i have been having more conversations than i could ever count about how to avoid burnout at work while in a pandemic, especially for those working in mental health and/or education. i happen to be in both as a counselor at a high school. that being said, there is this duality – i am incredibly grateful to be employed doing something i love but am increasingly aware of my own exhaustion as there was no point in grad school where we covered being a therapist amidst a pandemic. there has been lots of learning and evolving along the way.
quite early in the school year, i flipped through the calendar for the first semester. i went to speak to our executive admin to see how many vacation days i had for the year because i knew i was carrying some over from last school year. i decided upon hearing the number that it didn’t make sense for me to just stack a bunch of days for the hell of it – i was going to take time off. some days would be spent alone, some would be spent on mini vacations with dear friends and some would be spent visiting my new nephew, enzo.
there was a point in time where i used to feel guilt about taking time off if not for a major event. i stumbled across this quote on twitter and it has not only impacted my day to day but my approach to taking days off from time to time:
“you owe yourself one hour a day of self-maintenance. it can include reading, writing, yoga, exercise, dancing, meditation, painting, or whatever, but you owe it to yourself. one hour, 1/24 of your day. that is less than 5%. it matters, it really does. make it count.”
as someone who only requires 5-7 hours of sleep, i have at least 17 hours that i am awake per day. even on the heaviest work days, i theoretically have 6+ hours that do not involve work. why would there be guilt about taking an hour to do something for me? why would there be guilt about taking an entire day here or there?
this past weekend, i took a much needed road trip to vegas with one of the loves of my life, brittany. she captured this photo of me and if it weren’t a tad unprofessional (due to the frozen passion fruit margarita that was to die for), i would attach it to my out of office reply for the day.
do you take one hour a day out for yourself? can you do it without guilt? if so, how are you spending that time?
what does your ideal day out of the office look like?