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NORTHERN BYTES

 

Inside This Issue:

  • learn about the importance of self-care 
  • techniques to help manage stress & prevent burnout 
  • 3 principles to make the best use of our time
  • why it's important to have a positive attitude

The Importance of Self-Care & a Work-Life Balance

Self-care is defined literally as "care of oneself".  It is so important because we can't be of service to anyone else if we don't take care of ourselves first.  It's like when you are on an airplane, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else put theirs on.

It can be especially difficult when working in the non-profit field because we need to care about the cause and the people that we serve.  But remember, we are just as important as the cause we are working on!  

Finding that balance between our work life and home life can be difficult but it is important to find that balance.  The balance does not have to be 50-50 between work and home, but there needs to be a balance so that the scale doesn't tip over.  It is also important to note that work-life balance means something different for everyone, there is no one size fits all.

Below are a few self-care strategies, as well as some common challenges we may face and strategies to help deal with them successfully.

Self-Care Strategies

  • Take Time Outs From Work:
    • we need to find the balance between our work and home lives
    • take time, whether it's an hour or a day, to think about something else besides work; do not think about work at all
    • this can be difficult especially when we have a work cell phone because then work is always with us, but it's important to take that time for ourselves 
  • Self Check-Ins:
    • ask yourself "how am I feeling?  do I need to take a break?  what is next?"
  • Rest:
    • make sure to get adequate sleep at night
    • to do so, make sure to switch off work
  • Ask for Help:
    • some of us might be too shy or have too big of an ego, but get over yourself and ask for help
    • asking for help does not mean that we are weak, in fact it means that we are strong because we recognize that receiving help helps us to do better
  • Do Things For Fun:
    • often times when we have too much to do, doing things we enjoy is what goes first, but do not give that up

Challenges

Stress


While it is true that a certain amount of stress can be good for us, there comes a point when good stress becomes negative.  Good stress can stimulate and motivate us, while bad stress can overwhelm and distract us.

Warning Signs of Bad Stress:
  • headaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • upset stomach
  • sleep disturbances
  • short temper
  • low morale
  • things that are not in our character.

If we don't pay attention to the warning signs and take care of ourselves now, we are at risk of suffering from a future burnout.
Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.  It occurs when we feel overwhelmed, unable to meet constant demands and that we can't keep up with anything anymore.  In burnout:
  • everyday is a bad day
  • exhausted all the time
  • feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated
  • caring about work or home seems like a total waste of energy
To prevent us from reaching the burnout point, there are some techniques to help manage our stress.  To read about these techniques, please click here.

Time Management

Time is one of our most valuable resources because once it's lost we can't ever get it back.  It is a common complaint we hear "there just isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done."  Could it be we just need to manage our time better?

Here are 3 key principles to help make the best use of our time:
  • Planning
    • have a daily to-do-list with only 3-5 items on it
      • this will give us a boost and help us feel more productive at the end of the day when we get to check things off our list
      • we are not wasting our time trying to decide what to work on next
    • have a secondary to-do-list that is not a priority so that when we complete our daily list we have what is coming next
  • Organizing
    • if we find that we focus better in the morning then work on our most complex/challenging items then
    • it has been said that the adult mind can focus for about 90 minutes before it loses focus, so change tasks or take a short break to regain focus
  • Controlling
    • this is the follow-up, so ask yourself:
      • did I use my time wisely today?
      • what would make it more efficient?
A few things to remember:
  • procrastination is a huge time waster, so whatever we need to do has to be in our line of sight, reminding us that it needs to be done
  • it is OK to say "NO I don't have time to do something"
  • don't just say yes to activities in advance because if we always say yes and then when it gets closer to the event we turn around and say no, it calls into question our integrity.  We are better off just saying "ask me closer to the time".
  • set aside time just for us!
Attitude
 
There are many things in life that we can't control, but how we respond to every situation is in our control.  How we react is always on us!  Remember, attitudes are contagious, is ours worth catching?  Do people like to be around us?

If we have a positive attitude we can help keep a positive attitude/environment in the workplace, it is a good idea to THINK before we speak.
  • T - is it True?
  • H - is it Helpful?
  • I - is it Inspiring?
  • N - is it Necessary?
  • K - is it Kind?

 
The information found in this newsletter was taken from:
  • Charity Village's Webinar: The Importance of Self-Care
  • Trimeda Consulting's Achieving and Maintaining Work-Life Balance session (LNN's October 5th PD session)

Be sure to check your inboxes for our upcoming eblast on Succession Planning!

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