I know for a fact, this week could have been better planned and I also know, the curved ball was unavoidable.
I left Perth for the Goldfields on Sunday and returned late on Tuesday night. I had a session of supervision on Wednesday in Perth which, due to our mutual schedules, I could not rebook. The two days in Kalgoorlie were a blur. Folks always turn up for their appointment so it was non-stop. I saw a lot of folks for their first appointment and that takes more out of me. Had I been sent my schedule ahead of time, I could have made an effort to include self-care into my day. I don’t think I even managed lunch on the first day but on the second, made a salad and took it to my favourite spot, under the trees. I only had a few minutes and not long enough to take out my camera. Somehow my body and spirit craved just being there, needing to find my groove, in the grove. I watched the wattle birds, the honey eaters, the magpies and magpie larks and reminded myself that I was returning the next day. There would be time later in the week for photography.
In the evening I settled down to relax only to find the TV reception had been knocked out after a storm. Momentarily annoyed I thought best get on to the long list of partially finished reports. I found the silver lining, I tried to convince myself. I returned home late on Tuesday night and went to bed with a list of tasks I would do first thing in the morning. Feeling I had accomplished a lot in the two days, the reports were ready for emailing.
On Wednesday morning I found my internet was not working. Four hours later on the phone with the telco and getting increasingly frustrated apparently I need a new modem that will come in a few days or perhaps there’s a problem with the hub. Being told this didn’t help me when I needed the system to work, the most, (I did mention this in another post, I can be impatient!). I returned to Kalgoorlie on Wednesday evening and worked late into the night, catching up on what I planned to do earlier in the day. Do I feel a sense of satisfaction? Not a bit!
I’m working solo today. A colleague will join me tomorrow and we’ll have two solid days of work. I’m looking forward to that. I always enjoy her company and we share the same work ethic. I’ll also have time today to go to the places I love to visit. This town has a lot of birds! While working past midnight I heard them chirping in the trees outside my hotel room. I’m sure they must have been an annoyance to some, for me, they brought on a smile.
The difference between working for others and oneself is starkly different. I am led by other people’s priorities in one agency,, when I work for myself, I can dictate them. I can be busier in the latter, but interestingly, feel less stressed, the common denominator being this … self-care.
When I was a government employee one never, ever saw self-care as a necessary part of work life balance. It was regarded as an indulgence. I was introduced to the concept of self-care when I worked in a program that required us to be on-call 24/7 for a week a month. We participated a fun group activity one afternoon a month. It wasn’t enough. We lost staff regularly, so often we were on roster for longer periods. I can recall being on-call 24/7 for six weeks without respite. I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. I didn’t realise this but years later my young adults, who were at high school then, told me every time they hear the same ring tone that I had for the roster calls, it riles them. I feel a sense of disquiet missing the impact of my work, on them.
We have come a long way in how we work. As a contractor I am expected to state how I manage fatigue. It is also a professional requirement. Self-care now fits in seamlessly in my work life balance.
I’m in a cool hotel room right now and know, for autumn, it will hot outdoors today. I also know it will hot enough for the gum flowers on those boughs I saw to burst into bloom. Life is much like that.
I’ve just realised how long the post is! I guess I needed to vent! If you’ve read the post to the end, hope you find a take home message that resonates with you.
Be kind to yourself and each other.
Until next time
a dawn bird