The thought of filling yourself up after a long day can be exhausting. That said, I’ve been spending more and more time focusing on the concept of filling myself up so that I can serve better and serve more. Let’s be honest, work can be incredibly draining. The 9:00-5:00 isn’t really only 9-5, and so many workplaces are building in the time for lunch, so you actually work a full 40 hours instead of 37.5 (let’s talk 8:00-5:00 or 9:00-6:00 instead if you get a full hour break midday). For those of us who commute, add an extra 30 minutes to an hour onto each end of that, and it’s no wonder that we’re depleted (sometimes even before the day begins simply at the monumental 11 hours in front of us, and that’s assuming we have no plans or evening meetings after work).
Yes, work can go quickly, particularly when I’m working on a project that is absolutely inspiring me. However, it’s still give give give. So many of us have been taught that we need to put others first, that making/taking time for ourselves is selfish or greedy. Truthfully, taking time for myself is what allows me to have more energy to do better and give more to others. This is where that thought comes in each day: What have I done today to fill my cup so that I am not drained later or tomorrow? Whatever you choose, remember it’s all, completely unapologetically, all about YOU.
I have three things that work for me that might work for you, too.
Do something small for yourself every day. Sure, you spend 24 hours a day with yourself, but did you do anything today to benefit you first? Small can be making tea in the morning or before bed, sitting quietly for 15 minutes as you enjoy it, and making yourself the top priority, or it can be treating yourself to breakfast on the way to work. Figure out what makes you smile and do that thing.
Work it out. I find exercise to be a great way to energize myself while also burning off any negativity I’m carrying. Go to yoga, take a walk at lunch with a coworker, or put on a workout video for 20 minutes at home. More into meditation? That’s great, too! We’re simply glad you’re taking time for you.
Make the whitespace. Say no. We talk a lot about boundary setting here at BizGalz, but I’m going to say it again. It’s. 👏 Okay. 👏 To. 👏 Say. 👏 No. 👏 For real. Boundaries are totally acceptable and it’s okay to have some nights in (if that’s your thing, although I know other people fill themselves up by being social butterflies). Be true to you. It’s 100% okay to say no and to keep some unscheduled time for yourself.
Whatever you do, whatever you choose, unapologetically make time for you. How will you fill yourself up today?
It’s no secret. I am a proud Mom. My tween is on the honor roll. She made the basketball team at a new school. She has this amazing philanthropic spirit. And most days, my daughter can tolerate hanging out with her YouTube-confused, middle-aged Mom.
After her birth, I was prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Teething. Potty training. Pre-algebra homework. But even in a modern society, I never imagined to be surrounded by road blocks – in and out of work.
We as women continue to battle obstacles most men rarely experience. These hurdles are not limited to the workplace. We have been raised in a culture where men are historically placed in a higher echelon.
However, not all of the blame lays with society. I recently attended an event where two female CEOs spoke about love and children and left the audience with no actionable lessons. They stereotypically walked right into the clichéd “working mom” trap.
Then there was the Dreamforce panel in which the moderator – a woman – ignored the successes of its female participants and proceeded to patronize them throughout the interview.
Being a working mom, I often am asked, “How do you do it? Isn’t it hard?”
Let me tell you what is hard. Work is. Parenting is. But you know what else is difficult? Pitching new business to a potential client. Drafting a blog post when you have the worst case of writer’s block. Driving through rush hour traffic to make a parent-teacher conference.
So my question is, “How do any of us do it?”
I have the same ambitions as my childless co-workers. And often our careers for all of us are the vehicles towards we achieve those goals. Yes, my family life undoubtedly will trickle into my work. I can leave work but I can never “leave” my family. But I also put in extra hours to hit a deadline. I will consider relocating my family if an opportunity arises. These are all choices any employee would have to make.
Parenting is rewarding. But so is my career. I have been fortunate. I have worked for organizations that are very family-friendly. But I never expect an advantage because I am a Mom. I want the same flexibility and considerations to be extended to my coworkers with no children. Juggling work-life balance is a struggle we all have – men, women, single,
married, parent or not.
I am committed to my job and pride myself in producing the best work I can. I want to succeed in my career, not for my daughter, not for society, but for me. Being a strong role model is simply an added perk.
So why must I prove myself as a working mother to others? If my employer is satisfied with my work, then shouldn’t you be too?
Work does not change my identity.
I am a Mom. I am a community manager. I am a friend. I am a volunteer. I am multifaceted. I am Monina Wagner.