How often have you told yourself “I need some time off” or “vacation cannot come soon enough”? That’s provided, of course, that you TAKE the vacation.
When you work in the nonprofit arena, we tend to go 120 MPH, not slow down, not pay attention to ourselves and go, go, go and go some more. That level of intensity and focus will manifest itself in many ways: unhealthy eating habits, stress, illness, and time away from family, friends, and loved ones—too many to count.
As a nonprofit professional for almost 30 years, I have been there and done that. Unless I had an illness, surgery, or was in the ER, slowing me down is next to impossible. Just ask my husband!!
Studies have shown and our own brains have told us, that going at a breakneck pace is not good for anyone, let alone the nonprofit you are working for. I am not sure why we do this to ourselves: recognition, fear of being replaced, no one can do the job like me/us? Whatever the reason, when we do slow down, be it forced or not, we realize just how much we needed that break.
Here’s my most recent example: I recently had a total knee replacement. Surgery, PT, walking with a roller, the whole nine yards. Yet the day of surgery, after surgery, I was emailing clients and staff. Now, granted the meds clearly had not worn off but seriously? What was I trying to prove? Then being forced to chill at home, on the first floor for 10 days because don’t even talk about taking the stairs, I focused on what I had to do to get better. That focus was on me-not clients, not work, not anything but forcing me to get up and grunt through the pain and stretch my muscles and boundaries of what I thought I could do. Three months later, stairs and walking and Pilates are back on my calendar; yes, vacation is coming soon.
This surgery literally had me focus on myself. When was the last time you focused on yourself?! Think about it, we need to care about ourselves more than we care about our work. Work will ALWAYS be there, but us? Maybe not so much.
It is really simple, if we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of anyone or anything properly.
My advice, go to the beach and soak up the sun, and the surf; climb that mountain; grab a book and read on a rainy day; do what makes you happy and what rejuvenates your soul.
Take care of yourself—your peeps will be happy you did.