend and do something to take care of ourselves.
When I’m stressed, I get cranky. I feel tired. I eat poorly. I don’t exercise. All in all, I make bad choices that feed the stress rather than feeding my soul.
April is National Stress Awareness Month. When I first heard that I thought, “Yep, I’m aware of stress alright.” But then I wondered if I really am. Do I notice when I first start feeling stressed and take steps to take a moment, to eat better, to get more sleep or to exercise? Have I learned to watch for and listen to the cues my body gives me? If not, why not? Who exactly do I expect to take care of me if I’m not willing to take care of myself? And how do I think I can take care of others when I’m burned out and run down?
Let’s all make a pact to be better caregivers to ourselves. Let’s remember those words of wisdom from Larry, “It’s okay. You’re tired. You can rest.”
And then we’ll be a whole lot better prepared to face the tasks ahead.