Please excuse the Star Trek reference. I couldn’t resist, seeing as that I am unfortunately a bit of a Star Trek fan.
My nerdy pastime viewing aside, I want to discuss ‘space’ first and foremost this week. There is no shame in taking space from people, from work, from whatever you need space from. No, I’m not saying just strut off from your responsibilities, but be mindful of what you need and avoid burning out.
So, what am I on about, specifically? Well, for example, on the smaller side of things, I was able to book Friday off work. I knew I was closing in on burn out (my Mother would argue I take too much on at a time, I don’t think I have enough discipline and could take on more!) so I booked Friday off. I have the benefit of working for an amazing office who believe in work/life balance and when I explained that I was feeling frazzled, I was allowed to take a day’s leave (I had no urgent work or meetings on, I will point out!). I needed it as I no longer will allow myself to get to a point of misery before helping myself or changing a bad habit. I still did some chores around the house and a bit of studying, but it was an ‘easy’ self-care day for me.
If you’re not able to take a day off – what do you do? Try and set aside some time, whatever you can, a day, half a day or even half an hour, where you can do something for you. Have a cup of tea whilst watching RuPaul, dance to some music, meditate, write, water your plants, just do something that is caring to you to stop you burning out. I know this is easy for me to say as I don’t have children, in which case I’d suggest talking to your spouse, or a trusted person, to take the kids for half an hour if possible so you can do something for you. You can always return the favour. (I’m talking if your self-care routine doesn’t include the kiddies of course).
The other reason I wanted to bring up space is a slightly bigger topic – taking space from people. I’m not referring to all of the people – I know we all have times where we want to stop the world and get off – but just certain people in your life. I have taken some time away from a couple of friends over the last year, when I or both of us were struggling with our individual mental health problems and we were just ‘not working’ at that particular time. There’s no shame in it. Whether it’s someone you’ve known for years or only months, sometimes you have to ‘recoup and regroup’, as I call it. After taking time from these people, I have since reconnected with them and we are all in a much better place, and these relationships are now thriving.
I will put in a disclaimer. If someone is an ‘energy vampire’ and you get nothing out of spending time with them, they make your mental health worse and the thought of seeing them is a chore, then just get rid. You don’t have to have anyone in your life you do not want. But, if you care and/or love someone but you happen to be working against each other at that particular time, it’s not a bad move to take a couple of months to recoup. Work on yourselves individually. Do what you need to do and as and when you’re both in better places, regroup. You may find it was what you both needed to find your self-love and the love you have for each other, be it platonic or romantic. There’s ‘that person’ I still miss but not having engaged for the last couple of months has done me wonders, it was the right move, (perhaps not done in the right way!) whether we regroup or not. As for the friends I have regrouped with, as I said, it was exactly what was needed – a reboot in the relationships and I couldn’t be happier.
When I say about space, what I did was not hang out with the respective people and only touched base every now and then – you may find you need to switch off completely, it’s up to you and what you feel is needed for you and for them. Sometimes it’s hard, we all miss people but, as is the classic amongst ICT teams (I can say this, I was in one for a year!) you just need to switch off and switch on again for everything to become clearer and work more smoothly.