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The Weight of Overwork
Practicing self-care saved me.
I was way overworked. My commute to/from Boston was a 3+ hour daily nightmare. I didn’t know how to unwind at the end of the day and ended up with a wicked case of insomnia that needed medication to help me sleep. When I noticed that many social events I attended were wine-fueled and unhealthy, I realized I needed to change. I also noticed I was exhausted and not happy.
The Shift Within
It wasn’t until I began to take stock of my life that I saw worsening burnout and a dark pit of despair hurtling toward me. I finally stopped the overwork at work and put some of that attention on myself.
It changed everything.
I showed up differently. I managed my relationships differently, especially with my team, but more importantly, with my family and friends. I managed my stress better and realized that I like wine but am not much of a drinker. I began an imperfect yoga and meditation practice. I got outside and put my feet on the earth, and breathed.
At work, I thrived on delegating because I realized that sharing the joys and burdens of work was beneficial to me, but especially to my team. That is how I could help them grow and engage their interest in the work. I stepped out of my own way of “do-do-do.”
Beyond the Comfort Zone
I also began going on adventures to test and enlighten myself while stepping outside my comfort zone and redefined how I showed up as a leader at work and home. Leadership is not just an occupation. It is a way of showing up in all areas of your life. Personal mastery is identifying and then living & working towards your vision and values, purposefully learning about yourself and your reality—every day.
Is it easy? Nope.
But defining who you are as a leader of your life and how you understand and master yourself is part of life’s process that is often ignored (until burnout and anxiety stop you in your tracks), but it can be the ‘work’ each of us needs to live the life we often yearn for.
A Broader Perspective
What I see in the clients I work with and the people I know is that self-care is desired but feels like a chore on top of the other tasks to be accomplished. Self-care is yearned for but crammed into weekends and vacations, often leaving more yearning and frustration that life is unbalanced.
Self-care is not “new age-y nonsense” of unnecessary actions that can wait until tomorrow. It’s real and a requirement for each human being in whatever manner they need to tend to their well-being. Self-care is a reminder that tomorrow may never come, and your regrets may grow like untended weeds.
Have you experienced the transformative power of self-care in your own life? If so, how has it changed your perspective on leadership and overall well-being?
DEBORAH BLAKE DEMPSEY, MS, ACC, is the CEO and Founder of Human Being Human, LLC. As a Life Strategist specializing in Leadership & Personal Mastery, Deborah offers over 25 years of rich leadership and life experience. She has held pivotal roles in strategic, financial, and operational domains. An accomplished writer and speaker, Deborah authored “The Hoppernots,” a poignant tale showcasing unity, resilience, community, and finding one’s purpose within a vibrant ecosystem. Central to her ethos, she offers a fresh perspective on cultivating the empowerment of individuals to discover their distinctive voices, overcome invisibility, and harness the confidence to achieve their objectives. She prioritizes accountability, offering personalized support, enabling clients to define their aspirations and take assertive steps toward their goals. An advocate for self-exploration, Deborah embodies self-awareness and personal mastery, understanding her role in our multifaceted world. She exhibits a keen interest in aiding those grappling with self-confidence, professional identity, burnout, or those on a journey of self-redefinition. Her dedication is mirrored in her endeavors to redefine self and professional growth. An ICF-certified coach, she holds an MS in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. https://humanbeinghumanllc.com/