Be sure to add a very important person to your gift-giving list this holiday season: YOU. This week we explore the business of busy-ness and the value of using the holiday break to “break” unhealthy habits.
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Welcome to another week of the Encouraging Words for School Counselors podcast and hallelujah for holiday break, right? I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from everyone and I know how you feel. I – by the way – am Matt Fleck with Inspire Success.
Though it is holiday break for most of you that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less stressful unfortunately. I know there’s a tendency for some of us to be super-humans at school AND at home. So if we aren’t crazy busy at school making sure all of our students get what they need, and all the paperwork is done, and everyone is ok – then we are super, crazy busy at home during our down time as well.
I don’t know about you, but for me – if you don’t mind being my virtual counselor for a minute – I think I subconsciously fill my day with work because that’s what makes me feel valuable. So I like checking things off my list because it gives me a great sense of accomplishment, but it’s also kind of a trap, because it’s an endless To Do list. And then that sets me up for constantly feeling frustrated because I don’t get everything done. There’s a quote I like from Jordan Peterson that says, “You sometimes have to sacrifice that which is most important to you that’s stopping you from being the best you can be.” I’ve had to think about that one a couple of times over the years. It’s an interesting idea that something that we believe to be valuable – maybe even helpful – could also be stopping us from being the best of ourselves.
I did a workshop on “busy-ness” a few years ago at our state school counselor conference and was surprised by how many school counselors told me they did the same thing, using the To Do list to determine the value of their day, sometimes – even most of the time – without realizing it. And even when you DO realize it, it’s hard to break the pattern. Now, I’m old but some of you may remember that it was common to have one of those spiky things on your office desk years ago, the ones that held a stack of phone messages that were often written on small slips of pink paper? Remember those? No one talked about it but it was NOT uncommon back then for that spiky thing to be a sort of status symbol – subtly showing others “look how many messages I have…” and in a way, trying to convey how important we were. We’d look at the spiky thing on someone else’s desk and think – wow they don’t have NEARLY as big a stack as I have. Though those spiky things are long gone and forgotten, the concept has just switched to the number of emails in your inbox.
My point in jabbering on about this is that during this holiday break, I STRONGLY encourage you to consciously carve out some time for yourself. To break the cycle of unconscious busy-ness. Take time for you – maybe a day or even a couple of hours. SURELY your family and your relatives will understand if over the course of these 10 or 14 days of break you disappear for 60 minutes of time JUST YOU. And if you feel that’s absolutely impossible, maybe it’s a good resolution to consider for the new year to rethink some of the patterns we may have adopted unconsciously, so we CAN allow ourselves permission to have time for ourselves. Think of it as an unselfish, extremely healthy, low cost Christmas gift to yourself.
IF you do take a moment of reflection during this break, we would LOVE to hear what has lifted you up this past year. What phrase or a quote or thought has encouraged you or helped you get through your day? Maybe it’s a quote that you use in your email signature or Post-It note on the top of your computer monitor. I’ll share that one of my favorite quotes – the one that often gets me through my days – is from EB White who reportedly said, “I get up every morning determined to both change the world, and have one hell of a good time.”
So if you have a moment, send us your best quote or thought and we’ll share those next week during our last podcast of 2021. It’s simple to do, just drop a quick email or share a phone recording to email@example.com OR use our online soundbooth to record your thought or quote at inspiresuccess.org/soundbooth.
Now before we go — right now — take a deep breath in….and out…. Enjoy your holidays.