We are just past the middle of January – a month that is heavily-laden with lots of expectations that we do a review of our year - a look back that can maybe involve us confronting some difficult times and issues. And, having completed this analysis, there is the expectation to craft a new vision of who we will become in the 12 months ahead of us, meaning more work of course.
All of this traditional self-analysis and self-work comes straight after the hectic, and often fraught, festive ‘holiday’ period and, certainly in the northern hemisphere, when the weather it is at is most grey, dark, wet and freezing. The nights are still long, the days so short!
I am wondering if it is the right time of year to do anything of a massive endeavour!
I know just how tiring I find the festive period – even though I greatly enjoy all the parties, family, a chance for conversation and the bright lights of it. In the fallow days of January, my energy levels are usually pretty low.
Now, I am used to fighting through my body’s pain, having suffered a ski-accident and serious back and mobility issues since, having to learn to walk twice as an adult. But perhaps it is because I am so used to pushing through that I find myself getting into trouble at this time of year! I drive myself too hard, I stay up too late, I spend too much time constructing lists of “must do’s” and “want to achieve” and underneath all of this busy-ness, I feel myself drifting. I find myself without answers to issues that would not normally tax me, I find my error-rate increasing and my creativity waning.
So, what to do about this?
The answer may be obvious – I need to take a break, one that is done for the purity of having a rest (rather than the distractions of Christmas festivities that don’t provide rest, just a different type of work).
But! I have got to tell you - as a self-proclaimed workaholic, it can be really difficult for me to accept this!
I have written a lot about my own workaholism in the past, and I deal with it in my latest programmes, Thrive Together Tribe and the CIPD Accredited, Enlightened Leadership Programme, too. I write about it and know the best of the theories and even I struggle with the reality of actually *doing* it!
So, for all the tired and flagging leaders out there – myself included – I would like you to think about finding ways to treat the rest of the month of January as a semi-hibernation month. You’re probably not going to actually go away on holiday at this last moment (but hey, if you can, then why not do that!) and you probably won’t be able to get away from your work commitments wholly… but I challenge you to make the rest of January a month that is focussed upon restoration, of how you can create times of sustaining dormancy that will allow you to collect energy and prepare yourself. In creating this time, space and behaviour I believe that it will allow me to retain for myself a level of energy that means I feel good, rested, in control, I am even-tempered and have enough resources to be there meaningfully for others in my life.
In honour of this message, the rest of my day is going to be spent with a good friend enjoying conversation that doesn’t have ‘action-points’ attached to it. We will enjoy good food and laugh lots.
Resting is just as important as working. Build regular, pure rest, into your routine (Gina exists stage left, repeating this phrase over and over to herself!)
Enjoy your weekend!
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