Look after YOU!

Schedule your ?doona-day? before you need it.

If you?re Melbourne based, like me, you?ve probably noticed that winter has come early this year. And with winter comes all those little bugs and nasty?s that, if you?re not looking after yourself, can see you hauled up in bed for days while you recover.

I don?t know about you but I hate getting sick, I much prefer nipping it in the bud as soon as I feel that little tickle in the back of my throat. In the past, there was a part of me that didn?t want to let my team down by taking a day off ? particularly when I wasn?t physically unwell and when absenteeism in my team was high. And, rather than taking a ?doona day? or a ?mental health day? (when I felt mentally drained), I would push through until my illness fully took hold and I was physically unable to get out of bed. Then, instead of taking the time I needed to get better I would return to work as soon as I could and operate at reduced capacity, often taking weeks to fully recover.

It?s so important for us to monitor energy levels and nurture our mental health as a preventative measure. Psychologist Dr Vivenne Sullivan agrees that mental health days are ?a fantastic initiative that works to reduce the stigma around mental health issues, increase community knowledge and promote mental wellbeing.” I?d also add the benefit of not spreading the germs that present themselves when we become physically unwell.

I often see leaders who work themselves to a point of exhaustion and, even though they acknowledge they need to take a break, insist on pushing through. We need to stop trying to be super-human and pay more attention to how we?re feeling. It?s ok to take time out of our busy schedules to focus on ourselves. Whether that be a day spent in bed (a doona day) or slothing on the couch watching trashy movies.

Steven Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about stopping to sharpen the saw. He writes that it is ?the single most powerful investment we can make in life ? investment in ourselves? and that to be effective ?we need to recognise the importance of taking time regularly to sharpen the saw?. The hardest part, when you?re in a leadership role, is to make the decision to actually do it.

So, if you lead a team and haven?t been looking after yourself, now is the perfect time to schedule a ?doona day?. It?s so important that you take the lead on this. If you?re looking after your physical and psychological wellbeing then your staff are more likely to do the same. As a result, absenteeism will decrease and your culture will improve! Seems like a no brainer!!


Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating dynamic team environments through adaptable leadership. She is a leadership coach, trainer, facilitator, mentor and speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.?If you?d like to know more about how she can work with you, and your team, drop her an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

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