It’s July and I’m learning

Self compassion, that has been the thought occupying my mind this month following coaching. Trying to understand yourself to the point where you know what your limit is and when its time to take a break. 

I had to admit, in my initial coaching conversation I struggled to correctly say who was most important, or should I say I struggled to admit I’d made a mistake and got these in the wrong order.

  1. Work
  2. Team
  3. Me
  4. Family

At the very beginning of this I sent a text home saying..its bonkers here, don’t expect me home anytime soon..and the habit of staying late, doing more and putting the job first came home to roost.

Now, anyone in healthcare knows that patients and colleagues always compete for priority with who is waiting at home…I have a slightly jealous admiration of those who can pack up and go when their shift finishes. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been early to start and late to finish with no expectation but my own. 

Hard to think otherwise in a pandemic with this role. But still, I made a mistake and even more interesting to me is that this order..

  1. Me
  2. Family
  3. Team
  4. Work

Still feels wrong. Something for the next blog and bit more analysis.

Here is something else I learnt this month. 

It wasn’t the way I was thinking that made me wake in the night or feel unwell it was the volume of work I was trying to do. 

I followed a piece of advice and mapped out my week and looked at the all the regular meetings and tasks.

  • Conversations and phone calls.
  • Teaching sessions and report writing.
  • Presenting and deciding. 
  • Researching and inventing.

All of these take up time. Time which I’m only allocated so much, the day is always the same length despite what I think.  

Working out how much time each task took and then adding in the preparation time they should each have I easily topped the 37.5 hours. The final number I guess isn’t important, but the learning that I was cross with myself for not being able to achieve things on time when time was clearly not a commodity I had any hold over was invaluable. 

So then its the additional effort all of this is taking. Constant reviews of issues mixed in with a merger that is rapidly getting bigger on the horizon have meant that nearly every decision and communication I have made has had to be made twice, and that’s before the guidance I was using changed…again.

So I was doing a lot over a long period and I assumed because physically I could do it that mentally I was capable too.

I’d get up stretch, shower and grab a coffee before spinning in to work. I felt awake, happy and ready to go so why shouldn’t I be able to function at the same level as last night and keep on going? I ate well and drank plenty of fluids. Sure I’d reach for a sugar hit in the afternoon but with 1 coffee a day its the only stimulant I needed.

But no, it appears that whilst I can feed my body to keep going the mental energy is less easy to replenish. 

Comes to something when you are the age I am and you realise something so fundamental as that.

So. Time to find brain “food” and brain “rest” ideas.  Time to make 20 mins for unwinding each day. Oh and a holiday in August. A week of nothing but green fields.

See you soon Devon. 




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