I took a few days off the other week. I needed a break and was suffering a slight infection that hasn’t gone away for a month or so. It made me think about what I was doing and how much time I spent doing all of those things, I realised – I am doing a lot.
I was putting extreme effort into my job (currently on secondment) to prove myself, I was volunteering on the HR Institute branch committee; I was frequently blogging (two different blogs) and also running #nzlead once a week. I talked to my partner and he put into perspective how often I would say “I am going to a networking event” “I’m just writing this blog” “I just have to do this #nzlead thing” “I am going to a committee meeting” “I need to write a newsletter and send it out for feedback”. It was eye-opening to listen to him explain to me how often I would be going to something, writing something, reading something, facilitating something, going to meet someone.
I am scared of saying sometimes I am doing a bit too much (funny, as I give advice on how I manage my workload) – but what I realised, this wasn’t “workload”. I actually spend about the same amount of time doing my extra-circular activities to what I do at work. Some people say “wow you are doing a lot” – truth is, I love being busy – even better, I love what I am doing outside of work as well. It has provided me with a lot of knowledge and connections for my HR career. But I got to the point where I was tired and it was just getting a bit too much. I wasn’t allowing myself to rest and find peace amongst the crazy busy life that I love.
I took a risk and I said – I am doing too much right now and need to step back. I said this to my committee vice-president, my #nzlead co-hostess, my partner and now to my blogger followers. Do you know what happened? They all jumped on the wagon and asked what they could do to help relieve the pressure, they didn’t judge or criticise me, they didn’t say “you shouldn’t have been doing all that anyway”, they just stepped up and offered nothing but help and love.
Over the past 4 months on secondment, I worked hard in my job and ensured that the time I spent doing extra-circular activities wouldn’t affect my job. It didn’t, my infection did, which I never took sick days to recover from. It was time to take a step back in my “spare” time and enjoy me time. To enjoy some time relaxing, recuperating and nap (I love naps, all the time).
It took a lot of courage to show a weakness. I have now realised, it is not a weakness, but the ability to take responsibility for my own sanity and for those around me.
I am now fit and healthy, I even make time for all of the above AND the gym (go me!) and I am still committed to my job and proving myself, but I feel in control and feel personally organised now.
Some tips for how I bring sanity into my life:
- Reading – I have read more books in the last few months than I have since I left high school. Some nights I turn the TV off and just read. Fiction novels (of course). I escape into the world of the book and I just forget everything else for a few hours in the evening
- Gym – Yes, the gym is the devil and we hate it – but I find peace there. I am sweating and I am a red tomato, but I am achieving something that will benefit only me. I’m not getting paid (I’m actually paying), I’m not getting treats for going, but I am releasing stress and achieving my personal fitness goals all in one session
- Socialise – I love being alone and hanging out with myself (I’m not weird), but I love seeing some of the girlfriends and spending time with my partner. I laugh, vent, drink, eat and hug etc with those close to me. Nothing achieves happiness than being with people you love and being yourself. No need to be professional, PC or anything. I am just me.
- Napping – I nap. A lot. I am known to have extreme cat like habits (not hairy, just napping). On some weekends, I sleep in until 9am – move to the couch then nap until about 1pm. That’s normal right? My poor partner just sits around being quiet while I just nap. My ideal napping environment you ask? I wrap up in my mink blanket, I have a TV show on and I slowly will myself into napping mode. It’s perfect.
I balance the above nicely into my busy life now and I make a conscious effort to ensure that I indulge in the above to even out my sanity. Sanity is important – especially in HR.
Don’t be afraid to take a step back, the best thing you can do is to be honest. Never have I appreciated the people in my life more than I did when they offered nothing but help and love.