5 Good Reasons to take a Mental Health Day from Work…Minus the Guilt

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You are not a machine, you are human!

As helping professionals, many of us may feel like firefighters.  We are constantly faced with situations where we are putting out fires.  This profession can be exhausting, if you do not find a way to reset and refocus for the next session or next day.

Research shows that many Americans rarely take time off from work.  Further, many in the helping profession allow guilt to get in the way of taking a much needed mental health day.  You love what you do and there are times when you are mentally exhausted.  However, guilt will not allow you to take a day off.

How do you get past this guilt?  You must first ask yourself, what purpose does this guilt serve in my life?

Can you give your clients the best possible you by working through mental exhaustion?

Is it fair to you or those you serve to get a mentally exhausted version of you?

 

Helping others begins with first helping ourselves!

As helping professionals, we find ourselves in a unique position.  We are providing care for a living and we must save time and energy for ourselves.

I have struggled in this area for many years.  I found myself consumed with guilt when feeling mentally exhausted and needing a day off.  Who would help my clients?  My teammates need me.  What will I tell my supervisor?  Again, I had to remind myself, my clients and teammates do not deserve a burned out version of Sharise.  This statement is used as a guide when deciding if a mental health day is needed.

What are good reasons to take a mental health day?

  1. Stress

We know the negative impacts stress has on us mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.  The work we do can be stressful and it is imperative that we listen to our bodies in order to gage when the stress is taking a toll on our ability to be effective.

  1. You can do something for yourself

As a wise woman stated “self-care for the selfless.”  I cannot stress enough that you give so much, so often to so many that doing something for yourself is a requirement as part of your self-care regimen.

  1. You can rest

How many 12 hour days have you worked?  How many hours have you spent worrying about the well-being of your clients?  The mental energy exerted to be effective in your work requires rest.  Resting consists of no checking emails, voicemails, completing paperwork or any other work related activity.  Disconnect rest and repeat #3!!!

  1. You will be more engaged when you return

We must intermittently disengage in order to actively re-engage.  View taking this well-deserved mental health day as time to recharge, re-energize and reset in order to be as close to 100% effective as possible.  When we take time away from work, we return more effective, more engaged and find renewal in the work we love.

  1. You can tap into your creative mind

A cluttered mind is not an effective mind.  Use this day to de-clutter your mind and be more “mindful” versus “mind-full.”  When we are operating off of a cluttered mind, it is nearly impossible to tap into your creative mind.  Our creative minds will allow us to think quickly on our feet as well as the ability to get through tough situations which will ultimately lead to our clients receiving the best versions of us!

 

We chose this profession because we love helping others and want to effect change in the world.  It is so common to get lost in work and lose sight of what really makes you happy.  Find what makes you happy outside of work.  Doing so can make a difference in your work-life balance and satisfaction.  A Refueled, Renewed and Re-centered helper is a win-win for YOU and YOUR CLIENTS!

More information on self-care for the helpers, work-life balance and satisfaction is included in the upcoming workbook: Walking the Tight Rope of Life: Refuel. Renew and Re-Center Your Work-Life Demands!

I would love to hear from you!  What struggles do you have with taking a day off from work?

How have you find a healthy work-life balance?

What is the Best Way to Live? Principles to living a more satisfying life

 

When asked the best way to live, answers will vary. Doing what you want, when you want and with whom you want, happiness, health, peace, stress free, debt free and the most popular answer is usually living in balance.  Most of us seek work-life balance.  We want to dedicate the time and energy needed to our careers while having the time and energy to devote to our personal lives.  Experience has taught me that while balance is important, satisfaction is just as important if not more important.  What good is balance if you are not satisfied in your professional and/or personal life?  How can you keep the 2 separate when one influences the other?  Dissatisfaction in the work life leads to dissatisfaction in the personal life.  The “unsatisfied” employee goes home and takes negative energy into his personal life.  The “satisfied” employee may be willing to work longer hours and is more likely to take positive energy into his or her personal life as a result of this satisfaction.  Our personal and professional lives complement each other.  When we are satisfied in both our professional and personal lives; balance becomes more of an organic process.

You may be wondering; “How can I live a more satisfying life?” If you find yourself caught in the matrix of existing in the same daily routine; you may be wondering if it is possible to live a more satisfying life.  It is possible if you are willing to take the time to examine your value structure.  What influences your decision making?  What guide do you use when making those tough decisions?  When ethical dilemmas arise, what guides you in making the best decision in a given situation?

When thinking of principles to living a more satisfying life; again we must examine our values, morals and beliefs.  Upon examining our values, morals and beliefs, you must be courageous enough to hold true to these when making decisions, especially life changing decisions.  Following this process will allow you to develop principles to live a more satisfying life.

In doing the work; I have developed 3 principles to living a more satisfying life.

Be the best version of you: You are either making decisions to become a better version of you or a lesser version of you.  Does your current job allow you to be the best version of you?  Do your intimate relationships or friendships allow you to be the best version of you?  If the answer to any of these questions is no, reflect on the reasons you cannot be the best version of you in this situations.  Will you have the courage to say yes to the things that make you a better you and no to the things that don’t?

Discipline: When I think of discipline, one of my late grandfather’s favorite sayings comes to mind “A fool and his money will soon depart.”  This saying applies to so many facets of our lives-finances, health, career, family.  Most of us can obtain almost anything we put our minds to, but very few have the discipline to sustain certain lifestyles.  The most successful people have mastered the challenge of choosing between what they want now and what they want most.  The key to discipline is winning the daily battle with yourself.  Will you live with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

Integrity: “Doing the right thing when no one is watching” is a saying that comes to mind when thinking of integrity.   Integrity is choosing between what’s convenient and what’s right.  Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gains.  When making tough decisions, are you able to have peace of mind knowing you did the right thing?  Oftentimes making the right choice will not be the popular choice.  Success without integrity is failure.

Now it’s time to hear from you. What principle(s) guide you in living a satisfying life?

 

Sharise Hemby-Nance is a licensed therapist and award winning author with 15 years of experience in relationship building and work-life balance. For more information or assistance with stress management, please contact me at vitaminchealing@gmail.com

 

Say Goodbye to Self-Guilt & Hello to Self-Compassion: Tips for reframing self-guilt

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Guilt can rear its ugly head in many facets of your life. You feel guilty because you work long hours, leaving minimal time for your family. You feel guilty because “life happened” forcing you to devote more time to your personal life and less to work. You feel guilty because you do not have the energy to complete another task or an event you RSVP’d to months ago.   And….the most common form of guilt is saying no to everything and everyone else but saying yes to you; better known as self-compassion or self-care.

By no means am I implying that self-guilt is completely bad. Guilt can be a sign that you want to be better and you want more. There is always room for improvement; it is healthy to strive for being a better you each day and holding yourself accountable. Sometimes a little guilt can be the fuel you need to make some changes. However, when you find yourself consistently feeling guilty for wanting to say no, needing to take a day off, wanting to treat yourself and wanting to enjoy life; it may be time to evaluate your level of self-compassion.

These tips can help you reframe the way you view self-guilt:

  1. Get in wise mind. Guilt is an emotion and emotions are important in certain situations (loving our spouses, children). Getting in wise mind is the medium between reason and emotion. Wise mind is based off your life experiences and what you know to be true. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed with guilt, ask yourself, “What would wise mind say?”
  2. Say Yes to You. When you say yes to everything and everyone else, you are saying no to someone very important-YOU!! Feeling guilty for saying no to a request may be perceived as “selfish.” Allow me to explain; someone asks you to do something or invites you to an event and for whatever reason you want to decline. But your guilt will not allow you to decline and you say yes to a request and no to yourself. Remember, no one is going to feel guilty for taking from you so don’t you dare feel guilty for taking care of you. I discuss this concept at length here.
  3. Use Guilt for Insight Only. Why do you feel guilty? What changes can you make? If you feel you have genuinely done something wrong, focus on the lesson and allow it to motivate you to embrace being better.
  4. Apologize, Accept and Let It Go. What purpose does the guilt serve in your life? How is your guilt helping your current situation? If you have done something wrong to someone; apologize and let it go. If someone is not ready to accept your apology; accept this as a part of their healing process. Allow them the time and space they need and work toward letting it go. Your guilt will not help the situation.

 

Do not put yourself on trial and render a “guilty verdict” for every decision you make. Remember self-compassion and self- guilt cannot co-exist. It is impossible to truly take care of yourself while feeling guilty for taking care of yourself.

Feel free to contact Sharise Hemby-Nance at vitaminchealing@gmail.com.

*Serious inquires only

Work Hard, Play Hard: Tips for finding Work-life Balance

cbeb6ba46e18660129e7ddbef8420f5c[1]Most of us struggle to find balance in our professional and personal lives. The struggle to find balance can hurt relationships, health and happiness. The demands from both our personal and professional lives can make finding balance seem like an impossible goal. So, what is the goal of work-life balance? If you ask several people, you are likely to receive several different answers. In my experiences, I have learned that most people want at least 2 things from both their personal and professional lives: achievement and enjoyment.   However, most people struggle to obtain either of the aforementioned goals. Some of us may find ourselves working 60-70 hours per week and not feel a sense of achievement or enjoyment. When this occurs we must stop and ask ourselves “Why?” What are you hoping to accomplish as a result of working long hours? Are you keeping your end in mind? When we struggle to connect with our “why” in relation to work, our personal lives will suffer; thus making it difficult to find balance in both facets of our lives.

Work-life balance does not require us to find an equal balance such as scheduling an equal number of hours for our work and personal activities. Work-life balance is the proper prioritizing between career and lifestyle (health, pleasure, family, and spirituality/religion). This balance will vary over-time. The right balance looks different for each individual. The right balance today may change tomorrow. The right balance when you are single may change when you marry and have children. Remember we are not striving for perfection, but searching for the tools to combine a sense of achievement and enjoyment in our careers and personal lives.

The following tips can help you juggle the demands of your career and personal life:

  • Leave work at work: We devote over 1/3 of our lives to work. The time we invest into work also includes preparation for work, the commute to and from work as well as time spent ruminating on the work day long after work is complete.  In fact, most of us probably spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families. If you find yourself feeling emotionally and/or physically drained from over-working, look for ways to re-arrange your work schedule, do not take work home (if you work from home, designate an area from work and use it only for work), schedule time off.
  • Rest and Recuperation (R&R): I used to subscribe to the sayings, “I’ll sleep when I die” or “No one ever died from lack of sleep.”  While we may not actually die from being “sleepy,” our bodies need adequate rest to heal and recuperate. Just as our smartphones, laptops and iPads need recharged; so do we! Do not wait until your battery is in jeopardy of dying. If you are working, do not wait for your boss to suggest that you take time off. You are in charge of your self-care, take the time off and do not feel guilty. If you are an entrepreneur, it is okay to take a day off to take care of yourself. Remember, you are no good to anyone else if you are drained. Is it fair to your customers to experience the “burned out version of you?” Don’t they deserve you at your best?
  • Let go of perfectionism: Most perfectionist tendencies are developed during the school age years when the demands of life are limited to hobbies, school and maybe a part-time job. As we grow older and gain more responsibilities, life becomes more complicated making perfectionism impossible to maintain. If this habit is left un-checked, it can lead to burn-out and become destructive. Remember, striving for perfection is an unrealistic goal but striving to do the best you can with what you have is attainable.
  • Exercise/Meditation: When our schedule gets full, exercise is usually the first to get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. We make time for many other important things to our health such as eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom. Exercise is just as important to our heath and has other benefits such as excellent stress reducer and “anti-depressant” (release of endorphins). Taking into account that time plays a huge role in whether most people choose to incorporate exercise into their schedule; you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a few blocks away and walk to your destination or take a walk during half of your lunch break. Other self-care practices can include yoga, quick breathing sessions in the morning and before bedtime. Remember, we only have one body to live in and we must treat it as such.
  • Limit distractions: This can include activities and people. Social media can be one of the best marketing tools and one of the biggest distractions. If you find yourself spending countless hours browsing social media networking sites yet tasks fall incomplete; it may be time to monitor the time you spend on these sites. Are the people in your life assets or liabilities? Do the people in your life drain you? Take the time to reflect on your top 3 distractions and ways you can limit those distractions.
  • What changes can you make today? As creatures of habit, we are comfortable in our daily routines. It takes great discipline to maintain a daily routine. However, it is quite difficult to recognize when the routine is no longer effective and change is needed. If your current routine is adding stress; how can you lighten the load? Do you consistently over-book your days? What tasks can you delegate or outsource? Sometimes, a minor tweak in our routines can be the change we need to help us find more balance in our lives.

Improving work-life balance is one of the most challenging tasks faced by many. When making any changes it is imperative that we start small, celebrate the small successes and continue to build.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with finding work-life balance contact us at vitaminchealing@gmail.com.