We all get off track from time to time. This happened to me last week. After a great (but hectic) week of business travel I returned to lead a retreat with my group coaching clients. While I loved it all, it wasn’t long before my body had had enough.
I first lost my voice, then lost energy and got achy, and I had no choice but to slow down, rest, and heal for the rest of week two.
Happily, I am now on the mend. But I am facing a big back-log of tasks.
It’s a challenge to get back in your groove when you have been knocked off course — whether by travel, illness, a family emergency, an emotional rough patch, or anything else.
Here are 3 tips I use to get back on track
1. Go slow
If you are anything like me and the accomplished women I work with, you are an achiever. You work hard — often too hard. This is not the time to follow your impulse is to jump back in and tackle your backlog fast. You will likely sabotage yourself with that approach.
Be thoughtful as you give yourself permission to build up to your usually pace.
Ask yourself these questions:
• What can I delegate, get help with, or defer?
• What to-do's have the highest priority, that I can map on my calendar now?
• What low-hanging fruit can I batch and take care of quickly?
• How can best I communicate to those waiting for replies that I will get back to them soon?
Resist the urge to over-promise. It’s always better to set a reasonable expectation and meet it — or delivery early.
2. Show yourself some love
You may need to set a later wake-up alarm than usual, or skip your usual morning work-out. Or, you may find you have a productive morning and then your energy wanes. Listen to your body! Give yourself the rest, nutrition and movement that you need.
If your muscles ache, schedule a massage. If a nap will refresh you, go for it! If you are stressed, take a break and meditate, draw, or walk around the block.
Self care now, coupled with self-compassion, will pay big dividends.
3. Steadily pick up the pace
You will know when you are ready to work a full day again. In most cases, careful pacing and attention to self care will help you to catch up and resume your usual routines fairly quickly.
This is a great time to reflect and reassess. Think about the balance in your life, and the intensity at which you had become accustomed to living. Maybe pushing a bit less hard is a better pace for you in the long run. Maybe you discovered some new ways to work smarter, not harder. Maybe you introduced some self-care that you want to continue and make your ”new normal.“
This challenging period can teach you a lot. Take note of your insights.
I'd love for you to share what works best for you at times like these. We can all learn from one another. Or, if you have particular questions, ask them. Leave comments below, or email me, and I can share this feedback in a future post.