"You can't play until your chores are done." 

At some point in my life I translated that into, "you aren't allowed to do the things you love until all your work is caught up". 

Reality check:  the chores are never done.  Laundry, dishes, contacting customers, the next sale to meet or beat quota, organizing the next meeting - we never get it "done".

The USA has been dubbed "the no-vacation nation" with Canada not far behind.  Employers/share-holders would love to see workers run top speed 24/7 until they drop dead or quit.  Frankly, it's an employers market and there are plenty more employees where we came from.  There are 1,000 people standing in line, ready to take your place for that paycheque.  We do the work of 2-3 people.  (Who has a secretary anymore?)   Employees are encouraged to take their coffee breaks and lunch at their desks, and to work late.  Where this behaviour used to make someone look highly dedicated, it has sadly become the exhausting norm.  And for this exemplary ethic, we are rewarded with 2-4 weeks of vacation.  (At age 50 I changed jobs and was allowed 2 weeks, with 3 not available until after 5 years of service.)

Europeans have an entirely different view.  Six weeks vacation is (as I understand it) the standard.  You're expected to go away, recharge and come back refreshed.  China shuts down for a month around the Chinese new year, (so if your product is sitting in port waiting to be shipped, it isn't leaving the dock in China until everyone comes back to work).

Little wonder we are feeling stressed.

Take a tip from the european attitude toward health.  In North America, we can't necessarily ask for 6 weeks vacation when  starting a new job.  You won't get the job!  But, like rechargeable batteries, we need to take time to plug in once in awhile.  Just like the oil change and regular maintenance on your car, you need to take time to look after yourself.  

What fills your cup?  What small things can you do to fill up and fuel up with happy?  What relaxes you? Recharges you?  Find a way to carve out the time to nourish you.

Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a walk, swim, cycle, workout, yoga class, ... something physical very day.  (Get up a little earlier if you need to.) 
  • meditate. Even for a few minutes.  Even if it means you go to the washroom at work and just sit in one of those meditation booths they have installed there (some people call it a toilet...LOL)
  • read something uplifting before you fall asleep at night
  • tell a co-worker why you think they're fabulous (keep it sincere and you'll catch the feel good too)
  • stop for a relaxed cup of herbal tea
  • go for a drink with friends (you don't have to overindulge - it can be over coffee, one beer, a glass of wine...)
  • leave your office for lunch, even if it's a bag lunch.  Go sit in the sunshine somewhere, or listen to the rain, or watch the snow fall.
  • if you're starting to feel overly stressed and the cold/flu bug is lurking, go to a european style spa for a day.  Rejeuvenate in the hot-cold therapy.
  • Go to church, and/or declare one day a week your no work day.
  • add your own ideas here.

One other suggestion deals with that to-do list.  Since the list is never done, choose the important things and create a "6 Most Important Things" list of what needs to be achieved today.  If it isn't achieveable in one day, take something off and add it to tomorrow's list.  It won't get done today anyway and you'll be left with a feeling of failure for not getting it all done.  If you find your magic wand and manage to fly through your list, you can choose whether you want to tackle anything extra for bonus points.

Reward yourself.  It refuels you.


to your success



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