You’ve probably heard the saying, “We teach what we need to learn.” Well, that was especially true for me this week!
I recently wrapped up the last week of my Beta Test for my upcoming group coaching program Life Editing for Beginners (doors open September 2!). The final lesson involved Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care.
White space is about giving yourself a break, resting, recharging, and doing a less-than-perfect job. It’s about embracing self-care.
In one week’s time, I had completed the Beta Test, moved to a new apartment, and kept up with my 14 private coaching clients.
I was exhausted and suffering from extreme burnout…but I didn’t want to admit it to myself!
It was only after I realized that I didn’t have a blog post ready to publish, which meant that my weekly ezine wouldn’t be sent for the first time in 2 and a half years, that I finally hit the brakes.
I posted on Facebook that I was making an executive decision: no blogging, no ezine, no biz work other than client calls. For the foreseeable future.
Ugh. I felt sick to my stomach after posting that, but maybe it was just the stress talking.
Dozens of my friends and followers “Liked” the post, so perhaps I was on to something. I might have felt guilty for claiming my white space, but everyone else thought my decision was perfectly justified!
Even my Beta Testers remarked that it was refreshing to see me lead by example. I certainly needed to learn my own lesson.
In the end, I took 2 full weeks off from my business work, and it felt AMAZING! I only wished I had planned the break in advance. Of course, now I have my next white space break blocked off in my planner.
Coincidentally, some of my favorite coaches are taking self-care breaks too. Leonie Dawson recently took a break from sending her ezine, and Natalie MacNeil from She Takes on the World posted this fun video about taking a business sabbatical.
Is it time for you to take a white space break? Let me rephrase that: it IS time for you to take a white space break!
Here are 3 reasons to take a white space break to avoid burnout.
You’ll Feel Less Resentful
Taking a break from your work (whether it’s a corporate job, personal business, or both) will ensure that you maintain all the good feelings that made you get into that line of work to begin with.
I’ve seen women in all types of businesses grow resentful when they’re not taking adequate white space breaks (boo!). I’ve said it before, but you gotta use your vacation days, people!
I recognized that my burnout was getting the best of me when I started feeling resentful of my client load. YOWZERS! How could I be mad at the kick-ass women who pay me to help them edit their lives? My white space break reminded me why I love being a coach.
You’ll Avoid Mistakes
One of the telltale signs of burnout is when you start making silly mistakes. By not taking a break, you’re liable to send a personal email to the entire company (eep!) or make an accounting mistake that costs you hundreds of dollars.
Maybe that seems farfetched, but I was noticing that I was making more grammatical errors (so embarrassing as an editor!) as well as spilling a full glass of water over my desk and printer and generally being clumsier than normal.
Even a short white space break such as reading for 30 minutes or walking around the block can help you avoid the mistakes that inevitably come with burnout.
You’ll Find Inspiration
You know how the best ideas always seem to come to you when you’re in the shower? Inspiration often hits us when we step out of our usual work areas.
If you’re feeling burnout creep up on you, try removing yourself from your workspace and go someplace completely different. Maybe sitting in the local coffee shop will spark your creativity. Maybe dancing in your living room will help you shake off your burnout.
For me, I like to take my dog to the park during my white space breaks. Seeing Skyla roll in the grass and eat ladybugs makes all my business worries disappear. I get the best creative ideas when I’m walking outside with her.
Your Homework: Pull out your calendar or planner and block out daily, weekly, and monthly white space breaks. How about a 5-minute meditation session every morning? Or what about a quarterly weekend away?
When was the last time you took a white space break?
In the comments below, share your favorite self-care activities or tips for avoiding burnout.
This post focuses on Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.