From Guilty to Empowered: Overcoming the Guilt of Taking a Sick Day in Nonprofit Leadership
Last week, I came down with a nasty case of the Norovirus and yet...
How can I take time off?
My first thought was: I've just got to get through this, and then I can get to work.
My second thought was: I'll just pretend I'm OK. I won't let anyone know I'm sick.
My third thought was: Did you just think that?
Is that the kind of person I want to be when my body clearly tells me I should not be at my computer? I will pretend I'm OK and not let on that I'm about ready to fall over. Seriously? I can barely walk from room to room, and I can't stay awake for more than an hour, and I'm going to pretend I'm OK?
That realization quickly urged me to clear my day's schedule and let myself be sick! Sometimes it's "easy" to decide that. However, at other times, taking time off because you are sick isn't always such a clear choice.
👉 As leaders, we can't always take a sick day when were are not feeling our best. Sometimes you must work with a headache. Sadly, you can't always stay home when your menstrual cramps are killing you. And if we all took time off when we had the sniffles, work would never get done.
So how do you know when it's OK to take time off and when it's not?
1️⃣ First, you need to pause, stop and perhaps sit down.
2️⃣ Then with intention, ponder your dilemma. You won't make your best decision with unconscious thoughts whirling in your head.
Let's go through some considerations, and I'll provide you with questions you can mull over to help you make a decision you'll feel better about.
🤔 What kind of workplace culture are you creating?
The obvious question is, are you contagious? But we all know that even that won't stop many of us from working. Instead, we'll rationalize it to either I'm working at home, I'll keep my distance, or they've probably already been infected.
But what if you took that question a step further?
Does that change your perspective a wee bit?
What's the impact of your taking time off?
Leaders carry different responsibilities that often have a trickle-down or ripple-up effect. Your work, or lack of it, can impact others. And by work, I don't simply mean returning emails and attending meetings. But more so, it's your decision-making skills, problem-solving abilities, accountability responsibilities and resource delegation roles.
By taking sick time off, you may prevent things from happening, create a bottleneck or further complicate issues. Your absence could mean missed deadlines, loss of funding or risk of failing to meet contractual obligations.
All that is not to make you feel guilty. You already know this. That's why I say it. Worrying about this in the background only creates guilt and anxiety and may cause you to work when you really shouldn't.
So what to do? Again, I'll encourage you to pause. Stop and sit down without your laptop and phone for a few minutes, then ponder. Consider the following questions.
❓ Would my absence cause significant disruption to my team or clients?
❓ Have I ensured my team has the resources and support they need to continue working effectively in my absence, such as clear instructions, updated contact lists, and access to necessary technology?
❓Do I have any important deadlines or projects that could be impacted by taking a day off, and if so, have I made arrangements to mitigate any potential setbacks?
❓ Would my absence create excess workload, pressure or morale issues for my team or organization?
❓ What needs to be reorganized?
You're entitled to sick leave. Taking time off when unwell is not something to feel guilty about. The more intention you put into creating a plan for your absence, the easier it will be to let go and take care of yourself.
🤔 Are you risking burning out if you don't take care of yourself?
As a nonprofit leader, your work is incredibly important, and you're likely passionate about the cause you're working to advance. However, there are times when it's important to take a step back and prioritize your own well-being before it's too late!
What makes it so hard to make a choice to look after me?
If you are feeling unwell and you think taking a day off would help you recover more quickly, it may be worth taking a sick day. Taking care of yourself and getting the rest you need can help prevent your illness from worsening and help you feel better faster.
🤔 What about your family?
When illness hits, it often hits an entire household. So while you need to consider your work responsibilities, you must also consider what's happening at home. Gallup's research has found that members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work. That means when their families need them, they are passionate about being there for their families. You are a better leader when you do.
Ideas for using the questions:
While you probably aren't going to review this entire list every time you get sick, it is a place to come back to on occasion to ensure you are being your best self and, thus, the most positively impactful leader you can be.
As a nonprofit leader, your work is important, but so is your health and well-being. By using this framework to help you decide when to take a sick day and keep these reminders in mind, you'll be better equipped to care for yourself and continue making a difference in the world.
Staff recognition and appreciation are important. How important?
Well, let's say essential.
When staff recognition hits the mark (according to Gallup), employees are 73% less likely to "always" or "very often" feel burned out.
When staff recognition hits the mark (again, according to Gallup), employees are 56% less likely to be looking or watching for job opportunities.
For employee recognition to be effective, it has to land. In the stats above, Gallup said: When it hits the mark...
Sometimes, what we think of as good recognition, isn't landing in the way we intend it to.
Let me ask you...
I'm guessing you said yes to at least one of those, so you know what it feels like when recognition doesn't land. It doesn't feel so great.
So, how do you make your employee recognition stick? Let's look at 5 considerations that will help!
5 things that can make employee recognition land and feel good to the employee:
Timeliness: Recognize the employee after their achievement or contribution as soon as possible so they feel their efforts are valued and appreciated.
Hey Sarah, thanks for staying late and helping clean up. It's been a long day for all of us, and I appreciate the extra help!
Specificity: Be clear about the specific behaviour, action, or contribution you recognize the employee for, so they understand what they did well and can continue to do so in the future.
The way you handled that guardian was impressive, Lindsey. They were argumentative, and I noticed you kept your body posture open. You remained curious and asked lots of questions when it would have been easy to get defensive. As a result, I watched the situation settle down. It was impressive to see you apply the skills you learned in your conflict resolution course.
Sincerity: Be genuine in your recognition and communicate your appreciation in a way that feels authentic and heartfelt.
There is no example here, but genuineness isn't what you say. It's how you say it. It's a feeling, and you have to feel it before they will feel it!
Personalization: Tailor the recognition of the individual's preferences and needs to feel personalized and relevant to them.
I so appreciate everyone's contribution to the move of offices. It was a lot of work. So I wanted to give everyone a small token of thanks!
Sasha - Get yourself your favourite drink at Starbucks (gift certificate)
Beca - I know you are looking for the right thing to put on your office wall. I hope this will help you find that (Gift certificate to Homesense)
Ben - I know you used a lot of sticky notes labelling stuff getting moved. Make sure to head to Staples to grab some of your favourite coloured ones.
Follow-up: Follow up with the employee to reinforce the behaviour or contribution that was recognized and encourage continued success. You won't know if it landed if you don't ask.
Hey Saba, you put extra effort into that preparing for the review. I know I acknowledged that at the staff meeting. I'm curious, though, what's your preferred way to be recognized? Do you like it in public, or would you rather I mention it privately?
When staff recognition lands, it sticks. That stickiness makes it linger, feel good and keeps people engaged, around and more vibrant. I want to make sure you learn how to do that! So this month, I'll release a new course in The Training Library called Staff Recognition That Sticks.
In Staff Recognition That Sticks, I'll walk you through the employee recognition and engagement connection. It's essential to understand how vital frequent and genuine recognition impacts your employees' engagement.
You will also learn how to give timely, specific, sincere, personalized, effective, and sticky recognition and achievement. Finally, you'll discover how to create a culture of recognition where it becomes second nature for everyone to acknowledge and recognize each other.
If you've written down your nonprofit leadership goals, congratulations. Many never even get to that point. If you are one of the leaders determined to grow this year, you've also devised a plan to accomplish those goals. Now what? Now, you need to take action, and you need to keep taking action throughout the year!
But rather than steadily moving towards your goal, if you aren't careful, you'll join the 80% of people who abandon their goals by February.
What, then, is the trick to sticking to your goals? Instead of floundering, forgetting and failing - you successfully achieve your goals by reviewing them regularly.
Build a systematic review process
Positive thinking, believing you can achieve your goal, is the first step. However, positive thinking alone does not equal success. You actually have to do something!
Habitually reviewing where you are on your journey as you progress toward your goal will make you more successful. Being determined, even though adversity will always hit, is how you achieve your goals and become a strong leader.
Review your strategy for achieving your goals
The actions you take on the journey to achieve your goals make a difference. However, it's consistently taking action that is the hard part. In truth, many of the steps you need to take to achieve your goals won't be easy or enjoyable. That is precisely why many people don't achieve their goals. They stop when it gets tough or they come up against a barrier.
Remember that adversity strengthens you
Here is the thing, though, you NEED those roadblocks! The difficult parts are the essential parts. By going through the struggle, we learn, grow and become better versions of ourselves. It is during the challenges that we become better leaders. Therefore, getting through the trying segments of the journey is necessary for reaching the goal.
The truth is for you to get to the next step:
You need to learn something
You must increase skills in some area
You are required to come to a new awareness
This more difficult part of goal attainment is the portion that many of us resist but, sadly, it is also the part that will keep you stuck and unhappy.
Your plan keeps you moving
To keep moving forward when challenges hit, you must have a plan that includes
Your plan might incorporate coursework
You must keep reviewing your plan
Once your strategy is in place, you must regularly review that plan. That way, when you hit a roadblock, feel overwhelmed or want to quit, you can reconnect to your goal and strategies to get over the hump. In addition, reviewing your plan will remind you of what you can do if you feel overwhelmed, confused, apprehensive or stuck.
Make the review time effective
Create a habit of reviewing your goals to make the review time effective. The following steps give you a process for the weekly review of your goals and your strategic plan to achieve those goals:
The 10-minute framework for your weekly review
Each week, set aside 10 to 30 minutes to review your goals and the plan you have for achieving them. During this time, create the habit of doing the following:
1. Write out your goals
Don't just read them over. Rewrite them. Writing your goals down creates new pathways in your mind that activate the desire to achieve your goals. It keeps them alive and real.
2. Visualize achieving your goals
Close your eyes and imagine what it will be like when you reach your goal. Connect emotionally and viscerally to it. Feel the excitement, pride, and sense of accomplishment. Let your tummy get jumbly, and your heart swell and your eyes water.
3. Identify the overarching steps needed to achieve your goals
Remind yourself of the steps you identified in your strategic plan that you need to take to achieve your goal.
4. Visualize yourself moving through the steps
Close your eyes and see yourself navigating the steps you need to achieve goal attainment. As you do, notice challenges that may pop up and envision yourself overcoming them. Then, as you see yourself moving towards your goal, notice what it takes for you to progress through the difficult times. It may be your determination, increased patience or ongoing persistence.
5. Identify the next step you need to take
As you review your plan each week, identify what you need to work on to keep moving towards your goals.
Next, write that action step down.
Then, schedule it in your day timer and commit to doing it.
The ongoing review will help you achieve your goals!
To be a better version of yourself this year and, thus, a better leader, you need to set goals. Then, you must have a strategy and a plan for how you will achieve those goals. But from there, the next crucial step is regularly reviewing your goals and plans. Creating the habit of regularly reviewing your goals will help you be the best leader you can be.
If you want to make this year different, then you've likely set goals for yourself, and if you're serious, you've probably created a plan for how you will reach those goals. The Next Step? It's to measure your progress.
But how do you measure goals that seem immeasurable? 🤷♀️
These 3 tips can help you 👇🏻
Measure the use of the TOOL
Think about what you will use to help you reach your goal. Get clear on how you will use that tool. Then measure the usage of that tool. For example
GOAL: Be better able to focus on important but not urgent work
GOAL: To feel more confident in staff meetings
GOAL: To spend more time doing strategic thinking
Measure the HABIT you need to instill to help you reach your target.
If your goal this year is a more work-life balance, habitually leaving work on time will provide more balance. Therefore, you could measure how often you leave work at five o'clock.
To feel more confident in staff meetings, you'll need to be more intentional before going into staff meetings. Choosing how you will respond instead of reacting to a trigger needs to become a habit before meetings. Therefore, you'll measure how often you preplan how you'll manage your emotions during the meeting. Is it becoming a habit that you naturally do?
When you find yourself stuck on a problem, you've likely been trying to figure it out in a linear, analytical or in-the-box way. Instead, you may need to think more freely, creatively, or strategically. When you create the habit of scheduling "thinking" time into your week, you'll be on your way to finding more time to think. Count the times you do it. Has it become a weekly habit yet?
Measure the MILESTONES along the journey to the goal
Completion of goals takes time and often involves many steps. However, we feel more engaged in our goals when we can see progress along the way. Therefore, checking off each milestone along the way is a way to measure progress.
Did you pick which app you'll meditate with?
Did you find a journal or scribbler to write down your thoughts in?
Did you do your first walk to think, despite feeling guilty about all the work you were walking away from?
You can't manage what you don't measure says Peter Druker
You'll need to measure your progress regularly to help you achieve your goals this year. To help you do that...
Review this regularly, and you'll FEEL the difference!
No goals yet for this year? It's not too late
It is the third week in January already, and perhaps you are one of the ones who have yet to set your goals for the year. I have many clients in your shoes. They need to find the time to draft their goals but are struggling. But rest assured. It is not too late to set them. Now that the dust of the holidays has settled, you may be in a better place to do that.
Setting goals is essential to leading a nonprofit organization but also essential to the development of your capacity to lead. Yet, it can be challenging to find the time and focus on doing so amidst the busyness of day-to-day operations. Below you'll find easy strategies to help you develop goals that will build your competence and confidence as a leader this year.
You do need goals
First, let's get clear. You do need goals. As teleological beings, we perform at our best when we have targets to work towards. You know this if you say you do your best work at the last minute. A looming due date is a fabulous target to motivate most of us.
Without goals, you wander in circles
Without goals, we can quickly feel like we are just going through the motions and not making progress. Without targets, you are wandering aimlessly. That is why you may feel like you are just going in circles!
With goals, you are intentionally creating your leadership experience
Are you taking an active role in shaping your future? You are if you are intentionally creating life, days, your career and your personal life as you choose.
When you are intentional, you create your leadership and life experiences by reflecting, deciding, setting goals and planning, all before you take action.
The easy goal-setting method
Whenever anything comes to mind about your goals, jot it down on a sticky note or digital file. Your brain is always thinking, and you have ideas, awarenesses and ah-has. Those are important to capture.
Schedule time to review last year
As little time as 5 minutes will do. Begin by reviewing the past year and reflecting on your strengths, areas of growth, and accomplishment. Here are some prompts to get you started:
Create a future vision
Knowing where you are going will help you get there. It would help if you had that target to aim at. Craft a quick vision of what you want in your future by answering these questions:
If I have the "perfect" life, career and relationship:
EXTRA HELP: Most nonprofit leaders miss this step critical step when setting goals
Rough out your goals
Consider the steps you need to take this year to move closer to that vision. Draft 2-3 goals to help you achieve that vision. They don't need to be perfect, SMART or finalized. Draft is the important word here. You'll continue to refine them as you work on them. Just get something down on paper as a starting point.
Expand the goal into a plan
Once you have your goals, develop a plan to achieve them, including specific actions, practices, and training.
Consider what habits you need to develop to maintain your goals over the long term.
EXTRA HELP: Create your plan to ditch "Survival Mode"
An example of how it works:
Perhaps you imagined yourself as a courageous leader. You visualized how you are stronger, more assertive and more confident. You got a sense that as you grew, you could feel yourself doing tough things like addressing issues, setting boundaries and being true to yourself.
Your goal could be to increase your confidence level in your leadership role.
Your plan could include:
The bottom line
Taking the time to set goals and create a plan to achieve them intentionally can significantly impact the success of your leadership and personal life. By being intentional and self-reflective, you can progress toward your desired experience of blending life and career. Regardless of the time of year, it's always possible to start creating the future you want.
Creating goals for yourself allows you to find a different experience in life. Rather than letting your days unfold before you and reacting to whatever fire flares up, you need to design your experience of leadership and life. Creating a plan to go with your goals will make your life more enjoyable.
The Components of Effective Goals
As you design your goals for the coming year, include the following three components.
PART # 1 - The Outcome You Desire
First is the part of the goals that most people set. It is the outer part of the goal because they are outside of you. It often happens in the outside world that you can see or touch when you reach your goal. You can point to them and say I did that!
PART # 2 - The Internal Shift You Need to Make
The next part of the goal is the internal shift. To succeed at reaching your goal, you often need a change inside you. It is connected to your thoughts and emotions and often includes a degree of inner discipline.
Examples of internal shifts
PART # 3 - What habit do you need to cultivate?
The final part of a good plan to achieve your goals is clarifying the habits you'll need to cultivate to achieve your goals. The difference between a habit and a goal is:
Examples of habits
When you include all three components, you develop a well-rounded plan to work on and regularly review to ensure you are on track. Let's work through some examples to help make sense of how you can apply this in your nonprofit role.
Task-related goals examples:
Outcome – Complete a review of the policy manual.
Inner shift - A policy manual is not a thing. It's how we do our work.
Habit to cultivate – Have staff rotate a review of policies at each staff meeting, sharing examples of how they applied policy, reviewed the policy or identified the need for revisions,
Outcome – Create a new hire experience we follow each time we hire a new employee.
Inner shift - Shifting thoughts to: Our work is never done. We have to create systems to help us with cycles.
Habit to cultivate – Review the new employee routine every six months to see what's working and what we can improve on.
Individual Leadership Goals Examples:
Outcome – Leave the office at 5 pm daily
Internal Shift - Shifting my thoughts to "It's ok for me to leave at 5 pm," which will create an increased feeling of work-life balance
Habits to cultivate
Outcome – Develop An Attitude of Gratitude
If you are cultivating gratitude, you may think the goal is to write in a gratitude journal daily. That will help, but there are other things to do. For example, many people write down a list of things they are grateful for and wonder why it doesn't change their life.
The Inner Shift - To truly cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you need to slow the process down and connect emotionally with the thing you are recording. Gratitude is a feeling, not a doing. You FEEL grateful. You don't DO grateful. Therefore to achieve this goal, you need to understand what it feels like in your body when you are grateful and then "do" more to cultivate that feeling. That's an internal shift.
Habit to cultivate – Taking a deep breath after you've written your grateful statement, closing your eyes, reliving the situation you are thankful for, and feeling it in your body again.
For my members of The Training Library, you'll find a lesson and worksheet on gratitude here.
Outcome - Get better at setting boundaires
Learning to say no more often may be about setting boundaries with those around you regarding what you will and will not do. Often just setting limits creates more stress in a person's life. A true shift in setting boundaries is understanding why you have the urge to say yes in the first place. That's an internal shift.
The Inner Shift - Boundary setting requires self-discipline. You need to resist that urge to please everyone around you. To feel good about the boundaries you set requires you to change the inner dialogue that insists you "must" respond or:
The habit to cultivate - To be more comfortable setting boundaries, you may need to create a habit of self-reflection. Each week, take time first to write down the boundary you want to make. Then consider what thoughts come up when you set that limit and what beliefs and values play a role. That will help you begin to make the inner shift.
To create your highly successful goals this year:
You need to do more than write a goal statement down. As you set your goals for the year, think about the type of leader you want to be and the impact you want to have on your team, organization, and industry. Also, consider how you want to integrate work and life. Then create goals that will help you be that type of leader with the experience of leadership and life you desire.
Successful goal setting requires a plan
You will find success when you look at the goals you want to achieve as more than a statement. Take time to develop the outcome, the internal shift and the habits.
If you are like most nonprofit leaders, you hit the ground running this January.
It feels like we don't get to choose!
If you aren't careful, you'll default to spending this year chasing whatever falls onto your lap, your inbox or shows up at your door. But you can design your life this year rather than wait to see how it unfolds.
The problem is that too many women leaders in the nonprofit sector live in default mode. Whatever gets thrown at us, we take on. We are so mired in the tasks and meetings right in front of us we don't even see that we have a choice.
But you do have a choice
You can design your leadership and life experience with some planning, and you are worth the time it will take! Trust me!
Your indecision will leave you in default mode
If you don't plan, you live in default mode. Defaulting to others, lack of time, or the expectations set for you, means you don't decide. Your indecision means you give up the ability to create your days and how you want them to be.
Put together day after day of defaulting to the world, and this is what you will find:
I felt like I was a victim of my circumstances
I look back in my journals and see when I was in default mode. It's easy to tell. It was when I felt I was the victim. I blamed my mess of a life on others, the job, the sector, society and life in general. I gave up control.
Women fit their life around everyone else
In default mode, women wait to see what everyone else around them does. Then women try to fit their needs, wants, wishes and dreams into the tiny cracks in the middle. That is, if there are any cracks to be found. Unfortunately, most of us are so busy taking care of the things that need doing that we don't make time for ourselves.
Are you letting everyone else decide your life?
The problem is if you keep going down that path, you will never find what you want. If you don't set goals for yourself, someone else will set them for you. Your organization and your boss or board probably have goals set for you. I bet someone else has decided what you will do at work and in your personal life. You follow the beat of the drums around you. It's time to find your own beat!
Don't get me wrong, your organization should have goals, and in addition to those goals, you should design your own personal goals for your career and your life.
Stop letting everyone else decide. Create your vision
Designing your life means you step back and determine how you want to experience it. It means you choose what you want and then make that happen. That starts with deciding on a vision and then developing goals to reach that vision.
Take back your power by making choices
In design mode, you take back control. You take back your power and make choices. You become responsible for the choices and the outcomes of your life. When you do that, you ensure there are time, resources and motivation to reach your goals and dreams, whatever those are.
I gained my power back
I can also see in my journals where I took the time to set goals and the shifts it made in my moods and my day-to-day experiences.
Prepare to design your life:
Live life in design mode
Make a choice. Decide to take back control of your life. Start by taking control of your agenda and setting aside time to plan. You'll be glad you did!
As a nonprofit leader, when was the last time you planned how you wanted to feel? That is a crazy notion, isn't it? However, if you consider how you want to feel and attach goals to those feelings you desire, you will find that you have a way different year ahead of you!
Start by looking over the past year for lessons
In this post, I encouraged you to look back over the past year for the lessons you learned. Pausing and then pondering how things turned out in different situations allows you to collect ideas for what you want to do differently in the future.
If you want different results, then you need to do something else. The strategic review of the past year in this post will help you highlight areas of your life that you want to change.
Next, look ahead to choose your feelings
Now that you have taken a look back, it's time to pivot and look forward. The backward review and peering into the future are part of laying a solid foundation before setting goals for the new year.
As you inspect what might unfold in the new year, I want you to consider how you want to feel. Instead of starting by thinking about what you want to achieve or what you are hoping to accomplish, I want you to think about your feelings first.
It may be helpful to note what you DON'T want
Looking at the past year, you can identify what you don't want, and it's an excellent place to start. If you are like most women leading in the nonprofit sector, you know what you don't want:
Then, it's time to shift
But if not that, then what? That's the easy part. We complain, grumble and moan about what we don't want. However, continuing that cycle of what you don't want in your head keeps you stuck on the negative. Instead, it would be best if you look for something different.
Consider the experience you DO want
Consider for a moment what feelings and experiences you want in the coming year. Here are some examples of what feelings you may be looking for:
Hold off on developing goals
If your mind keeps going to goals, step back from them for a bit. Setting goals are important, and we will get there. But the goal is only part of the picture. When we only identify the target, we miss the importance of attaining that.
When you ask yourself what you want to accomplish a goal or achieve, it's about the feeling you will get as a result of completing it.
It matters because it's doing or achieving something that will produce a certain feeling. So it's that feeling that I want you to focus on now.
Here are some examples
A goal that so many identify each year is to become healthier. So what difference does it make if you lose weight or change your eating habits?
Imagine that you want to do something different at work, return to school, apply for a new position or start a new project. Consider that outcome for a moment and think about what the feeling is that you are longing for.
Changing jobs will make you feel what?
Where do you already feel that?
The second part of this exercise is to consider the list of feelings you've identified. Then, look at where you experienced those feelings now.
Combine the lessons learned and feelings desired
Pulling these two concepts together (lessons + feelings) looks like this:
Looking back and then ahead
When you pull out lessons learned and pair them with the desired feelings you have for the future, you are in a great place to set goals for the future.
First, take the time to let these two ideas sit with you in the next few days.
Then, come back to them a few times. Journal some thoughts about them. Talk to others in your life about it as well. Slowing down to get a handle on your life intentionally will put you back in the driver's seat.
Finally, you'll be able to create goals that help you create your future rather than just watch it unfold!
Complete your Annual Analysis
Learn more about completing your Annual Analysis here
As the busyness of the season ramps up, you not only have gifts to buy, baking to do and decorating to complete, but you also have all of that stuff at your programs too!
PROBLEM: Survival mode
If you aren't careful, you'll end up in survival mode.
Survival mode can show up in your body too...It shows up as...
✏️ Surviving to Thriving Continuum GUIDE: If you are curious about where you land on the Surviving to Thriving continuum, grab this guide
You need to take care of yourself; yes, you have time!
To fend off burnout this holiday season, you must take care of yourself throughout the day. To do that, you need to manage your energy.
We can't change how many hours are in a day, but we can manage our energy because it's often our energy drained.
Four energy pots are described in The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance. Of course, for optimal performance, these energy pots would be full. But that may not be a realistic option for you right now. But can you add a bit to one of them to get you through the day and the season?
This is a short-term strategy.
It's a temporary fix until you have time for a deeper charge. But it will keep you from falling apart, burning out and resenting Christmas.
Take time to consider each pot of energy and how full or empty it is. Then... consider how to put something back into it, in a little
5 minutes self-care strategy
Take a look at each area and ask yourself
Physical energy is the foundation of wellness. It includes everything from how you eat, move and sleep.
If this pot is drained, try one of these things to put a bit of energy back into this pot
Emotional energy is about how you are feeling. So it's your emotions and your moods.
If this pot is feeling drained or the emotions are about to boil over, try one of these to put things back in balance.
Yes, these should probably be somewhere private, but they can be done in short bits of time to take the edge off. Go to the bathroom and literally shake your arms and butt, shaking off the icky feelings. Put headphones in and crank up a song that shifts your mood. Sit in your car and let yourself cry for a moment.
Mental energy is about your ability to focus your thoughts.
If this pot is drained and you are having trouble focusing or getting things done, try one of these suggestions to bring back some mental clarity.
Spiritual energy is your connection to something bigger than yourself, your purpose and alignment with your values.
If this pot is drained and you feel a loss of meaning in the season, your work or your life, try one of these suggestions to put things back in perspective.
The 5 min holiday self-care strategy for the busy nonprofit leader at Christmas
Take a look at each area and ask yourself
Ditch "Christmas Failure Syndrome" --> How to fall in love with Christmas again
Find Your Christmas Joy Returning
Several years ago, I was crying at the beginning of December because it was time to write my Christmas newsletter, and I couldn't find it in me to do it. Try as I might, I couldn't get into it. I was already feeling the Christmas Blues start to wash over me. That just made it 10 times worse.
Have you felt you've been "failing" at Christmas?
Keep reading to switch that feeling up fast!
Have you felt you've been "failing" at Christmas?
I'd sent out my letter the week after Christmas the year before. I didn't want to do that again. I felt like I was "failing at Christmas." Maybe you've felt you've been failing at Christmas too!
When I feel that sense of failure or inadequacy hit me, I turn to self-reflection. What the heck is going on Kathy?
This is how I deal with the "ugh" feelingsI did what I always do when I'm struggling and can't find a way out. I journaled about it. Not just once but for several days. After deep soul searching, I finally gave myself permission to stop writing a Christmas letter. What a relief!
That decision took a huge weight off of my shoulders! Following that, I made a few other decisions:
It took away my Christmas blues!
Since that first decision and subsequent others, I've found that Christmas feels less heavy, in fact, maybe not heavy at all...perhaps even joyous!
I don't know if you can read between the lines or perhaps are seeing some parallels in your life, but more than finding "the meaning of Christmas," I found my values.
I was wrong about my top value
I used to think family was my top value. It's not.
So what has?
Values are not just words...they have meaning
Let me back up a minute and tell you about values. We often think of values as words.
An example of how you might define your values
Let's look at security for a minute:
Can you explain what your values mean to you?
Back to my story!
My top value:
As I've explored my values over the last few years, I've realized that my top value is not family, as I indicated earlier, although I was sure it was! Instead, my top value is excellence.
Here's the thing, when I was trying to "do it all" I was excelling at nothing!
What this means for you
As you finish this year off and begin next year, I encourage you to do the work of exploring your values. Not 3 words on a paper, but paragraphs and bullet points and lists. This exploration needs to include feelings and body sensations. When do you know that you are out of alignment with your values and what actions or inactions will bring you back?
When you do this work, you'll spend more of your life living from your values and feeling the inner peace and joy from knowing you honour what is truly important to you!
This course helps you verify your values
If you want help doing the work of defining your values, try the Values Verification course which is part of my membership site, The Training Library.
When you join The Training Library, you will get the leadership training you need when you need it.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.