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

day-off

 

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?

“I’m too busy!” 4 Ways to turn “Busyness” into Production

“I’m too busy” may be the most overused statement. This statement is often followed by its close relative “I don’t have time.” I am guilty of using both statements! Busyness consumes time and makes time a liability.  Production makes time an asset. Being busy is often incorrectly associated with being productive.  Filling every minute of your day does not equate to high productivity.  It is possible to be productive for 3 hours and be busy for an entire day!

Busyness is creating a lengthy “to do “list and then multi-tasking in an attempt to complete every task on this list. At this point, the tasks are in control of you, you are more likely to cram another task onto the list (after all what’s one more task) and as a result the list does not get completed.  Most of us do not have time to complete a laundry list of tasks in one day and still enjoy life.  After attempting to complete these tasks you may be left feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or unaccomplished.  Production is prioritizing a “must do today list,” being realistic about what you can get done in a day and more importantly being in control of your tasks and your day.

How can you change your focus from being busy to being productive?

The following 4 strategies can be used as guides in assisting you in focusing on production:

Learn to Say No: For those of you who follow my blogs, “saying no” has become a common theme in me assisting you on your personal development journey.  The most productive people are slow to yes, practicing self-control to be certain not to overextend themselves.  The “busy people” consistently say yes quickly, often make impulsive decisions that result in overextension.

Take your time responding to emails (and other social media messages): A good friend of mine and I recently had a conversation about the distractions cause by smart phone notifications alerting us of a new message.  When receiving these notifications, most of us feel compelled to respond immediately.  Imagine starting your day responding to every notification.  You wake up to your phone alarm at 5am and because you have your phone in hand, you begin checking emails and other messages.   Before you know it, it is 7 am and you are still responding to and sending messages.  Find the time of day that works best for you and try to commit to that time span. (I do not recommend waking up to your phone alarm and checking emails before you get out of bed).  Set aside time to check emails and decide whether to “Do, Defer or Delete” the messages.

Make a “MUST GET DONE TODAY LIST:” Trade in your lengthy to do lists for the MUST DO list. MUST is the operative word.  The Must Do list should be no longer than 3-5 items depending on your lifestyle.  The list should not include tasks such as pick up the kids, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking dinner because these are things that you have to do and you are going to do.  Adding such items makes the list lengthy; thus creating busyness.  The Must Do list should include action steps taking you toward an ultimate goal.  For example if your goal is to write a book, an item on your list might include writing 2 pages of the first chapter.  If your goal is to start a business items may include scheduling an appointment with a successful business owner, reading an article on building a successful business and so on.

Learn to Uni-Task: We live in a fast paced society that values multi-tasking.  People are hired and promoted because of their abilities to multi-task.  However, focusing on completing a single task can actually increase your results.  Uni-tasking is not working on one thing for weeks or months until you finish it.  Uni-tasking means that while you are working on a task, work on just that task until it is complete.  If the task is important to you, it deserves your undivided attention.  Click here for my blog on uni-tasking versus multi-tasking.

By no means am I dismissing that being busy can have its merits. One of the major differences between busy people and productive people are busy people consider busyness as a lifestyle, while productive people consider busyness as a season.

Now it’s time to hear from you! What experiences have you had with being busy and/or being productive?

 

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

 

Take Control of Your Time: 5 tips to create two extra hours in your day

 

“Either you run the day or the day runs you” is the quote that comes to mind when thinking of the asset or liability we have in father time. Do you find yourself wasting time on menial tasks? Do you find yourself constantly busy with little to no productivity? Are you mismanaging time throughout the day- scurrying from checking email to scrolling through social media, to answering the phone and barely making it on time for appointments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, no need to panic (or try to squeeze in another task) most of us struggle with overbooking our schedules; which can result in the infamous “I could get so much done if only there were more hours in the day.” What if you could manipulate your schedule to create an extra 2 hours in your day? The purpose of creating an extra 2 hours in your work day is not to create more room to squeeze in more tasks. This extra 2 hours we are creating is comparable to clearing space in a cluttered room so we can see the floor. If our days our cluttered, more than likely our minds are cluttered. The following tips will allow you to work smarter in order to allow time for rest, people and leisure.

 

Tips for taking control of your time:

Complete the most important task first: Each day identify at least 3 tasks that you must complete. Complete the most difficult or the most dreadful task first. Completing at least one of these tasks at the beginning of the day will put you ahead of schedule.

One mind, one task: This may be the most difficult tip for those of us with “Type A personalities” to comprehend. We live in a fast paced society and oftentimes work calls for “uni-tasking.” If you are taking a business call, focus on that call. If you are sending out an email, focus on completing and sending just that email. If you are organizing files, focus on organizing files. When we attempt to do a little of each task simultaneously, something else will come up, none of the tasks get complete and we find ourselves….OUT OF TIME. If you must, limit distractions (go to a quiet place, put your phone out in another room, refrain from the internet) in order to focus on one task.

Learn to Say No: Some of us are good at juggling multiple commitments and not feeling overwhelmed. Others struggle with saying no to opportunities that will create more clutter and chaos in their lives. When we cannot say no to these things, we are saying yes to issues such as disorganization, stress, anxiety and marital problems. Take the time to understand who you are, what you can handle and the reason you struggle with saying no.

Get an early start: “The early bird catches the worm” still rings true. The snooze button is not your friend if you are looking for ways to use time as your ally. Getting that extra 15 minutes of sleep usually turns into an extra 30 minutes of sleep. I challenge you to wake up 30 minutes earlier instead of using the 30 minutes to snooze. I know…so much easier said than done, but think of how much more time you will have throughout the day just by getting that early start.

Rest: Getting an early start also means getting ample rest. I can relate to wanting to squeeze in more work late at night and it may feel like you cannot sleep until that blog gets completed, that chapter is written, that business plan is submitted and so on-the list of tasks continues. Since we completed the most important tasks for the day; make a list of important tasks for the next day and go to bed. How effective can you be if you are exhausted? Remember you need your rest because we are not snoozing in the morning!

 

Our lives can be so full of excess. When we can identify the excess and remove it, we create space for what is important and what deserves our time.

For more strategies with time management contact Sharise Hemby-Nance, LSW @ vitaminchealing@gmail.com.