It happened again this morning in my first conversation with a client. He said, “Happy Friday.” How often do you hear this greeting on Fridays? How often do you find yourself saying it? Have you ever wondered―like I do―“why is that?”
It seems as though I’m hearing this more frequently, especially in the last year. I’ve asked clients, “tell me why it’s Happy Friday for you,” and the response offers two common themes: “I can’t wait till the weekend” or “I’m exhausted.” Perhaps a combination of the two?
Excitement for the weekend is understandable, especially pre-COVID-19, as it involves other aspects of our lives, namely family and outside interests that we look forward to participating in. Even during quarantine, most of us are involved with virtual weekend events for ourselves and families.
And yet, the comment of “I’m exhausted” still rings true for many of us even in a virtual environment. The work pace we have performed at in the last year continues to outpace our energy level, even for the most energetic of us. Now, in addition to demanding work roles and deliverables, there is home schooling, elder & childcare concerns, safety considerations, boundary blurriness, partners working in close proximity…the list goes on.
When we’re running this hard continually and not practicing self-care, what is the impact of our decision making, judgement and communication skills? Where has think time gone and is it valued? When do we become creative and innovative? Is “tweaking the process” now considered a creative endeavor? And, more importantly, what’s the cost to ourselves, relationships, our roles and the organizations we serve?
In an effort to manage our much-needed energy, or possibly preserve think time, there are countless articles on this very topic with specific suggestions, including the foundational basics of sleep and good nutrition. One client leaves her (home) office for lunch; another walks outside for 20 minutes – the value of a change of scenery is not to be minimized. One friend disconnects from his phone in 10-minute increments and yet another attends 15-minute virtual fitness classes three times a week. Scheduling rejuvenation time on your calendar is akin to putting the oxygen mask on yourself first – it allows you to be there for others.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The simple things are often the hardest to do. Make the commitment to yourself to start simple. Start with one thing. One simple thing. Just start.
Lauri Ann Plante, MSOD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Vice President, Client Relations