Last week I had the privilege of speaking to the Alliance for Regional Solutions (ARS) on the topic From Burning Out to Breaking Through: How to Take Care of YOU, Guilt-Free.
As part of my prep, I asked my friend Roxanne what she'll do differently when she's called back to her job at the children's hospital. Roxanne is a teacher. I was so moved by what she wrote, I shared it with the group.
And now with Roxy's permission, I get to share it with you. Whether you're an accountant or magician or student or CEO, or an all-too-busy retiree, I encourage you to read these next three paragraphs out loud—slowly, thoughtfully, and without distraction:
I'll take much better care of myself. Skipping lunch, eating at my desk, going in early to get a jump start or staying a little late to wrap up will be exceptions, not standard practice. My mental, physical, and spiritual health will be a high priority because I finally realize how detrimental my daily practices were to my overall ability to thrive at work and home.
I'll be realistic about my contribution. I'm guilty of pouring so much into my work, loving what I have the privilege of doing, but developing a false sense that only I can do the job and without my contribution the office/department/institution would collapse. The reality is that no matter how outstanding my work, business can and will go on without me. I'll continue to give my best, but I'll do so with an extra measure of humility.
I'll be more forgiving. This period of extended unemployment has reminded me that every person I encounter is dealing with life's challenges. I'm determined to extend grace in circumstances that would have irritated me before (shout out to you, perpetually cranky cafeteria lady). We are all doing the best we can and most of us try very hard to hide our struggles. Being quick to forgive and even quicker to extend grace will serve us all well.
How are you being called to take care of yourself? As I told the group at ARS, self-care is not a luxury—it's an absolute necessity, one that sustains you and every other relationship you have. Do whatever it takes.