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Winding down - while still winding up

"As the year comes to a close, we tend to look forward to the stillness and tranquility that comes with winding down. It is in these moments of reflection and rest that we find the strength to begin anew."


Towards the end of last week, I was seriously questioning whether I was going crazy.

At this time of year, my workload is usually easing. Most of my programs have ended for the year and It's common for a number of my clients to pull back on therapy creating a lot more space in my calendar.

Also, after our annual Redefining Ageing event, my Silver Sirens commitment is usually minimal, and my time is spent on housekeeping and administration.

Not so this year! Since early October my team and I have been working on the Redefining Ageing Satellite events, preparing for the soft launch of the Perth event next week. We've set up the Steering Committees for Perth, Coffs Harbour, Queensland, and South Australia and are exploring venues, speakers, and sponsors for all those regions. This is work I usually do in January/February.

Also, since early November, I have a social event every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until the end of the year.

I know that this is a wonderful problem to have as all the events are actually things I want to attend. From one of our siren's 60th birthday to a networking event with Women In Media. As well as the end-of-year lunches with the 2023 Redefining Ageing Committee and the Event team.

All of them offer a great opportunity for connection and social bonding.

However, the intensity was beginning to take a toll on me, and with four more weeks to go, I knew I had to take the matter into my own hands and be intentional about taking care of my well-being.

Finding a balance between the physical need to wind down while fulfilling increasing social and work obligations can be challenging, but it's essential for our well-being.

Here are some things I am embracing to help me navigate this situation:

1. I've had to prioritise self-care: Make self-care activities a non-negotiable part of your routine. Schedule these activities in your calendar and treat them as important commitments. I spend the first two hours of the day on self-care which allows me to fill my own cup before tending to my clients and other work commitments.

2. Setting boundaries is crucial: Learn to say no when necessary. Assess your social and work obligations and determine which ones are essential and which ones you can skip or reschedule. Communicate your boundaries politely but firmly, explaining that you need some time for yourself to recharge.

My Psychotherapy supervisor reminds me of the need to model healthy behaviors for my clients and those around me, which relieves any guilty feelings I may have.

3. Plan downtime: This is my favourite. Schedule specific periods of downtime in your calendar. This could be a weekend, or an evening dedicated solely to rest and relaxation. Use this time to disconnect from social obligations and focus on rejuvenating yourself. I've also begun factoring in half an hour in the middle of the day to put on the TV and watch something mindless to reset my nervous system.

4. Delegate and ask for help: If possible, delegate some of your responsibilities or ask for help. Reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members who can help you with tasks or events, allowing you to have more time for yourself.

I feel really blessed in this area as my current team is the strongest to date and I can confidently delegate more work to them.

5. Communicate openly: If you're feeling overwhelmed, communicate your needs and feelings to your colleagues and loved ones. Explain that you require some downtime to recharge and that it's not a reflection of your lack of interest. Most people will understand and respect your boundaries.

6. Practice time management: Manage your time to ensure you have enough space for both social and work obligations and winding down. Prioritise your tasks, eliminate time-wasting activities, and create a schedule that allows for a healthy balance between socialising and self-care.

7. Be selective with social engagements: Choose social events that align with your interests and values. Prioritise quality over quantity, focusing on meaningful connections rather than attending every gathering. This way, you can balance work commitment while enjoying socialising without feeling overwhelmed.

If I am to continue to do my job well, and show up for my clients and community, I have no choice but to take care of myself and prioritise my well-being.

By finding a balance between winding down and fulfilling work and social obligations, you can enter the new year feeling refreshed and ready to embrace new opportunities.

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