Day 242: what gives you support?

30 Aug

If you’ve followed along the course of this year, you already know that I love the work I do with Women on Fire.

Tonight was no exception.  We aired a live chat broadcast from Women on Fire Studios with Debbie Phillips discussing How to Create Endless Support for Yourself and Avoid Burnout!

Tonight, Debbie asked this question: “who gives you support?”

And I made a long list in my head.

When I was a young girl I thought support for women was basically a brazier, an over the shoulder boulder holder, otherwise known as a bra.

“Support” was never really openly talked about when I was in my formative years; as something to give out, to practice, to fine-tune, and a plan of exactly how to establish it in my own life.

Being a supportive neighbor was a clear lesson taught at home ~ specifically when we borrowed an egg from one neighbor or lent a stick of butter to another.

Being a supportive friend was an important lesson taught in school ~ namely when my third grade teacher took every single girl out of the classroom, left the boys in their desk seats, and lectured us girls in the hallway to be nice to each other, to stop forming cliques, and to only say nice things about each other.

Being a supportive citizen was taught in Girl Scouts ~ especially through community service badges.

Building my own support system was never really a challenge.
It was a given and given to me.

It was modeled in many ways, through my supportive parents, friends, community members — the kind of support that tends to grow up around you when you live in a family, a neighborhood, a school, a community for 18 years.

But, then, somewhere in the process of growing up, moving away, and bouncing up, down and around on the ladder called career, I soon learned that “SUPPORT” does not come standard with a job description.

I found that jobs change, bosses turn over, friends get transferred, neighbors move on to cheaper, brighter, more-windows-with-a-better-view-apartments or a house in the burbs.

Sometimes competition rears its ugly head.  And, sometimes, sadly, people say one thing and do another.

In absence of living in a bubble of support, I had to learn to piece together my own semblance of it through a mentor here, a co-worker there, and a morning phone call with my friend Sara on the drive to work everyday.

With cup of coffee in one hand and steering wheel in the other, my morning commute was turned into a support call.  While driving in and out of cell service zones and dropping calls all along I-90, Sara and I would question everything, review our daily dilemmas and give each other advice.

It was a daily dose of incredible support.
But, even still, I never once thought of making a plan, a real strategy of how to put an entire SYSTEM of support in my life.

And, that’s why I love working with Debbie. 
Everything she shares through Women on Fire builds inspiration, strategies and support for women.

Here are some of Debbie’s key points that she shared tonight, when it comes to giving yourself support in order to avoid burnout:

1. Make a plan for what you need to get through a stressful time. Do you need friends? Family? A therapist?

2. Dedicate yourself to eating healthy and exercising.

3. Set boundaries for yourself. How much are you overextending?

4. Feed your creativity. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout.

5. Learn to manage stress. You have more control on stress than you may think.

As Debbie went over this list* tonight, it occurred to me that The Promise 365 has actually helped me build an entire SUPPORT SYSTEM over the course of these 242 days.

I thank you for being a part of it, for being here with me and hope you know I am here for you too.

Here’s to 123 more days to go!

xo~Jamie

(*This list is just a sampling of what Debbie shared tonight, but it’s a great checklist.  If you want to find out more, please check out Women on Fire’s website at www.womenonfire.org)

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