Unless we are stressed we are not trying.
Unless we are sweating we are not working hard enough.
Unless we are working outside of office hours we are not doing enough.
Unless we are doing more than someone else we are not good enough.
No-one says, (apart from PE teachers) “I can’t see you sweating!” Yet we all have felt this pressure. I hear students huddled in groups competing over who had the least amount of sleep, wrote the most notes or is the most terrified about failing. I see staff running up corridors, frantically holding onto stacks of paper, emails being sent in the middle of the night. Parents ushering children to multiple school activities every night whilst grilling them about their homework.
In my role I promote self care, I have to practice what I preach (which, hands up – I struggle with) and burn out in counsellors is prevalent. Yet I still catch myself worrying that I might not have looked busy enough, emailing on my days off and working through breaks. Yes, I do this because the work load is high, but a part of me is worried about how I’m perceived.
I read this article from Refinery29 recently 35-hour-workweek about how when someone took away the extra working hours and out of hours worry and emails, they felt more productive and surprisingly no one commented or complained. Maybe, we mostly do this to ourselves, a cultural infection of ‘try harder’ instead of ‘be more content’. It is certainly an experiment I think we should all undertake…
I am making some changes myself to my working week and amongst the bustle of the change I vow to walk a little slower, turn off my phone occasionally and see how it goes!
Photo taken of St Mary’s lighthouse.