Safe Havens

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As the week comes to a close, I find myself closing down as well, not in a negative way, but in a it’s-been-a-long-week-and-I-am-so-glad-the weekend-is-here kind of way.  Overall, it was a really positive and productive week, and I am in a good space.  Having said that, I am tired and am in need of a weekend to regroup and to rest, and I am having trouble convincing the words in my head to make their way from my mind to my fingers to type this.

The one thing I did for myself today is that I changed my work environment and my attitude at work to ease the stress and feelings of burnout.  I truly love my work with both the men who are homeless and the men who are in the permanent supportive housing programs,  and I am fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible staff and tireless volunteers.  Lately, though, due to covering a vacant position, in addition, to doing the work of my current position, my stress level has been high, and my morale has been low.  My usual safe haven from the rest of the world no longer has felt safe, and for the first time ever, on some days, I have not want to go to work when I wake up.  It has felt horrible, but that began to change for the better today.

My situation at work has not changed yet, but it will when we find the right person to fill the open position.  So, in addition to reminding myself that this situation is temporary, I also recognized that the stress and pressure that I have experienced, and even created, are not permanent, either.  Plus, it is really tough to complain about having too much work to do and then going home at the end of the day to a warm home in a safe neighborhood with my two beautiful girls, when I am greeted on a daily basis by people who would gladly swap their problems with mine.  Today, I focused on what I could get accomplished and gave myself credit where credit is due, and I took time to be grateful for the many, many positive people and aspects of my job.  It was a much-needed attitude adjustment that adjusted my entire day.

I also did a few things to change my office, which is decorated very minimally, which is the understatement of the year.  I brought in two pictures, each drawn beautifully, colorfully, and lovingly by my respective daughters, and I posted them proudly and prominently in a place that catches my eye and makes me smile every time I see them.  They motivate me to be at my best and make me happy.  I also brought in one of my favorite Aveda candles to burn in my office, and its scent calms and soothes me.  Little changes that made big differences.

The thing I did for someone else today was that I recognized that my daughters also have had a long week and need a break, so, rather than have them help me do some of the cleaning, as they always do and do so very well, they were given the evening off, while I took the lead in getting the chores finished.  They both sincerely thanked me, which made it even better and sweeter, and it reminded me that while they have boundless energy, sometimes, they just need to unwind and relax, which is productive in a different way.  At times, I allow tasks, ‘to do’ lists, errands, and all of the other little necessities and responsibilities of life overshadow the simple joys of being a mom, and that is one of the many things that I am working on changing.  Trading in my own compulsive need to have things neat, orderly, and complete for a life that is more genuine, real, and, sometimes, messy can be daunting, but I am learning that some of the best and most needed changes should scare you a bit.

So, that’s what I did today at work and at home to make both safe havens, and it worked.  I am looking forward to carrying the good week into the weekend, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Just one thing each day . . .



Categories: Just One Thing Each Day

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