When was the last time you took time off?
Sometime in June my bosses informed me that I would be taking a week off. A week that I didn’t realize I was desperate for.
At first I panicked. What had I done wrong?
And then I realized that they were just being great bosses and human beings.
That’s the cool thing about working for a small business. We know each other. And they saw the bigger picture that I didn’t. And that was that other than taking a handful of half days for things like car repair or the unfortunate funeral, I hadn’t taken time off since April of 2018. And if you’re reading this in the future, I’m currently writing this in August of 2019.
Let’s just say that they were right. I NEEDED it.
A few weeks ago, the lot of us took the Enneagram test. It’s a personality test and a few of us, myself included, are Twos. We are “The Helpers”.
It’s incredibly fitting for the work we do. Here’s why:
“Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in helping professions.”
But don’t worry, as a Two I am not all sunshine and rainbows. Here’s the downside:
“Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion, and emotional volatility.”
On top of this I was training for my first individual competition, a thing that had intimidated and terrified me for years. I was training harder than ever and working hard too. Physical burnout? Check. Emotional exhaustion? Check. Emotional volatility? TRIPLE CHECK.
I was getting work done, I was working out, but when I tell you I had nothing left in the tank for myself at the end of the day, I tell you there was not a damn thing. I was regularly frustrated leaving work because of a general feeling of being exhausted and yet wy sleep was disrupted due to anxiety and no matter how much CBD I had before bedtime, I was wired.
One thing that I love as a coach is that I get to leave my own problems at the door and throw myself into the class I am coaching. And 99 times out of 100, at the end of the hour, I feel so much better about whatever was troubling me before because I was invested in what I was doing fully. I was re-energized and ready to tackle things head on. But I realized that I was starting to coach and no matter what energy I tried to muster, I felt like I had been hit by a bus.
So let’s start to bring this together with one more thing it says about Twos:
“Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced, and centered in themselves.”
Ding! Ding! Ding!
This all finally clicked. I’m not saying there won’t be times in the future where I need a friendly reminder to focus on myself, but for the first time ever I took time off, didn’t do anything of note and didn’t feel guilty.
I ate bagels every morning and drank coffee in my pajamas. I watched a lot of Golden Girls the first day (OK, TWO days). I worked out when I wanted and for how long I wanted. I had a mid week margarita. AND IT’S ALL OK.
I didn’t get any less fit because I took time off and ate bagels. I didn’t become a worse employee for being out of the loop for a week. I didn’t become a bad friend by only doing the things I wanted this week.
And guess what? I guarantee my body and mind will responded in the best way when I got back into my routine because of the lack of stress.
Basically this was my long-winded way of telling you that even though I say it all the time, I finally understand the value of taking a break. It doesn’t matter how much you work, how fit you are, or how stellar your diet it if your stress levels are through the roof. Eventually your body will try to protect itself and you will begin to feel like you’re backsliding. You can’t support others or encourage them to be their own biggest advocate if you do not do the same for yourself.
Take a deep breath. Don’t let 18 months go by without a break, plan your time off. Surround yourself with good people. Kick ass at the things that matter when you get back.
Want to hear more about the Ennegram test? Head HERE!
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