This quote is from Sophia Kinsella's great book "The Undomestic Goddess." The main character, a 20something woman is a lawyer. Not surprised?
This quote cracked me up -- I could just picture her stumbling around in the dark, totally on edge, and not feeling any more relaxed when she woke up than when she went to bed.
I laughed because I understand how she feels. Because I used to be like that.
It feels like another lifetime ago now. Surprisingly, it was not while living in NYC, but Boston.
I worked average 11 hour days, 7 days a week. All my customers had the direct line to my cell phone. I started dreading my phone's ringtone. After I left that job, I had to change it because it would bring me right back to that traumatic time every time I heard it.
What was the job you ask?
I was a real estate agent.
Not that big a deal right? What people outside of the industry often don't realize is, you are paid only --- ONLY -- by commission. So all the time you're doing marketing, advertising, driving people around just browsing at apartments, 'just looking,' it's all for free! It wouldn't be nearly so bad, if people actually stayed with you. But of course, they had no loyalty whatsoever. It wasn't in their interest to be. Every agent had different properties. The whole system was --is-- totally irrational. I assume it hasn't changed, if anything it's probably gotten worse.
What made it even worse was the competitive, aggressive atmosphere. No one was anyone's friend in the office. We were all out for our piece of the pie. My coworkers were all 20something year old males. They all seemed to enjoy being pushy with customers and fine with putting in 80+ hour weeks. Whereas it made me miserable.
I was so stressed and exhausted, I ultimately got into a car accident. It was quite minor, but it was totally unnecessary, terrifying, and only because I totally spaced out on the road since I was so mentally drained. I was like a wet towel that had been squeezed, and squeezed, and squeezed. There was nothing in me left.
That insane kind of work lifestyle is so unhealthy. Stress is not just mental. Its emotional, physical, physiological. It spreads through our whole body and well-being like a virus. We aren't robots; we don't have compartments separating our bodies from our mood from our spirit from our emotions.
That's why I wholeheartedly believe in Eastern medicine and its emphasis on our beings as a whole. When you are unhappy, it is in your physical body too. Sometimes if you close your eyes, you can feel where it is.
I want to challenge you today.
What if you slowed down on one aspect in your life?
What is one way you could slow down with your work life?
You can still work hard while you’re at work. But what if you didn’t check email in the evening? And just got to work a few moments early to catch up?
Would everyone die? Are you that important?
I don't mean to sound harsh, but a veteran coworker reminded me something similar at my last job. I was making preparations for going out on vacation and wanted everything to be perfect. She reminded me that I didn't actually have a life-or-death role and when our bosses were out, no one sat in for them. The company would go on even while I was out.
I get it, work life separation is really hard for people. Amanda from MyLifeIGuess blog in northern Ontario actually talks about going on stress leave --- and how stressed she was trying to decide if she should!
She had so many comments from that post, it's obvious that so many people experience debilitating stress and often depression from a high workload at their jobs. So, you are not alone in this. It is not a personal failing.
Ideally, it' be best to slow down before we need something as drastic as stress leave. What if you set up some boundaries for yourself for when you will check your work email on the weekend, if at all?Only on Sunday night from 8-8:30pm for example.
I understand every work situation is different, and you need to decide for yourself what makes sense in your situation. You may be experiencing layoffs or high target goals at your company. But just as an experiment try inserting a small boundary this week, and see how you feel. No one else need even to know! (By the way, this is a great topic to JOURNAL on.)
Here's to your mental, emotional, physiological and physical health!
Speaking of slowing down, and recharging our spirits, I'm very excited to announce our Women's Self-Care Virtual Retreat is coming up on
Sunday, December 3, 2017!
Tickets are on sale now!
RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW before prices go up.
I hope to see YOU there! Find out more details here.