We've all heard about self-care — making sure we exercise, sleep, eat well, etc. — and some of us are incorporating these things into our lives. And then there's creating a restorative work environment, which is different. I'd venture that most of us look at self-care as something we do for ourselves outside work, or we squeeze it into our workday.
When I came back from vacation last week, I really didn't want to go back to working the way I had been: waaaaayyyy too many hours of work each day, back-to-back meetings, making unrealistic to-do lists (which leads to intense frustration in not achieving goals), sitting for hours at a time.....I could go on. And on. And on. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
At our team meeting last week, we talked about this, and thought it was a great idea to explore how each of us can create a restorative work environment. It means not only NOT doing things that were hurting us, but it also means incorporating restorative practices into our day and make them part of our work. It's just another effort on our part to walk the talk of integrating practices based on ACEs science into our lives.
Of course there's some overlap between self-care and restorative practices, which you'll see in the following lists. Five of our ACEs Connection team volunteered to post their lists. These lists are what each person decided to do for herself; these are not suggestions for anyone else. But we thought that sharing these lists might prompt others to create their own. Eventually, we may even figure out what elements on these lists might rise to being staff-wide practices.
You'll notice there are six lists. When I told Lisa Wright, a social worker with Greater Richmond (VA) SCAN and coordinator of the Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Community Network, about what we were doing, not only did she send her list, but she also sent the images and the attached article about restorative supervision (as opposed to reflective supervision). She gave me the idea to include the term "restorative work" in the headline of this blog post. Thanks, Lisa!
We'd LOVE to see your lists, no matter how short! Please add them to the comments section, and we'll update this from time to time. No pressure. No due date. No stress!
And if you've set up a restorative work environment, please write a post about it!!! We're all ears!
Jane Stevens, ACEs Connection
Check email only once an hour
Turn off email when I’m not working on it (especially the sound)
Tell co-workers that I’m doing this, and ask that they contact me via text or Slack if they really need an answer quickly.
Schedule meetings for 30 minutes or less, unless the agenda or person I’m meeting requires that it be 50 minutes.
Schedule meetings that were 60 minutes long to 50 minutes, to provide transition time.
Start meetings with one to five minutes of deep breathing, depending on who I’m meeting with.
In 50-minute meetings, take a one- or two-minute stretch break at about 25 minutes.
Work no more than 37.5 hours a week.
Schedule thinking/planning time of at least one hour a day.
Marianne Avari, ACEs Connection
Set timer to get up from computer every hour
When I sit back down to begin again, take 5 nice deep breaths
Only check email during working hours (particularly on phone app)
Spend 15 minutes outside in fresh air once in morning and once in afternoon
Aim to not schedule back to back meetings
Schedule a lunch time and stick to it!
Cissy White, ACEs Connection
Continue to be realistic about projects (made film festival quarterly rather than monthly for this reason)
Take my vacation time before the end of the year
Prioritize and accept I can’t get to everything and not everything has to be lightning fast or super in-depth.
Go for a walk at least once a day.
Prioritize health, emotional and physical, knowing that will mean better life and work quality.
Keep reading all posts by the Nap Ministry to remember that slowing down is social change.
Borrowed from Gail: BSY - Before Saying Yes to a new project, give myself a waiting period to think about it. Make that standard for anything I am asked about.
Gail Kennedy, ACEs Connection
Block off time in my calendar each day to schedule NO meetings and have dedicated time for projects.
BSY - Before Saying Yes to a new project, give myself a waiting period to think about it. Make that standard for anything I am asked about.
Meditate every morning before sitting down at computer and set my intention for the day. Write down my intention so I see throughout the day.
Dedicate days every month where we are OFFLINE (Our Ketchup and Mustard days (Ketchup = Catchup; Mustard = Must address)
Identifiy leads for each project; produce MOCHAs for each project with timelines
Jenna Quinn, ACEs Connection
Listen to music while I work and even before I start working in the morning
Work in a spot with good natural light and ideally a view out the window
Keep my inbox tidy, my number of unread messages low, and utilizing the labeling feature to prioritize what needs to be done and to sort past messages
Make time to stretch and to get up and move
Set up Slack’s automatic “do not disturb” feature for night time
Lisa Wright, Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Community Network
Take a 15-minute walk outside
Stretch for 10 minutes during the workday
Change my location within the office or at home at least once during the day (we have a back space with a huge window, fairy gardens and view of a gorgeous tree at our center)
Create an inspirational board and post in the copy room/workspace & change quotes, pictures, etc., periodically
Incorporate discussion about restoration in supervision and staff meetings
Create a list of the things that help me to restore