This weekend is Easter weekend and like the rest of us that are fortunate enough to have families, Hubby and I came to the island for the holidays and to spend some much needed time with family. I have noticed in recent weeks that I have been overwhelmed with work, and although I can do another whole post as to why that is, the important part to note is that it is not only that I am working but the type of work that I do as well. All day every day, myself and my colleagues, are doing emotional labor. We are utilizing our personalities and skills in empathy, compassion and understanding in a way that helps people more than we can even attempt to see. It is amazing and satisfying and just plain old feels good. But, it is also exhausting.
Now, I am not going to go into the difference between physical and emotional labor because I would like to think that is pretty straight forward. However, what I do want to note is the significant impact emotional labor can have on those who are working in those fields. We give a ton. We change peoples’ lives. We make impacts on each other, on our clients and on people that we don’t even realize. We get a sense of purpose and drive that we didn’t even know we had. And we support each other in a way that I have not seen in any other workplace to date.
We go home feeling exhausted in a way that makes us unable to give anymore of ourselves. It leaves us having no space for our loved ones, our hobbies and sometimes even ourselves. And it can feel overwhelming at times as you lay in bed at night and ruminate on all the people who came across your path that day. So, to counteract that, those of us who are emotional laborers need to spend more time focusing on taking care of OUR needs, and not just the needs of others.
I suck at that. I have always been poor at finding that balance and doing the things that I need to in order to refill my cup. I need space for my work, but also my home as well. And although I will fully admit that I suck at it, I will also admit that I have been taking steps to be better. Better at putting myself first. Better at understanding the toll my job can take on me. And being better at listening to Hubby when he tells me to slow down, to take some time, and to accept his love.
And as this Easter weekend is coming to an end, I also have taken steps to remember how much being home helps refill me. Spending the last four days surrounded by the people who love me helped remind me the importance of taking care of me. Allowing myself to take time to sleep, or rest (even if annoyed the fam jam) was what I needed to be able to keep moving forward and onward. Being by the ocean, even if too cold to go to the sand, still gave my soul the rejuvenation it required. And spending time hanging out with my nieces reminded me of the simple fun that can be had by an easter egg hunt or a run around the house outside.
So, as I crawl into bed tonight, snuggled in my old childhood bedroom, I will continue to focus on how although my work is emotionally draining, it is also working for me. Laying down with the lights off, the sound of the ocean waves on my noise machine, and cuddled up with a good book, it will help me to be reminded of these five things..
- Finding your place of home, whether with your chosen or born into family, is just what you need when feeling run down.
- It is okay to take the time to sleep, rest and do those things that refill your battery.
- Few people can honestly say they love their job. Feel fortunate that you are one of them.
- It is okay to be overwhelmed. It is not making small changes to address it is a problem.
- Listen to Hubby more often. He sees you in a way that you do not see yourself.
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival”– Audre Lorde