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Rejuvenate and Restore

Workaholics need rest, too!
Workaholics need rest, too!

Summertime is notorious for ‘’vacations.’’ This year, I am saving my official vacation for the end of the summer, but I refuse to postpone my rejuvenation until then.   If you’ve been following my twitter account, you’ll know that I have been taking advantage of the July heat to enjoy several day trip ‘’vacations’’ in our own backyard.  Instead of waiting for the big trip, I’m taking time every week – sometimes three times a week – to recharge myself, reconnect with friends, and remember one of the reasons I want to run my own company: the freedom to make my own harmony.

Rejuvenate – to make something young again; to restore to a former state; to bring back life and energy.

There are several different ways to explain this process, but none can compare to the importance of actually going through it.  Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People calls it “Sharpening the Saw.” Many blogs and articles published in the last few years refer to it as “self care.” In our household, it is called “vacation.”

Before I met my life partner, I was a workaholic.  I loved my job; I worked for a cause that I truly believed in; and I made a difference in many lives. But, I was burning out.  In fact, it was my friend (who later became my life partner) returning to the city we met in that made me realize that I was really missing having a social life outside of work. We weren’t very close friends, but I was thrilled with the idea of catching up with someone outside of my work friends.  I was so excited that I told him that we needed to grab beers when he got into town. (For a nearly-raw vegan, “grabbing beers” illustrated a strong desire for connection.)  Taking a break on a patio seemed like heaven on earth that spring…

Since that first beer, I have continued to trust my partner’s suggestion to take a break. Our first “vacation” together was meeting his mother. The four days away from work pushed me to stop thinking about work problems – and other people’s work problems – for at least a day. That was a big accomplishment for me then! Soon afterwards, we started taking day trips, and weekends away to my parents’ acreage, where there was no cell-phone reception, and I couldn’t be disturbed by work.

Every workaholic has their own reasons for being a workaholic, but the need for rejuvenation is the same for everybody.  Some people can do it every night when they get home from work and throw off their “working” hat when they walk through the door. Other people need a full weekend – Saturday to detach with their personal errands, and then Sunday to truly relax – to rejuvenate.  As a manager, I felt guilty is I wasn’t available to my employees if they needed me: morning, evening or weekend. There was only a 7-hour window when my phone was set to automatically block any texts or phone calls except for family (I highly recommend this!) while I slept. To fully “turn off” my working hat and allow myself to rejuvenate, I needed to be on “vacation.”

The benefits were well worth it!  Every time I took a step away from working, I gained more insight on something that was more important to me. I still loved my job, but it was burning me out to devote so much time to somebody else’s small business. Long before I had started that workaholic job, I knew that it would be valuable experience for when I reached my ultimate dream: working for myself. Each vacation reminded me of that greater goal, and I gained a deeper sense of what that work might be.

One fateful October, we took a weekend getaway to the mountains  Phone calls from work had us pulling over on the side of the road, as I dealt with crisis after crisis on my day off. I take full responsibility for leaving my phone on during my weekend away, but the experience helped me realize how much I needed a change. That weekend, I knew I had to leave my workaholic-day-job in order to build a company for myself.  A month later, I had resigned from the job that pushed me into workaholic mode and gained one with much less responsibility, and way more time to take care of myself and my family.  We call this job my “wait-station” because it’s not my end goal. It’s not yet “working for myself.” I still wasn’t sure what I needed to do. Time for a vacation…

That winter, we spent a week in Mexico. For anybody who lives in northern Canada and suffers from S.A.D. (Seasonal Acute Depression), you can only imagine what a week of sunshine, swimming, and exploring a new-to-us country was like. I had also just agreed to take on a bit more responsibility at my “wait-station” job, and I loved the opportunity to gain clarity on my larger goal before being sucked back in to my workaholic ways. And then, my life partner said something that week that really struck home: “You’re really happy right now.  I’ve missed that.”

Wow! Hold the phone! (…and the internet, too, because we all know how much that sucks us into workaholic mode.) Was I not happy in my regular life? But, I left that workaholic-day-job for one that gave me more time for me. In our day-to-day lives, though, I wasn’t really happy. Not, giggling in the back of an open-air taxi, talking to street vendors, and eating guacamole for breakfast kind of happy. I was stressed! I was thinking about money, worried about going out on my own, and terrified that I might succeed and then fail miserably (a complicated neurosis). My real life lacked the “vacation happy” that we spent most of our lives looking forward to. Is that really how I wanted to live?

Of course not! Who wants to spend their lives waiting to be happy, stress-free, and relaxed? That is NOT why I wanted to be my own boss. Not to mention that being stressed-out greatly impacts how well I do my job, and how much I can give to an employer, my coworkers, or my clients. I needed to capture this happiness from a vacation on an ongoing basis.

Ongoing rejuvenation is not a new idea! In the first part of last century, workers fought for the right to have 2 days off every week. Before then, and in other areas of the world, religious doctrine dictates that we should have a minimum of one day a week off. Why? To rejuvenate! Rejuvenation restores our energy, let’s our mind rest, and even refreshes our creativity. In this workaholic-always-connected century, though, we tend to never stop – and even idolize – working EVERY day. Is it really worth it? No!

As my early “vacations” showed me, taking time to recharge didn’t “slow me down.” In fact, it did the opposite! I gained more insight into what I really wanted to do. It reminded me of what was more important to me. And, it restored my energy so I could be even more efficient – nay, effective – in both my day job, and in reaching for my ultimate goal.

Do you always need to take a mini vacation for this rejuvenation to happen? Not at all. Staycations can be just as good for many people.  (If you are easily distracted by housework, your easily-accessible work email, or the need to check on work “just in case,” get out of town!) Does it have to be a certain length? Nope! Taking some time every day is actually best. Twenty minutes of meditating, reading a book for fun, relaxing with your favourite show, or even walking around the neighbourhood are GREAT ways to rejuvenate daily!

My biggest recommendation is turning off your electronics! If your phone has an “airplane” mode, find it and use it. You don’t need to be connected all of the time. If you enjoy baths, take one!  A culture buff? Soak up all the amazing festivals that happen throughout the summer months, and even the year.  Whatever will bring you back happiness, relaxation, and harmony – do it! You deserve to rejuvenate…

Looking for ways for yourself to rejuvenate?  Contact me for a complimentary coaching session this month where we can build “rejuvenation” into your plan for harmony!

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Why Are You Veg*n?

Vegan Commitment Workshop

You’ve been questioning it for awhile… You’ve been told it’s the right thing to do… You’re pretty sure you’re going to do it… But why are you going to make that final plunge?

If you’re like me, you’ve contemplated veg*nism for years! (veg*nism = the adoption of a plant-based diet and lifestyle; a combination of vegetarianism, veganism and raw veganism) Maybe you, too, tried not eating meat for a week in high school. Maybe you, also, gave up those efforts when your friends or family started to question it. Maybe you finally took the first steps in university, but your commitment to it always waivered. Maybe you struggled to give up the tasty baked goods at the chain coffee shops you studied in. Maybe you had a rule about accepting other cultures when you lived abroad. Maybe you decided to make some compromises for it to be easier for yourself in social situations. Maybe you started a blog called “Cheatin’ Vegan” to defend your varying level of commitment to an ideal you really want to be living. Maybe you, too, believe you are capable of being the change you wish to see in the world, but something always seems to be in the way. Maybe you always wished you could be as determined as your friends, the ones that make it look easy to keep the “tough commitments” to be 100% raw vegan, the vegan police (with an abundant source of information on what’s not vegan), or the confident vegetarian enjoying that amazing salad at the restaurant… Or, maybe that was just my journey.

If you’re anything like me, and on a similar journey to being the change you wish to see in the world, you’re going to want to be at my workshop this Monday evening.

You know all the reasons people give to going veg*n: Health, Environment, Animal Rights. And, you’re really excited to go Meatless this March, too. But, there always seems to be something holding you back. Or, you forget to mention it to your waiter, and you feel horrible sending back the salad with the we’re-not-sure-where-the-creaminess-comes-from dressing. Or perhaps you’re just tired of defending your diet from skeptical onlookers…

This is the workshop for you!

We’ll begin with an exploration of why people typically choose a vegan diet: Health, Environment, Animal Rights.  I know the facts out there, and I’ve heard the right statistics. There are more and more documentaries coming out every year that showcase one more reason why a plant-based lifestyle is a good choice for you, the world, and the animals.  More and more people in Edmonton are hearing the reasons, too, and our community is growing!

You’ll meet these like-minded individuals with similar reasons for becoming veg*n, too. If you’re anything like me, having a circle of veg*n friends will be great for commiserating, recipe-swapping, and knowing that you are not alone.  Others, too, have felt this calling to commit to a veg*n lifestyle.

After getting to know your community, we’ll dig a little deeper into what those similar reasons mean – at a higher level. The facts and statistics we’ve all heard don’t always address the deeper reasons for choosing a veg lifestyle: self care, integrity, compassion, etc.  These are the reasons that will strengthen your commitment. So, we’ll explore them.

How do those higher-level reasons – values – show up in your life? Which values resonate with you, on an individual level?  Finally, with the answers to those questions, you will create a commitment and deeper convictions to take with you. You will be strong enough to withstand the questions every veg*n endures. You’ll have a stronger ability to call on your resources when dealing with the ambiguities in our foods – like remembering to specify “veg*n” at the restaurant. Maybe you’ll even build some compassion for yourself for when your don’t always follow through on the veg*n actions, with which you wish you were more consistent.

On top of all of this, you will meet some amazing veg*ns from Edmonton and area, and know you aren’t alone.

As a Life Coach, I work with people who are changing the world.  For a lot of world changers, this change comes across in a paradigm-shifting Lifestyle Change, such as adopting a plant-based diet (especially in Alberta, Canada’s “cattle country”). Other Lifestyle Changes include bicycle-commuting, ethical boycotting, and participating in protests.  However people want to change the world, it’s always important to explore the personal reasons for it.  When we know why we are doing something, the how becomes so much easier…

Join me this Monday, March 9 at 7pm to explore Why you are veg*n!

The Veg*n Commitment Workshop – Idylwylde Library (8310 88 Ave), Edmonton, AB; Monday, March 9 at 7pm; sponsored by Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta for March Meat Out!