By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
Let me guess. Your typical work day starts at 6:00 am with a routine of getting yourself ready for work and your children ready for school. Everyone is dressed by 7:30. Backpacks with lunches and homework completed are ready. Pets are fed. Dishes rinsed off. And the one or two emails that came overnight have been answered.
You have taxied the kids to school or day care and are in your regular commute by 8 am and then at your cubicle by 8:30 am—if traffic cooperates. The day begins!
It can be a series of meetings, phone calls, emails, and reading reports and working on your 2 or 3 projects with lunch at your desk and few calls from home mixed in.
Your day can be one giant blur of activities and at 6 pm the next shift begins: supervising kids do homework, putting dinner on the table and then getting kids to sleep on time. Is it any wonder that married women with children report feeling so overwhelmed?
The American Psychological Association reports that married women reported higher levels of stress than single women, with one-third (33 percent) indicating that they have experienced a great deal of stress in the past month compared to 22 percent of single women.
Is this you? Mujer, let’s talk about “ME” time.
One of the hardest lessons to learn about a successful work-life is that hard work alone will not get you where you want to go in your career. Now, more than ever, it’s about having a career strategy and taking care of yourself so you can run the marathon of life.
It’s impossible to do all this without ME time. And while that may conjure up an image of going out for a night of fun, treating yourself to a day at the beach or splurging on a spa day con tus comadres or BFFs–ME time is much more.
ME time should stand for Mindful Energy — it’s an hour or half hour each day that you set aside to think and reflect about what you are doing to energize for your vision of your career and life. This is a moment to recharge. This is a time to recalibrate from all the busyness and get on track.
You might create a small ritual for ME time — three deep breaths to center yourself and then reading or reflecting on something that inspires you. It means practicing the art of mindfulness– getting in touch with “being” not “doing” something.
You may find that sitting still, clearing your mind for just a few minutes is one of the healthiest ways to be at your best and harness the energy you need to work through the complexity of your day.
Think taking this time out for yourself is just one more stressor? Think again.
The Harvard Health Guide now includes a guide on mindfulness that outlines simple steps to take and outlines the remarkable benefits for your health, your ability to focus, and overall satisfaction with your life.
The benefits can also mean lowering your heart rate or blood pressure and reducing the sense of overwhelm. All that and more just for taking time to breathe and focus on YOU.
I feel better just writing that down!
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™ on Facebook or on Twitter @SavvyLatinaInfo.