Monday, December 24, 2007

JWN: Recharge the Batteries

Recharge the Batteries

I'm a pretty social person. I like to mix and mingle with the best of them and I do it a lot. But, this past week has had me thinking about an equally important matter; down time. Sometimes you've got to step away from everything and just recharge the batteries.

I finished school last week. It was a serious relief having traveled much of the semester all over the shop; internationally to Ghana and across the northern United States for cross country meets and other functions. If you're wondering what my GPA is, I'm not going to tell you. We'll just say missing a quarter of my classes throughout the semester didn't help. But, I wouldn't change a thing.

What this past week has had me thinking about though, is the importance of taking a little time for yourself. We live in a busy world; especially during this time of the year.

People are running around frantically, buying gifts, sending cards, getting those last hours in at work to wrap up those projects before the start of the New Year. But, I made a conscious effort in the last week to get away from it all and just relax. That's what this time of year is supposed to be about, right?

Ben and I operate in fifth gear most of the time. In fact, he is still hammering because he's doing an internship at a world class company, Blue Tie, Inc. for about 20 days before he heads to Washington DC. That's why I admire him, respect him, and most importantly, enjoy working with him on a weekly basis. We've got big plans and we continuously learn from each other every step of the way.

Earlier this week though, while he was frantically whirling back and forth from Fairport to Henrietta to Geneseo, I stopped him to remind him about the importance of taking a step back. His ADD usually has him all over the place while I like to take a little more time to reflect.

It's easy to get caught up in the pace of life. We are constantly pulled in all directions, all the time. Some of us, like me, take pleasure in that. But, in order to be effective at all of your pursuits, sometimes you have to get away from it completely. That's why companies have vacation time. They understand that people need some balance in their life. I'm not one to define an "impossibility" because I don't like the word, but I will say that it is difficult to maintain the frantic pace of life 365 days a year.

What's my advice then? Get away from it. Go sit down by yourself or with the people you love and recharge. Freshen up. Here are some things you can try:

Watch a movie. I've watched three in the last week. It's been incredible. I usually don't watch TV at all, but I made a choice to sit down and catch a few flicks I wanted to see. For those of you scoring at home I watched The Bourne Ultimatum, Breach, and Along Came Polly. Action flicks, films that make you think, and comedies; that's how I roll.

Read a book YOU want to read. I'm a big reader so my downtime almost always includes a good read. Currently I'm digging through The Secret Handshake: Mastering the Politics of the Business Inner Circle by Dr. Kathleen Reardon. Organizational politics has always interested me. We humans do funny things.

Have a conversation with an old friend or family member. They are always great. Talk about old times or future goals. Let it flow.

Don't think about work. It's time will come. For now, focus on you and what you need to feel good about yourself. You'll know when you're ready to think about work again. Remember though, work should be fun. If it's not, rethink your career path. Find a way to get paid for what you're passionate about.

Work out. Your physical health is a key component to maintaining your mental health. They work together so don't neglect either one.

LAUGH. Probably the most important part and my favorite part of the recovery process. Laughing is like your battery charger. Unlike your elusive cell phone charger though, don't ever lose this one. It heals the soul.

I've tried to do more of these six things since my semester ended and it feels good. I urge you to give it a try in this holiday season. Most of you will probably have a little time away from your jobs so take advantage of it. Recharge the batteries.

I'll close with a catchy line Ben's aunt and VIP enthusiast Joni Daniels likes to say:

"Plug in and power up," ~JWN

P.S. Joni is a personal and professional development consultant and the author of Power Tools for Women. Check out her website!