Being a Leading Lady, both at work and in general life, is awesome. But it can also be exhausting. I think we women are too good at just working through the tiredness, or planning our time out around other people, whether they’re our kids, partners, family or even around what’s best for our workplaces.
But if even our time out is based on doing what’s best for others, then at what point are we properly looking after ourselves?
While our Leading Ladies group is very much focussed on being awesome at work, I’ve been thinking about just how important taking time out for ourselves is and how, by doing that, by default it sets us up to kick ass in the workplace even more.
It makes total sense to me that when you get some time off work, you spend it with your loved ones. However, while that is often fantastic and just what you need, if you’re anything like me, your natural Leading Lady tendencies may find you spending the whole time organising everyone and everything which isn’t particularly relaxing at all… I’m a Type A personality, so that’s totally my bag, but recently I did the total opposite and headed to the Gold Coast to spend five nights at Gwinganna*, which is a beautiful and - for me - life-changing wellness retreat. You cannot plan a single thing while you are there. Instead, you are at the mercy of the delightful and experienced people who run the place - this takes some getting used to, especially for a control freak super organised person like me. Each morning you are able to choose which activity you’ll do that day, but otherwise you just move through the week eating fabulous food, being in nature, exercising, meditating, learning, having any type of treatment you can imagine in the phenomenal spa and talking to all sorts of lovely souls. There is hardly any cell phone coverage and you are encouraged to keep your phone hidden away at all times, so you actually barely even look at it. For five and a half days. Unheard of.
So all of this may seem lovely and perhaps a bit indulgent and a pretty extreme version of having time to yourself. I get that. But here’s the thing that makes it completely worthwhile (and I am not exaggerating when I say it’s made me look at life very differently).
It’s quiet. It is so so quiet.
And I don’t just mean because there isn’t any traffic around and you’re in the middle of the bush. I mean it’s quiet from all the external noise which surrounds us at all times, that we’re not even really aware of because it’s just always there. Your phone isn’t ringing or bleeping. No one needs anything from you. There’s no TV to be distracted by. There are no deadlines or schedules to follow. At no point do you have to be anywhere at a particular time. You don’t have to worry about how you’re presenting yourself to anyone. If you want to laugh or cry or talk to some cool new friends or not talk to anyone at all, then you just go ahead and do it. (You can also talk to a horse if that kind of thing floats your boat). If you want to spend two hours floating in the pool like a human lilo, then I would highly recommend it. Everything slows down and without having to think about any of life’s usual responsibilities, there comes a kind of clarity which is normally hidden beneath the deadlines and the to-do lists and all the things we are always doing for other people.
If you’ve ever questioned what you’re doing with your life or wanted to find a way to make some significant changes, then this how to work through those things.
Without any noise to drown those thoughts out, surrounded by beautiful souls in beautiful surroundings. It’s pretty amazing.
Obviously we can’t spend our lives living at a wellness retreat, which is a great shame, but I suppose our people would miss us and we’d very quickly become extremely poor, (though extraordinarily well). We also can’t regularly take five and a half day solo holidays and leave everyone else to muddle on without us. But I really think this idea of quiet, with the focus being purely on yourself and no one else, is key to recharging our Leading Lady batteries and just checking in with our inner selves to see how we’re really doing under all that noise that life surrounds us with. Finding even half an hour every day or three to go for a walk, read a book, (and I’m talking Catlin Moran, not a book that’s going to ‘better you’ in the workplace), sit outside in the hammock or go to a yoga or meditation class can make such a difference. Since I’ve been home, the TV has been off a lot more, I’ve read more, I’ve swum more and I’m spending a lot more time outside – these are the things that really relax my mind and it took being away from everything else to tap back into that.
Take the time to find those things that give you peace and take whatever opportunity you can to do them.
In turn, this will give your mind more space to be awesome at work and the awareness and energy to tackle things head on, without the fear of burning out or ever having to relinquish your Leading Lady status.
*In case you were wondering, this is not a sponsored post for Gwinganna. It really and truly changed my life. I think it was the pool.
Post by Aimee Froud