Eight Days a Week

Written by: Penny Cooke | Posted on: | Category:

I took the day off today. And I can do that because I have the best boss in the world. Ever.

For a variety of reasons, my world is in turmoil at the moment – none of it Covid-related – but I know that a lot of people are really struggling with it, not least of all the isolation and divorce from everyday life it’s necessitated. And that’s not including any self-isolation that may be imposed.

In a report I read recently – and this is based on figures from four years ago – over half a million people in the United Kingdom struggle with work-related depression, stress and anxiety. Let that number sink in. Half. A. Million. 5,000,000. Think how high that number must be today.

Self-employed people – like me – aren’t immune to it. I would say for years – back in my salaried role – that I “didn’t do stress”. Until I did. I carry a little of that with me still. But the fact that I acknowledge it, that I know it’s real and it’s there, helps a huge amount. I don’t ignore the flippin’ great Elephant in the Room.

I’m both boss and minion in my business. There’s no-one else. It’s just me. So all the pressure, the worry, is on me. I have no paid annual leave. I have no sick pay. I’ve worked when I've been unwell. I've worked over the weekends. And I've worked long into the early hours of the morning with a deadline to meet for a brand-new client.

But I’m mindful that, if I collapse – mentally, physically, or emotionally, or a combination of all three – then I’m well and truly stuffed.

And that’s why I will occasionally take the day off. Like today – a friend and former colleague from my last job came to visit. We caught up on gossip, we put the world to rights, we took Bella the Lurcher for a walk. And I feel so much better for it.

So the day before yesterday, in FB conversation with said colleague – who’d said she’d missed our chats – I suggested we meet up either in her village, a coffee shop or perhaps she’d like to come over to me, have tea and cake (I had a reputation in college of bringing in baked goodies just because I felt like baking, was just learning how to, and I experimented on my colleagues!) and just natter. She chose the latter, today was arranged, and she showed up shortly before noon.

And how do I feel now? Actually, I’m feeling pretty damn’ mellow. I’ve just finished the remains of a bottle of a really great red wine I’ve recently discovered (Barefoot’s The Jammy Red, in case you were wondering). It was a large glass, and probably accounts for a good part of the mellowness, but I’m smiling as I’m typing this, and know that what I did today, for me, was a good thing.

I’m both boss and minion in my business. That boss can be a right tyrant sometimes (like finishing off an assignment at 3.30am). That minion can want desperately to please the boss (like working 'til 3.30am to finish said assignment).

But sometimes the boss is really, really nice. And sometimes the minion is really, really grateful.

Take time for you. Take time for the people around you. Because if you crash and burn, there’s no-one around but you to put the flames out.

Far better to invest in a little emotional or physical firefighting occasionally.

My friend probably won’t read this, but I shall thank her anyway. Thanks, Jane – thanks for saying you missed our chats, and thanks for coming over today.

I usually sign off my blogs with a CTA – a Call to Action, which generally means get in touch and see what I can do for you. This time it’s a slightly different CTA – remember to take care of you.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke / Pixabay

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