Written by Chief People Officer, Mary Corradino
A focus on wellness, well, maybe not always!
I don’t know about you, but when I start something big anew, many of my healthy routines fly out the window. Finding the balance between work and life is always hard so when big changes arise in either one, it can be very challenging. Over the years I have learned to deal with this pressure and not beat up myself for not getting it all done. There are simply times when one will just take precedence over the other, and hey, that is okay.
So my big change this year was starting my new job at Fidelus in January, and for the first time ever, onboarding and working in a fully remote environment. For this blog, I am reflecting on what I learned from that experience so I can hopefully help myself as well as you successfully tackle things when the next big change surfaces, ‘cause they always come!
First, it’s really important to recognize “the why.” Why did I sacrifice sleep, exercise, and good eating for a time? Well, starting a new job is stressful since those first few months are VERY important to build relationships, followership, listening and learning, and ultimately making a meaningful impact. And it’s more than likely that all this learning and related demands are going to require more than a normal workday for a while. But the end result of all this added effort is coming up to speed more quickly, and having a very good start with new people in a new environment, showing up in the best way you know how. Therefore, I would do it again, for the end result of quickly accomplishing very important things together and delivering on critical business and people goals were worth the short-term sacrifice in other parts of my life.
Now, once those first few months of drinking from the firehose were behind me, I had to rejigger my routine and get back to something more balanced including reincorporating wellness into my day. Some of the following simple changes worked best for me. Knowing this, you will have to give some thought as to what is workable AND sustainable for you.
1. Without my normal 10,000 step NYC commute, I had to build more movement into my day. Hence I blocked 30 minutes each day to take a brisk walk, use a fitness app or even garden (fresh air is key!). While I didn’t achieve my usual 5 day a week plan, the reserved time ensured I did something at least 2-3 days and on the weekend. Sometimes, I would use the time to walk and talk, calling a friend or family member to uplift me.
2. I also had to commit to getting to the grocery store BEFORE the good fresh foods ran out. Even on a weeknight when the round trip is 45 minutes, it is just so much better to have delicious summer fruit and veggies on hand, than relying on whatever else is in the cabinets. I don’t know about your pantry, but mine isn’t pretty!
3. I also had to lighten up on the afternoon refueling with chips and/or nuts. Yep, they taste good, but ultimately, I learned they really aren’t too filling or satisfying when I’m hungry. Carrot chips with hummus, watermelon, berries, really do serve me better. I’m not saying I don’t occasionally indulge, just not as much.
4. And finally, I used to have a very regular meditation practice which was the best antidote to my frequent restless nights. And while I haven’t figured out exactly how to fully reincorporate it now (commuting really was good for something), I have found that quiet mindful minute breaks throughout the day are very helpful in keeping me focused and calm in the midst of the inevitable storms of work and life.
I have had so many colleagues, both past and present, friends and family who have made dramatic and stressful changes because of the pandemic. And we are all too often so hard on ourselves, believing we should do better or more. I’m not saying to avoid setting goals, but stating that maintaining personal wellness in all its forms, including being kind and cutting ourselves some slack, will go a long way in helping you to achieve and sustain them.
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